Good Stability on Boott Spur Ridge 2018-12-13

By Helon Hoffer | Mount Washington Avalanche Center

Date of Observation: December 13, 2018  11:00 AM
Location of Observation: Boott Spur Ridge

We climbed Gully #3 from Hermit Lake to the ridge. The lower third was post-holing in breakable crust with very sugary snow beneath while the upper climb was supportable melt-freeze crust (from December 3). Cross-loading over the past week has left an isolated pocket of wind slab in the lee of the trees that separate #3 from Cathedral. We climbed down into the Fingers in Gulf of Slides, finding exposed melt-freeze crust with no new snow. Hillman’s Highway for the ski down was mostly hard wind slab. We stopped near the Y and found from 15-40 cm of snow on top of the melt-freeze crust. Pencil hard on the surface with a mix of 4F and 1F below. Stability tests were CT21 Q3 @15cm, CT 24 Q3 @15cm, and ECTX.

The photo is looking from the top of the Fingers to the main gullies in Gulf of Slides.


ABOUT THESE OBSERVATIONS

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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