East Side Snowpack

By Helon Hoffer | Mount Washington Avalanche Center

Date of Observation: December 30, 2018  1:00 PM
Location of Observation: Cutler River Drainage

We climbed Yale Gully in Huntington and talked to climbers who were in Pinnacle and Central. Isolated pockets of new snow exist on top of the December 22/23 melt-freeze crust. This new snow arrived on a refreezing snowpack and has bonded well. High wind speeds scoured most gullies in Huntington. We found few pockets of wind slab tucked under terrain features; we found no location with wall-to-wall new snow. We paused on Lion Head to look into Tuckerman on our descent. More new snow exists in Tuckerman than Huntington, though again it looks as if there are few, if any, places of wall-to-wall new snow. The second picture of Tuckerman has highly adjusted settings to highlight snow textures with darker areas being exposed melt-freeze crust and whiter areas being wind slab that formed Saturday.


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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