Refrozen Snow Pack & Early Season Hazards

By Jeff Fongemie | MWAC

Date of Observation: December 16, 2019  12:00 PM
Location of Observation: Tuckerman Ravine

Clear blue skies & moderate/strong WNW wind. -2F (at 6262ft.) Majority of the snow pack consists of heavily textured, thoroughly refrozen snow after the rain on Saturday. Little continued snow transport observed at the ridge lines above the bowl. Traces of the 4.4 inches of snow recorded on the Mount Washington Summit yesterday can be seen here and there in the form of small thin slabs in areas protected from the W wind. Piles of graupel can also be found in depressions at the bottom of slopes.


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.