Hatcher Pass

Forecast as of 03/09/2019 at 07:00 am and expires on 03/10/2019

Above 3,500ft Moderate

2,500 to 3,500ft Low

Below 2,500ftLow

Degrees of Avalanche Danger

Problem Details

BOTTOM LINE 

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today for Wind Slabs and Dry Loose at upper elevation, on leeward aspects, on west to northeast aspects, on slopes above 35°.  New wind slabs 4-8” thick will be possible to trigger at upper elevation on leeward aspects. Dry loose sluffs will be small but possible to trigger in steep terrain.

Low avalanche hazard at mid and low elevation. Human triggered avalanches will be unlikely. Low hazard does not mean NO hazard.

Great snow conditions can be found on the shadier aspects and challenging crust skiing/riding exist on the sunny aspects. New snow has buried and concealed firm sun crusts on southerly aspects. Visibility may be the challenging today.


PREVIOUS ADVISORIES AND UPDATES HERE



 Problem 1: Wind Slab

Winds gusting SE 18-43 mph for the past 16 hours at 4500’ will contribute to a wind slab problem today. Small avalanches in specific areas will be possible to human trigger at upper elevations. Natural avalanches are unlikely. 3-4” of new snow from 3/7 combined with SE winds have formed 4-8” thick wind slabs on leeward aspects, West to Northeast, at upper elevation. New wind slabs are sitting on old faceted surfaces.

Pole tests will easily reveal stiffer snow sitting over weaker snow and will be a good indicator for the presence of wind slabs and slab thickness.

We have limited data at this time due to poor visibility.

 


Problem 2: Dry Loose

Dry loose avalanches will be small and possible to human trigger on slopes 40° and steeper on Northerly aspects at upper elevations. Dry loose sluffs are a manageable problem.  Even a small avalanche hazard can be compounded if you are caught and carried into terrain traps, such as gullys, ravines, and depressions.

Learn more about Dry Sluffs and Wind Slabs in the Avalanche Problem toolbox HERE

https://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanche-problem-toolbox


 Other Concerns:

Wet-Loose: If the sun pops out today, expect small wet-loose activity on southerly aspects, SE to SW at all elevations. South aspect structure HERE shows the stout 3-4" thick melt freeze crust holding the entire snowpack together. 

Cornices: Cornices are getting large and are unpredictable in nature. Give yourself a wide berth when travelling in and around cornices. Cornice fall can be the culprit in triggering other avalanche problems. 

Avalanche Activity

NEW! Numerous natural wind slab avalanches were reported early morning 3/9. These most likely occurred during the height of the wind late night 3/8.  Wind slabs are estimated to be mostly small, D1-D1.5, on leeward aspects. Information is still being gathering on these avalanches. 

Weather

This week’s weather at Independence Mine 3550′:

Temps averaged 23ºF, with a low of 13ºF and a high of 29ºF.

IM recorded 1” of new snow and .13" water (SWE) this week. Ground truth reports 3-4” of new snow at upper elevations.

Overnight at 3550′:

Temps averaged 26°F.

No new snow.

This week’s weather at Marmot Weather Station 4500′:

Temps averaged 18ºF, with a low of 12ºF and a high of 25ºF.

Winds averaged SE 5 mph, max 16 mph . Gusts averaged SE 9 mph, max gust ESE/SE 28 mph.

Overnight at 4500′:

Temps averaged 21ºF overnight, with a Low of  19ºF.

Winds averaged ESE 13 mph overnight. Max gust ESE 43 mph.

 


NWS Rec Forecast HERE


NWS point forecast HERE


State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information HERE

Additional Information

TREND -

A weak low pressure system will continue to bring clouds and a trace of precipitation to HP this weekend with a chance of more snow early next week.  If winds continue to blow, as predicted today, avalanche danger will remain the same or rise at upper elevation leeward aspects.  Warm weather early next week will likely contribute to a re-activation of the wet-loose avalanche cycle. 

Alerts

Read entire HPAC advisory HERE.

Announcements

BOTTOM LINE

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today for Wind Slabs and Dry Loose at upper elevation, on leeward aspects, on west to northeast aspects, on slopes above 35°.  New wind slabs 4-8” thick will be possible to trigger at upper elevation on leeward aspects. Dry loose sluffs will be small but possible to trigger in steep terrain.

Low avalanche hazard at mid and low elevation. Human triggered avalanches will be unlikely. Low hazard does not mean NO hazard.

Great snow conditions can be found on the shadier aspects and challenging crust skiing/riding exist on the sunny aspects. New snow has buried and concealed firm sun crusts on southerly aspects. Visibility may be the challenging today.

 

 


Announcements

Check out Drew Hardesty’s new UAC podcast with interview of my longtime mentor, Ian McCammon, most known on his work about avalanche risk factors. It’s worth it!

https://utahavalanchecenter.org/blog/44647