Tuckerman Ravine

By Mark Renson | AIARE

Date of Observation: December 22, 2019  1:30 PM
Location of Observation: Leve Rock, Tuckerman Ravine

Instructed at an AIARE 1 course. Took following temps at Hermit Lake at roughly 11:45am-> TAir: 0c, TSurf: -6c, T10: -8c, T20: -9.5c.

We did some digging near Leve Rock in Tuckerman Ravine. Huge variability – I found HS 190cm with HS 85cm roughly 4 meters away. Oddly, I could not find the 20191215 rain crust. Snowpack was boring with only 3 layers all hardness P and P+. Had a moderate failure 6cm down with no propagation. No graupel found. Pit closer to Leve Rock had a moderate ECT-P result on the rain crust and other different results and we speculate this might be due to micro wind currents per the large boulder nearby. Three skiers descended Right Gully and found wind affected snow in upper part and then nice skiing in Chicken Rock Gully. In summary: the Spatial Variability that the Presidential Alpine is notorious for was present in grand style. Descent on Sherburne was greatly improved from last Sunday’s Porcelain Shenanigans with the middle having some wind scouring but protected areas having nice skier packed with a few rocks below Crossover #7 that would be nice to avoid! See my Facebook spray for more pics.


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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