Avalanche Observation in Left Gully

By Helon Hoffer | Mount Washington Avalanche Center

Date of Observation: January 3, 2019  1:00 PM
Location of Observation: Left Gully, Tuckerman Ravine

We observed debris in the far looker’s left runout of Left Gully.
Loose snow avalanche, naturally occurring (probably this morning), very small relative to path (though just a guess as visibility was very poor and we could only see 200 feet above), not quite enough snow to bury or kill a person, but enough snow that it would not have been relatively harmless (we found that where debris collected around bushes, it was about 1 meter deep).

We found about 20cm of snow widespread in most locations with very few places scoured to rain crusts. A wind skim about 2-4cm thick was forming on the snow surface, but the 20cm of new snow was all fist (F) hard.


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.