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Great Job providing free avalanche bulletins and snow observation pages all season. Thank you for your tremendous efforts is keeping the backcountry travellers of this great state safe.
-Bill E. Mitchell
A video I put together of a remotely triggered avalanche in Hatcher Pass can be found here:
can you get in touch with me about that video. i have some questions.
The crown profile for the Hatch Peak avalanche incident can be found here:
I don’t have a pit analysis from today, but the reason I’m writing is because, as of this evening, there was a full burial and and another person injured on the south side of Hatch Peak.
Our crew put in the skin track this morning, skied the far skiers right side of the south slope, and experienced no issues of whumping or collapsing.
The group involved with the incident, were possibly the 6th or 7th riders on the slope, dropping in late in the afternoon, between 17:00 and 18:00 hours. Reasons for the slide are currently all heresay.
The slide was a class 3 (major and could inflict heavy damages to buildings), and the starting zone began about 50 ft below a rollover near the summit. The trigger point, was likely the large rock obviously protruding from the crown, which seemed about a meter deep. The avalanche stepped down to the ground on persistent depth hoar, running from the top of the ridge, full length, nearly 1600′ to the valley floor. The buried skier is likely trapped in one of the deep gullies below the start zone. The gullies are filled to the top with debris and are about 40′ deep.
Yesterdays south facing, 35 degree extended column and isolated columns showed mixed results. The first isolated column failed on the back cut, about 60cm down in a 120cm deep area. We decided to do another test and did an extended column test. The results were ECTH23/Q2. Although a Q2 shear, the energy was Q3. We skied our planned route safely with no issues, except for a few minor wet snow slides. The same went for today, with better snow composition. Possibly today’s accident was a case of the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe persistent depth hoar? Just a heads up for anyone thinking of heading to hatcher pass.
We had a great day with no issues. But mountains will be mountains, and today someone is having a very bad day. Call your friends and make sure they are ok!
Thank you for the report of the snowpack conditions.
Commiserations for the missing man’s family and friends.
Thanks Ed. Have you seen any pictures of the slide path?
I have one up on the website: http://www.hatchyourtrax.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_0671.jpg
And I can email you the other one at the “observations” address.
From the low ski resort parking lot, yesterday we toured above the alders around the back side of government looking for any soft snow we could find. Everything was firm and wind scoured except for the glade run itself. Up high we only found very firm wind slabs, no pow.
Yesterday our group triggered a windslab on microdot, it is visible from the parking lot, it was thin snow with a crust, first skier, second turn got the gunshot crack and the whole slope released. No one was caught in it, no burial.
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