Rock Slide from Lion’s Head

By Jason Cascone | New York City Fire Dept

Date of Observation: May 2, 2019  1:20 PM
Location of Observation: 44*15’40”N 71*17’30”W (Tuckerman Ravine Trail, 385 feet east of the rescue cache)

On May 2, 2019, at approximately 1322 hours, my hiking partner and I experienced a massive rock slide while hiking with our skis along the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The rock slide lasted for—we estimate—at least thirty seconds. It was long enough for us to discuss how we should react. The event began as a thunder-like sound and increased in intensity to what felt and sounded like an earthquake. Visibility was poor as we were in the clouds and fog, but when the slide finally began visible, it looked like a wave crashing that was brown in color. I observed what looked like dirt, rubble, small rocks, and one huge chunk of rock popping up in the air. We estimate that the slide terminated about 100 feet uphill from the Tuckerman Train, and it appeared to come from Lion’s Head. The event was truly terrifying and left my legs literally trembling—pretty humbling. There were four other skiers who experienced the event as well who had just finished skiing and were hiking out of the ravine.


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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