A U.S. Forest Service Snow Ranger says no one was hurt after an avalanche Saturday afternoon on Mount Washington.
Frank Carus says a party of eight skiers on the southeast snowfields of the summit cone felt a big collapse around 1 p.m. and turned around to see a slope fail and then avalanche.
Fortunately, the slope fractured well away from the skiers and there was nobody in the path of the avalanche. Carus says it happened at a popular area for skiers and there were dozens on the mountain Saturday enjoying one of the first warm days of spring.
Skiers and the caretaker of the Harvard Cabin started immediately to look for possible victims before being joined by Snow Rangers, who were alerted by the caretaker.
The avalanche – caused by a persistent weak layer of snow giving way – fell about 390 feet, affected about 10 acres, was as deep as 20 feet of snow – and carried a boulder the size of a small car down with it. Carus says the Mount Washington Observatory provided photos of the incident that were helpful
Carus cautions that mountain conditions change daily, a daily advisory is posted about the conditions and skiers need to have “safe avalanche travel technique” on their minds when they go up to ski.