Tuckerman Ravine – Rapid Warming & Roller Balls

By Jeff Fongemie | Mount Washington Avalanche Center

Date of Observation: March 14, 2019  2:30 PM
Location of Observation: Tuckerman Ravine

Warm day with occasional high thin clouds and a light wind. 34F on the summit when this picture was taken. Felt much warmer in the ravine. Top 8 to 10 cm of snowpack moist/wet, roller ball activity increased through the afternoon on south, south east slopes. Under ski the snow was “sticky”.

Note: Contrast in photo bumped up a little to show the many, small roller balls as darker areas.


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.