Early Season Report, Posted October 26, 2017

Issued: Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 5PM

Expires: Fri, Oct 27, 2017

Above 3,500ft None

2,500 to 3,500ft None

Below 2,500ft None

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

1. Low
2. Moderate
3. Considerable
4. High
5. Extreme

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

Recent Avalanche Activity

Recent Weather

Additional Info & Media

Snow has arrived early at Hatcher Pass.  Many folks have been and will be jumping at the opportunity to play in the snow.

If you are seeing social media posts highlighting winter recreation at Hatcher Pass, take them with a large grain of salt. The snowpack is thin, hero shots are one or two ski turns long, followed by thin coverage, rocks and exposed hazards. Of course you can get out there and have a great day, but a thicker, safer snowpack is several snow storms away.

Early season conditions often catch people by surprise, as triggering avalanches is possible. Be prepared, treat the snowpack with respect. Use avalanche and snowpack assessment techniques, use safe travel protocol, employ conservative decision-making, and dial in your rescue practice and techniques.

The early snow that arrived at Hatcher Pass has rotted out and become a weak base. Rain up to 4,000′ has left a crust layer near the base of the snowpack. Winds transported snow into stiff wind slabs sitting over the weaker basal snow which have recently been reactive. Shooting cracks and whumphing are bulls-eye clues that human triggered avalanches are possible. On top of it all, we just received 6″ of new snow on the evening of the 24th that came in cold and warmed up, creating an upside down cake that could increase the chances of triggering storm slabs/persistent slabs.

Overall, there is actually quite a bit going on in the snowpack. Your understanding of the avalanche problem likely contains a fair amount of uncertainty. This means, SLOW DOWN, and carefully assess. You’ve got the time and resources to assess the snowpack, use your friends to double check your human factor and decision making, and hopefully you already practiced your rescue skills this season.

A good article on early season snow: http://avalanche.state.co.us/early-season-snow/

HPAC avalanche advisories are scheduled to begin mid-November.

A huge thank you to all the people who have been getting out there are reporting their observations through the HPAC observation platform and through facebook social media. Your observations are an integral cog in the wheel of avalanche safety.

Coming up…

November 4

HAX and HPAC present:





















Posted in HPAC Forecasts.
Jed Workman

Forecaster: Jed Workman