GOS Wind buff cracked under a ski edge

By Robert Means

Date of Observation: February 19, 2020  11:00 AM
Location of Observation: The base of #1, 40 yards from the upper cache

General comment: Swirling winds, snowing and wind blown snow. I had thought to dig a pit partway up #1. When my edge cracked a wind-buffed section just 40 yards from the upper cache, I turned tail immediately. On the way in, just above 3800′, on a steep sidehill of the ski trail, a layer cracked under some slightly wind-packed snow several times as I skinned up.


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.


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