Alaska’s Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center Will Produce Final Forecast of the Season Tomorrow

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Hatcher Pass in Alaska closed two weeks ago due to high avalanche activity. | Photo: HPAC

The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center, AK will post its final forecast of the season tomorrow, Saturday, April 17, 2021. HPAC has been producing two forecasts a week for the duration of winter.

Their forecast from yesterday, April 15 2021, lists avalanche danger in Hatcher Pass as moderate at all elevations. The avalanche problems that exist in Hatcher Pass include persistent slabs, wind slabs, and wet-loose avalanches.

“It will be possible to human trigger avalanches, naturals are unlikely. Spring has sprung, finally, and temperatures have significantly increased since Monday and will continue to steadily increase throughout the week. Observations have been focused at low and mid elevation due to the road closure. Variable conditions exist including buried and exposed crusts, wind board, corn, and very moist snow up to 3200′ or higher.”

– HPAC forecaster Allie Barker

Hatcher Pass, Alaska, avalanche
Forecast from 4/15/21, the penultimate forecast of the season. Credit: HPAC

Several large avalanches broke so large and buried sections of the road running through Hatcher Pass in Alaska two-weeks ago that the Department of Transportation was forced to immediately shut down the pass, located 12 miles north of Palmer. The road remains closed.

“Wet avalanches are predictable and avoidable. Stay off of and away from these aspects during the heat of the day. Large roller balls are an indicator that it is time to change to a cooler aspect. Avoid skiing or riding above terrain traps which can increase the consequence of any avalanche.”

– Allie Barker

Hatcher Pass is a mountain pass through the southwest part of the Talkeetena Mountains, Alaska that was named after Robert Hatcher, a prospector and miner. The elevation of the pass is about 3,886-feet and offers superb skiing that has a rich heritage. Miners and local residents used rope-tows in the early 1930s near the Hatcher Pass that served as the only access to the amazing skiing that was offered in that area. Skiing on the Hatcher Pass offers optimal conditions from September to late April.

hatcher pass, Alaska
Hatcher Pass, AK

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