Avalanche danger high in Hatcher Pass, Cordova

Courtesy Hatcher Alpine Xperience
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Avalanche danger is high in Hatcher Pass as well as Cordova and significant in other parts of the state according to the Alaska Avalanche Information Center network.

The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center warns of dangerous avalanche conditions at mid-to-upper elevations, and moderate avalanche danger at lower elevations, in effect until Tuesday.

Further adding to the avalanche risk is limited visibility.

"Poor visibility will make safe travel in the back country difficult to impossible today," the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center website warns.

Anyone venturing out despite the warnings is urged to stay below 2,500 feet in elevation, to avoid slopes with greater than 25 degree slopes, and avoid the runnout of steeper slopes from above.

HPAC warns that large avalanches will be able to run long distances.

Observations submitted to HPAC on Sunday indicated widespread shooting cracks observed, and multiple natural avalanches observed on slopes greater than 35 degrees.

In Cordova, fluctuating freezing lines have been observed between sea level and 1,500 feet in elevation, which AAIC says translate into two feet of heavy snow at and above the tree line.

Slopes above 1,000 feet in elevation are under high to moderate avalanche danger warnings. Below 1,000 feet is under heightened watch for avalanche conditions.

Anyone venturing into the back country is urged to carefully evaluate the snowpack, to use caution in route-finding, exercise conservative decision-making, and to make sure that someone knows the specific locations you'll be traveling in.