15 Skier Triggered Avalanches on Hatcher Pass, Alaska Yesterday | Photos of 5 of the Avalanches

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Nov 11, 2015 – Sidney Creek Pass near Microdot, SW, 4300′, Remotely triggered. Photo: R. Baldwin
Nov 11, 2015 – Sidney Creek Pass near Microdot, SW, 4300′, Remotely triggered. Photo: R. Baldwin

Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center in Alaska is reporting that at least 15 human triggered avalanches were observed yesterday in the Hatcher Pass area.  One skier is reported to have been caught in an avalanche and had to deploy his airbag.  No injuries were reported. The avalanche danger was rated as “HIGH” yesterday when these avalanches occurred.

Avalanche conditions were so sensitive yesterday that many of these avalanches were remotely triggered, some from distances up to 1/4 of a mile.

Today, avalanche conditions are considered so dangerous that the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center is NOT recommending any travel in avalanche terrain.  The avalanche hazard in Hatcher Pass area is rated at “HIGH” today.

Nov 11, 2015 – Swimmin’ Tim’s, S, ~4700′, Remotely triggered. photo: jed workman
Nov 11, 2015 – Swimmin’ Tim’s, S, ~4700′, Remotely triggered. photo: jed workman

Avalanche Warning for November 11, 2015 at 10:45pm

This avalanche warning expires in 24 hours

BOTTOM LINE: Travel in avalanche terrain is NOT recommended. The avalanche hazard remains high tonight and into tomorrow. Increasing winds tonight and into tomorrow will increase the hazard. Human triggered slab avalanches are likely 1-3 feet deep on all aspects, deepest on wind loaded features at upper elevations.

Recent activity: At least 15 human triggered avalanches were observed today on all aspects. Many of these were remotely triggered. One person reported remotely triggering an avalanche from the flat approach, 1/4 mile away. Another person reported remotely triggering 4 avalanches after deciding to turn around due to avalanche hazard.

One person was reported to take a ride in an avalanche  deploying his airbag. No injuries reported.

Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center

Map showing the location of Hatcher Pass, Alaska.
Map showing the location of Hatcher Pass, Alaska.

This is a very dangerous time of year in the backcountry as the snow is very shallow and rocks and stumps are lurking just below the surface.  If you end up in an avalanche right now, it’s very likely you will hit rocks that could badly injure or kill you.

Please be careful out there, snow humans, and please follow avalanche terrain etiquette:  one at a time, don’t ski above anyone, keep group sizes small, don’t ski alone.

Nov 11, 2015 – Eldorado, East, 3600′, Remotely triggered X 4. photo: jed workman
Nov 11, 2015 – Eldorado, East, 3600′, Remotely triggered X 4. photo: jed workman

There were 3 other skiers were caught in avalanches in the USA yesterday:

  1. Avalanche at Alta, Utah yesterday that took a skier for a 200-foot ride over sharp rocks and partially buried himVery scary because that was exactly how Jamie Pierre died at next door Snowbird, UT in an early season snowpack on November 13th, 2011.
  1. Avalache near Crested Butte, CO partially buried a backcountry skier yesterday.
  1. Avalanche near Lake Tahoe, CA took a backcountry skier for a 150-foot ride and partially buried him yesterday.

Lets all learn as much as we can from these three avalanches with skiers in them yesterday and use that information to make better decisions in the backcountry this winter.

Nov 11, 2015 – Skyscraper, NE, 3900′, Remotely triggered. photo: jed workman
Nov 11, 2015 – Skyscraper, NE, 3900′, Remotely triggered. photo: jed workman

There was also an avalanche at Alta, Utah yesterday that took a skier for a 200-foot ride over sharp rocks and partially buried him It appears he was skiing solo.  Very scary because that was exactly how Jamie Pierre died at next door Snowbird, UT in an early season snowpack on November 13th, 2011.

Another backcountry skier was partially buried in an avalanche near Crested Butte, CO yesterday.

Lets all learn as much as we can from these three avalanches with skiers in them yesterday and use that information to make better decisions in the backcountry this winter.

Nov 11, 2015 – Peak 4068, Background, Whimpy’s Bowl, 4 feet deep crown, remotely triggered. Foreground North Face, ~3600′, remotely triggered.
Nov 11, 2015 – Peak 4068, Background, Whimpy’s Bowl, 4 feet deep crown, remotely triggered. Foreground North Face, ~3600′, remotely triggered.
Nov 11, 2015 – Sidney Creek Pass near Microdot, SW, 4300′, Remotely triggered. Photo: R. Baldwin
Nov 11, 2015 – Sidney Creek Pass near Microdot, SW, 4300′, Remotely triggered. Photo: R. Baldwin

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3 thoughts on “15 Skier Triggered Avalanches on Hatcher Pass, Alaska Yesterday | Photos of 5 of the Avalanches

  1. Obviously a very tender snowpack. Again, significant variations in snow depth are obvious, and always a sign to be extra careful.

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