Avalanche: Summit

Location: John Mountain

Route & General Observations

We toured up to John Mountain to investigate a fatal avalanche accident (details in video below and this preliminary accident report) that occurred the afternoon of February 13. We collected avalanche information and dug a pit adjacent to the north flank of the avalanche. We found the weak layer to be the facets that formed during the January cold spell. We will be publishing a full report shortly so we can all learn from this tragic event. We are grieving with our community during this difficult time.

Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect West Northwest
Elevation 2600ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth 24inWidth 150ft
Vertical Run 700ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 3Number Partially Buried?0
Number Fully Buried? 1Number Injured? 2
Number Fatalities? 1  
Avalanche Details

See avalanche report posted on our accidents page for details and events.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Active wind loading

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Clear and very warm day, temperatures above freezing. Active wind loading all day on the ridges, but calm to light wind where we were traveling in the lower elevations.

Snow surface

The surface at the parking lot had some wet snow (melt forms) on the surface (1,200'), but by about 1,400' the surface was dry.


We dug a pit at 2,200' on a NW aspect right next to the flank of the avalanche and found the January facet layer about a foot below the surface. It was very weak and well-developed. We got the following test results indicating poor stability, all failing on the January facet layer: CT13 SC, ECTP12, and PST 30/100 END. Our results also included a CT7 RP that failed closer to the surface at 13cm down on a hardness change.

Photos & Video
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