October 4, 2015

There’s a bunch of new snow at Hatcher, and in the upper elevations of the Chugach and Talkeetnas in general. Stay safe out there and be mindful of avalanche potential!

If you’re heading high into the hills for some weekend recreation; whether it’s Chugach State Park, Chugach National Forest, Hatcher Pass, or any other mountainous area in Southcentral; make sure you have your beacon, shovel, probe, and a good partner versed in avalanche hazard recognition and rescue.

The upper elevations of the Chugach and Talkeetnas had areas with surface hoar, facets, crusts and other potential avalanche prone layers/interfaces before this storm. Where the new snow fell on ground/tundra, the surface was generally wet and well lubricated for slides to the ground.  Wind slabs also existed, built from winds that came after the last rain/snow storm, especially in the Crow Pass area of the Chugach National Forest near Girdwood.

Even though your local avalanche centers aren’t operational this early in the season, there is avalanche danger and more of the burden for assessment and evaluation of the hazard is on you. Please share your observations (snow depths, avalanche sightings, weak layers, etc.) with your local avalanche center, if you’re getting out!

Keep in mind that even a small amount of snow that may not be enough to bury you, could take you for a nasty ride down an early season slope full of rocks and other trauma inducing features…

Gold Cord 10:4:1537″ of snow at the Gold Cord mine area of Hatcher Pass as of 10am on Oct. 4, 2015