No new avalanches observed this week.
This includes no new glide avalanches. Some glide cracks have expanded. It appears that glide activity has subsided this week, however you should still be extremely cautious and avoid any areas with glide cracks.
People are still getting out and poking around the backcountry looking for isolated pockets of good riding, which do exist. There has been a decent amount of snow machine traffic along the Archangel motorized access with no resulting avalanches observed.
Hatcher pass continues to suffer from widespread wind damage to the snow surface from a wind event two weeks ago. The best “recycled” powder is in the mid elevations bands in areas that have more wind protection. Recent cold temperatures and the faceting process are slowly improving riding conditions in the top 6-8 inches of the snow surface.
|Signal Word||Size (D scale)||Simple Descriptor|
|Small||1||Unlikely to bury a person|
|Large||2||Can bury a person|
|Very Large||3||Can destroy a house|
|Historic||4 & 5||Can destroy part or all of a village|
We are currently down-rating this hazard from last weekend due to a reduction in observed glide activity over the past two weeks. Glide avalanches are still possible, but we think the likelihood is lower today.
Glide avalanches are unlikely, but could occur on all aspects, at mid to upper elevations. As an additional heads up, consider the isolated possibility of a mid elevation glide crack releasing and running out into the low elevation band. Glide avalanches release the entire snowpack depth as a unit, are often large volume, and can run farther than you may anticipate. Fortunately, glide cracks are easy to identify and therefore fairly easy to avoid. See pictures above and in this seasons observations for examples glide cracks, also known as “brown frowns”, and glide avalanches.
Given the uncertainty about the timing of glide avalanche release, continue to play it safe and avoid this high consequence hazard. Avoid travel under, on, or near any areas with glide cracks or old glide activity. There are a number of glide cracks hovering over common travel routes at HP. Make sure to look up and avoid these hanging hazards. This includes the SW face of marmot, above the motorized trail, and the SE face of Skyscraper, over the winter road to HP proper.
Some glide cracks have been expanding over the last couple of weeks, and will be impossible to predict whether or not they release. Some glide cracks have been filled in by snow earlier in the season and wind blown snow from two weeks ago, and therefore may be difficult to identify their presence.
Colder temperatures are forecasted through the weekend with calm to light winds. Starting Sunday we may get some clouds as a new low pressure system affects our area. This may bring limited amounts of snow, and is not expected to be a large snow producer. The avalanche hazard will stay the same with no rapid or large changes in the weather over the weekend.
NWS Rec Forecast here.
NWS point forecast here.
State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information here.