This information is a Conditions Update. Danger ratings are only issued with avalanches advisories. The next avalanche advisory is scheduled for Saturday April 13, 2019.
Previous avalanche advisories HERE
MIDWEEK SNOW AND AVALANCHE CONDITIONS SUMMARY FOR APRIL 11, 2019
Natural and human-triggered avalanches will be unlikely today. While generally safe avalanche conditions exist, watch for unstable snow on isolated or extreme terrain features. However, if the sun pops out and temperatures rise, isolated small wet loose and wet slab avalanches may be possible on steep E to W aspects at mid and upper elevations and all aspects at lower elevations.
Cornices are still large and unpredictable, give them a wide berth.
In surveys of Upper Willow Creek, Independence Mine Bowl, Archangel, Reed Lakes drainage this week, only one natural, large wet loose avalanche (possible wet slab) was observed. This avalanche occurred on a west aspect on Across Motherlode run at 4000’ and is believed to have occurred Tuesday. ~1.5” of new snow fell above 2000’ on Tuesday afternoon, with rain falling below 2000’. Several very small wet loose point releases were observed on southerly aspects Tuesday afternoon.
All aspects at lower elevations and southerly aspects at mid and upper elevations are rapidly melting out with bare ground exposed across Hatcher Pass. Great corn harvesting is possible, with the right timing, on E to SW aspects. 6” deep near surface facets exist on due north aspects at upper elevations. While most due north aspects at upper elevations have been heavily skied near the road, especially in Independence Mine Bowl, if you are willing to travel further out, excellent skiing and riding awaits on north aspects.
This is our last midweek snow and avalanche conditions report this season. If you appreciated this report, please consider donating HERE so that we can continue this report next season.
Please be sure to check hpavalanche.org for advisories on Saturdays and follow the HPAC Facebook and Instagram for updates. Help us keep tabs on the Hatcher Pass area! If you see any avalanche activity send us an observation HERE. Thank you to everyone who has already submitted observations this season - you can see those HERE!
Above: excellent ski conditions can be found in untracked due North aspects where shaded aspects harbor 6" deep dry near surface facets. Many of these locations require travel away from Independence Mine bowl.
Southerly aspects are rapidly melting out but excellent crust skiing can be found early in the day! Pictured above: fine crust skiing along Archangel trail.
Above: shaded aspects at upper elevations such as the west side of the ridgeline from Skyscraper to Granite mountain still hold plenty of snow.
Southerly aspects at upper elevations are rapidly melting out to bare tundra, even at upper elevations. Southerly aspects that are not melted out hold firm melt freeze crusts at mid and upper elevations in the morning that soften in the afternoon. Timing is critical for corn harvest. Too early and conditions are bullet-proof; too late and you will trench deeply.
Concern 1: Cornices
Cornices are large and can be difficult and dangerous to assess. Cutting cornices of this size as a stability tool is not recommended nor effective. We recommend avoiding traveling beneath them, especially during the warmest part of the day. Cornice fall can trigger large slab avalanches that run further than anticipated. Choose safe zones out of the anticipated runout of potentially large avalanches. Cornices are unpredictable, it’s best to just avoid them.
Concern 2: Wet Loose
While wet loose avalanche activity will generally be unlikely today, if the sun pops out and temperatures rise enough to melt surface crusts, isolated small to large wet loose avalanches may be possible on steep E to W aspects at mid and upper elevations and all aspects at lower elevations. Fortunately, the snowpack gives us clues when the it becomes wet enough to be a problem. Rollerballs, wet soggy snow, and stepping into the snow and sinking in more than shin deep are red flags for when to move to shadier aspects and cooler terrain. Freezing nights and cooler daytime temps will keep wet avalanches to a minimum today.
Concern 3: Wet slabs
Wet slabs will generally be unlikely at low elevation to the lack of a slab component. Overnight freezing temps about 3000’ will also limit wet slab activity and mid and upper elevations, although small avalanches in isolated terrain are possible.
The only avalanche observed this week was a natural, large wet loose avalanche (possible wet slab). This avalanche occurred on a west aspect on Across Motherlode run at 4000’ and is believed to have occurred Tuesday
A large, natural wet loose (possible wet slab) avalanche observed on Across Motherload run at 4000' on a west aspect.
Weather at 3450' since Saturday 4/6:
Temperatures averaged 32°F, with a low of 24°F and a high of 42°F.
There has been ~1.5" new snow recorded at Independence Mine.
Weather at 4500' since Saturday 4/6:
Temperatures averaged 27°F, with a low of 22°F and a high of 39°F.
Winds averaged ESE-SSE 6 mph, max 17 mph. Gusts averaged SSE 10 mph, max gust 26 mph.
Stay tuned to the NOAA point forecast for an updated weather forecast each day. The best way to see if it's snowing in Hatcher Pass is to look at the webcam snow stake HERE and the Independence Mine SNOTEL site HERE
State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information can be found here.
Get the full summary HERE.
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