Multiple Avalanches Reported This Week On Mt. Washington

Multiple Avalanches Reported This Week On Mt. Washington


Multiple Avalanches Reported This Week On Mt. Washington



Multiple avalanches were reported this week on Mt. Washington. Mt. Washington is located in New Hampshire and is the highest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 ft.

With the Tuckerman season ramping up, it is good to keep in mind that Mt. Washington is a legit mountain that is not to be taken lightly. Avalanches are common; six people have been killed by avalanches in Tuckerman ravine since 1849.

For more on the slides that occurred on Sunday March 29th 2015 we turn it over to the Mountain Washington Avalanche Center.

“The date does not escape my attention. March 29, 2014 was the day of an unusual and large avalanche on the summit cone of Mt. Washington, narrowly missing several groups of hikers and skiers. On March 29, 2015, several avalanches occurred on Mt. Washington and Mt. Monroe. Four of these were human triggered. Only one resulted in injuries. We are very thankful for the outcomes of these events, and would I’d like to share my thoughts surrounding the events in hopes that we can all learn something. Please give these comments some consideration, and rather than point fingers or assign blame, I encourage you to reflect on your own actions and tendencies, and think about how you can increase your margin of safety in the mountains, particularly in regards to avalanche hazard.

The first avalanche was early in the morning. A small slab naturally released from the Lower Snowfields. The exact timing is uncertain, but I first noticed it after posting the advisory at Hermit Lake at 8:30a.m. This was a small slide, D1R1 (a measure of the force and size, see here for more about this scale), that ran only a short distance downslope. The crown of this avalanche was 50cm deep by 20m wide. The layer that failed was a weak layer of low density snow that had fallen on Saturday with very light winds. Above this weak layer, a slab had formed as winds increased to around 40mph at times. These stronger winds blew snow into a thicker, cohesive layer that we refer to as a slab. Eventually, the size of the slab overcame the strengths that were working to keep it in place on the steep slope, and the avalanche you see in the picture below is the result.

The second avalanche was triggered at about 10:35a.m. in the area of Tuckerman Ravine known as the Lip. This was a fairly large slide, D2R3, approximately 2′ or more at the deepest part of the crown. I was caught in the debris and carried several hundred feet downslope, coming to rest on top of the debris and uninjured. The debris pile was approximately 3-4′ deep on average and spread out 400′ or more down the floor. No measurements were taken, this information is an estimate. More thoughts on this event are provided below, but first let’s talk about the rest of the avalanches.” Keep Reading @ Mountain Washington Avalanche Center

Report By,

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2713




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