Mixed Bag of Stability – GG

December 16, 2018
By Ryan Gibbs

In an isolated ENE terrain feature at 4800’ I dug a pit down to a firm layer. HS 185cm. I performed a CT which resulted in a CT12 at 115cm, Q2, on DF. There are several layers of facets between the observed crust layers. This failed BELOW a crust . . .

Natural Avalanche / Reloading

December 15, 2018
By Ryan Gibbs

Lip/ center bowl slid on Friday evening from the new 1.5” snow transported on high winds and reloaded. Debris in runout soft. Sluice has not run and has fresh suspect windslab.
Right gully is variable snow with both bulletproof and soft . . .

Good Stability on Boott Spur Ridge 2018-12-13

December 13, 2018
By Helon Hoffer – Mount Washington Avalanche Center

We climbed Gully #3 from Hermit Lake to the ridge. The lower third was post-holing in breakable crust with very sugary snow beneath while the upper climb was supportable melt-freeze crust (from December 3). Cross-loading over the past week has left . . .

Field observations in Huntington Ravine

December 13, 2018
By Frank Carus – MWAC

Found limited amounts of 2.4″ new snow loaded into Huntington Ravine. New snow was only found in isolated areas. Surface conditions to the right of the Fan and beneath Damnation, Yale and North varied from finger to pencil hardness wind board, . . .

2018-12-12 wind loading, 3pm

December 12, 2018
By Frank Carus – MWAC forecaster

.06 SWE fell early in the morning, likely around 2 inches very low density snow. Northwest wind for a couple of hours in the 60-70 mph range moving snow in plumes this afternoon. Small human-triggered avalanche in Right Gully ( plus another but with . . .

Hard and soft wind slabs on the east side

December 10, 2018
By Ryan Matz – MWAC Forecaster

Large areas of hard wind slab yielding hard but clean failures in stability tests, with smaller and fewer areas of soft wind slab which remains reactive, producing easy and clean failures.
Able to intentionally skier trigger the small pocket of soft . . .

snow pit Huntington

December 10, 2018
By Ben Allen

We climbed and ski Diagonal, The fan at the bottom on top of the bulge was of greatest concern, hand shear pulled easily we where able to mange and avoid the area on the way up and down. The snow in the gully varied in depth from 50cm to 150cm +. It . . .

West Side, variable upper snowpack

December 9, 2018
By Ryan Matz – MWAC Forecaster

Evidence of strong NW and W wind scouring and deposition, with cross loaded pockets. Alpine terrain generally scoured to or very near to 12/3 supportable crust. In pockets of recently formed wind slab, weak layer of concern seems to be within new . . .

Avalanches in Headwall area

December 8, 2018
By Frank Carus – MWAC forecaster

Toured up to the mouth of Right Gully. Carefully avoided the floor and the run-outs of Center Bowl and Chute which have reloaded with more wind transported snow. Snow was soft and very reactive in the sheltered locations low in the Ravine, but . . .

Snow Profile Right Side Tuckerman

December 8, 2018
By Helon Hoffer – Mount Washington Avalanche Center

Full Profile Snow Pit. 150cm snow down to tops of krumholtz.


Snowpack observations are one part of the complex puzzle which is your decision to enter avalanche terrain. Some observations may include stability tests. It’s important to understand that the results of a stability tests are seldom conclusive anywhere, but particularly in snow climates and terrain like ours where the primary driver of instabilities is wind drifted snow. Many stability tests exist and each works best with specific avalanche problem types. Stability test results should never be used alone as an indication that a slope or conditions are safe particularly when more obvious red flags are present. Please use this page as part of your information gathering process, but don’t make decisions based on a single piece of information. A good article that summarizes some of the issues associated with snow and avalanche observations can be found here.

The Mount Washington Avalanche Center cannot verify the quality or accuracy of any observations that come from the general public.


See an avalanche or evidence of previous avalanche activity?  Near-miss? Snowpack observations?

Your observations are valuable to an accurate forecast! We welcome observations from everyone. You don’t need to be an avalanche professional to submit helpful observations, just be as detailed and accurate as you can.