|Sun, December 31st, 2023
|Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
|Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
|Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.
|Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
|Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
|Likelihood of Avalanches
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.
|Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.
|Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
|Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
|Avalanche Size and Distribution
|Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.
|Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
|Very large avalanches in many areas.
Very few avalanches have been reported or observed since Thursday’s forecast.
A few small human triggered dry loose sluffs were observed on Friday 12/29 on Microdot, Marmot, Granite Peak (north of Martin Mine) and lower Gold Chord.
On 12/28 two small isolated slabs were reported being triggered on the North aspect of Peak 4068′ at 3600 ft and the East aspect of Eldorado at 4100 ft.
No natural avalanches have been observed or reported since 12/22.
Conditions are generally stable and it is unlikely a person will be able to trigger an avalanche today. It’s important to remember that although the odds are low of triggering anything, low danger is not the same as No danger.
We have not seen significant precipitation since the 12/17-12/20 storm with an additional 5″ of new snow on 12/24.
In general, the structure of the snowpack is surprisingly stable for this early in the season which is highly unusual for Hatcher Pass. Weak sugary facets and buried crusts still exist in isolated locations in the snowpack, mostly in shallow windward terrain below 3000 ft. These layers are not anticipated to become reactive or a problem until the next major loading event. Models are in disagreement about an increase in wind Sunday. If the wind picks up, expect small wind slab formation at upper elevation leeward aspects near and just below ridgeline.
A few lingering problems to look out for today will be small dry loose sluffs in steep terrain, shallow wind slabs near ridgetop, and small persistent slabs in isolated locations. In addition, cornices are large enough to demand our attention and should be given a wide berth and as always, stick with good travel protocol in case you get caught by surprise.
If you plan on stepping out into steeper terrain today, don’t let your guard down. Be sure to only expose one person at a time to steep slopes and spot your partners as they navigate steeper terrain. We always recommend traveling with all the standard rescue gear including beacon, shovel, and probe.