Hermit Lake/Sherburne – 20191215

By Mark Renson | AIARE

Date of Observation: December 15, 2019  1:00 PM
Location of Observation: Hillman’s Highway exit, Sherburne Trail

Instructed at an AIARE course. Roughly 55cm HS next to outlet of Hillman’s Highway near cache. Rain crust on top with some 4F and F hardness midpack with another rain crust below. Did CT and ECT tests with some hard planar results but no real propagation. Lower Hillmans has nothing skiable; see pic for a bigger picture. Frequent graupel squalls observed. Sherburne was porcelain all the way to bottom but with surprisingly good coverage. With 15cm new, the skiing will be quite nice. Drove home from Gorham over Pinkham Notch and observed vigorous snow squalls with plenty of wind.


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.