1/28 Tuckerman

By Sarah Goodnow | AMC- Hermit Lake Caretaker

Date of Observation: January 28, 2020  1:00 PM
Location of Observation:

A natural avalanche occurred on the lower snowfield, specifically in the slough pile below Duchess, sometime between 10 am and 1 pm today. Picture attached.

I didn’t observe any other clear signs of avalanche activity around Tucks today. In general, slopes looked smooth and pillowy with obvious slough piles below rock bands. The light was too flat when I traveled in the bowl this afternoon (see below) to be sure there wasn’t new debris there, and skiing out on snow where I expected to find crust cast a further shadow of doubt that there was no new debris.

I traveled on the slope between the run-outs of Lobster Claw and Right Gully around 2pm and found surfaces of primarily wind eroded 1F windslab on top of the freezing rain crust. The snow seemed pretty unreactive on this slope and only exhibited cracking under my skis in areas where it was very thin on top of the crust. Traveling in this same terrain yesterday afternoon, I saw frequent sloughing from the rock bands above resulting in big piles in which 1-2 mm graupel was the primary grain. Today, those graupel piles could still be found in select places, buried by newer wind slab that blew in later in the day and last night.


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.