Observation of snowpack on South Facing slope around 3500′

By Mason Irish

Date of Observation: January 12, 2019  1:30 PM
Location of Observation: White Mountains off the Kanc South Facing

Pit Location was around 3500′. Results were ECT N. The layer of concern was a thin layer of small facets (4finger-Fist hardness) resting on the Christmas freezing rain crust. The snow pack, about 24″ deep, above this facet layer was right side up ( 1finger at the bottom Fist at the surface) The columns we tested did not propagate. When the column was reduced to a regular CT sized block, it took a kick with a boot on the shovel to get an irregular shear on the facet/crust. No cracking or collapsing was observed through the day. We skied the slope and no avalanches were produced


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.


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