“This is the biggest slide I’ve seen go across the road since 2007.” – Wayne Biessel, area superintendent for Alaska State Parks
A large natural avalanche came down off Marmot Mountain and buried Hatcher Pass Road in Alaska under 12-15 feet of snow today.
A Wasilla, AK man was reported as missing in the Hatcher Pass on Sunday and has still not been found.
“A natural avalanche crossed the Hatcher Pass road today (on the Palmer side of the pass) at mile 15, depositing up to 12-15 feet of debris on the roadway. Details are approximate at this time. The road has been closed at the Goldmint Parking lot.” – Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center
The avalanche occurred today at some point and reportedly came off of Marmot Mountain.
The Hatcher Pass area is currently under an “Avalanche Warning” warning skiers of “High” avalanche danger and letting them know that travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.
The missing skier is 31-year-old Liam Walsh who informed his family on Sunday that “he was going to be skiing in the area of Hatcher Pass.”
“Walsh was last heard from around noon on (Sunday) and was supposed to return that evening. Walsh’s vehicle was located by AST parked in the Mile 13.5 parking lot of Hatcher Pass. Walsh was not located in the area.” – Alaska State Troopers
Alaska State Troopers have notified Walsh’s family and are currently searching for the missing skier but conditions aren’t allowing for much.
“Search efforts are currently being hampered by adverse weather and avalanche conditions.” – Alaska State Troopers
The snow is at least 12-15 deep on Hatcher Pass road and the road will be closed indefinitely for the time being.
“A weak, persistent layer is buried 1-5 feet deep. This layer has been overloaded through an unrelenting series of recent snow storms and is sensitive and very reactive. Warming temperatures today produced heavy snow, adding more load to this sensitive avalanche problem. If these temperatures continue to rise and we see rain on snow and/or increased winds the avalanche hazard could rise to extreme.” – Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center