Wind slabs and surface conditions on the East side

By Frank Carus

Date of Observation: March 7, 2019  1:00 PM
Location of Observation: Huntington, low beneath North; lower Hillman’s and Lowder Snowfields

Wind slabs distributed widely through the terrain and mixed in with enough hard snow to complicate booting and skinning. Clean shears observed in the new 5″ thick wind slab formed over the past day or two led a party to bail in the approach to Diagonal…good call. Poor visibility and some continued wind loading kept a party in GoS making observations on lower angled areas where reactive pockets led them to avoid the upper start zone. They found some facets near an ice crust on the eve of the gully where it hadn’t been hit by recent avalanches.

D1-2 sized avalanches seem possible still in protected areas, beneath cliffs and slabs and in lee slopes and gullies. Soft snow on the Sherburne and GoS trails! Tomorrow may be a better day to ease higher into the terrain.


ABOUT THESE OBSERVATIONS

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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