A Hatcher Pass avalanche blocked the road but it reopened just before 4 p.m. Friday
A large, remotely triggered Hatcher Pass avalanche covered the road around 12 p.m. on Friday. Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center posted photos of the avalanche. They said that the road would likely be closed at the Gold Mint parking lot. The avalanche did not involve any people.
Increased Avalanche Danger had been predicted
On March 25, the HPAC warned of an increased avalanche danger due to nearly a foot of new snow. Persistent slabs and storm slabs were likely problems. Later that day three observations of small avalanches were reported.
“No one was caught or carried it was people skinning on the standard Marmot uptrack and triggered a smaller avalanche and then it stepped down to the deeper layers in the snowpack” said HPAC Board Chair Andy Dennis.
Road Cleared of Avalanche Debris
The Department of Transportation and State Parks were alerted to clear the road. It was closed at the turn near the Gold Mint parking lot. Throughout the winter numerous skiers have been caught in small avalanches. Nobody has been buried and there have been no fatalities in Hatcher Pass. Palmer Fire and Rescue did assist other agencies in a rescue in Hatcher Pass on March 21.
“As we come into spring I think we have a tricky snowpack, so any new load is potentially going to awaken the persistent slab problem. These cold temperatures have not allowed the snowpack to heal at all and really just trying to make sure people are heads up coming into the longer, warmer days. It’s going to be A little bit delayed in terms of kind of the snowpack stabilizing,” said Dennis. “We’ve got a couple crust layers that are going to, what we’re thinking is most likely going to prohibit fast healing.”
The avalanche occurred just after 12 p.m. and the road was cleared at around 6 p.m.