Avalanche debris pile bottom of left gully on Mt Mansfield

By John Stafford

Date of Observation: February 4, 2019  2:30 PM
Location of Observation: Left Gully Mt Mansfield, Stowe VT

Lots of recent snow, a small amount of icing last night followed by warm temps. I believe this to be natural but it’s possible it was human triggered before I got there. I did not see any evidence of this but the debris was huge and it was tough to tell. This is on Mt Mansfield not Mt Washington just thought you might like to see it.

The debris field goes up as far as you can see in the photo. Choking up the entire lower part of the gully. Above this section is a very large cliff and the gully continues above this. When the upper section slides it is deposited here. This is not unusual but the size of the snow boulders and the length of the debris pile was impressive.


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.

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