While HPAC has ended operations for the season, a near record snowpack still exists and will allow for potential avalanches through May. It’s still avalanche season in the mountains.
The Marmot snow stake is sitting at 6.5 feet! Please frequent the observations page and social media for recent conditions and avalanches. If you post in social media remember to tag your posts with #hpavy for quick reference and filtering.
Wet avalanches will be the main concern, both wet loose and wet slab. Fortunately, the timing of these avalanches is fairly predictable. For wet loose avalanches, pay close attention to the snow surface. As it becomes softer throughout the day, due to direct solar gain and warm temperatures, the probability of natural loose avalanches rises. In the case of wet slabs, multiple nights without a good freeze will kick off a natural wet slab cycle. Both avalanche types can be dangerous. The third week of April had light to no freezes at night and was followed by a large wet slab avalanche cycle.
Wet slab on Skyscraper some time between April 18-21
Good corn conditions have been happening at Hatcher Pass recently. Cold nights, with good freezes are needed. Once the frozen, supportable surface is slightly softened with direct solar gain and warm spring temps, the snow becomes favorable for riding. However, if you time your window too late and too warm, you may end up in prime wet avalanche conditions. Timing is everything, for the corn window of opportunity.
Recent diurnal freeze/thaw cycle producing good corn skiing conditions
The freeze/thaw paradigm has been in full effect at HP recently, but spring weather in Alaska can throw us just about anything. All types of avalanches are possible. Stay in touch with the weather patterns in order to be able to predict what types of avalanches you are dealing with on any given day. For more information on what to look for this spring, check out the CNFAIC end of season post HERE.
Thank you to our amazing community for supporting HPAC this season. We value and appreciate every observation, donation, fundraiser support, and grantors. We are already looking forward to another excellent season with you all! Have a great spring/summer and stay safe out there!