I'm really not trying to start another pissing match here, I just wanted to share a personal experience from Katahdin. I think traveling in avalanche terrain is somewhat like walking a tightrope. You only get one chance.
Last week, I spent the week at Chimney Pond with the objective of climbing Cilley-Barber. In the three days leading up to our arrival the mountain saw 26 inches of new snow which came in on light(under 15mph at the pond) north winds. It suffices to say we were a bit surprised by the volume of snow on the headwall when we arrived.
On the first day we basically chilled at the lean-to all day watching snow blow off the ridge and sluff down the gullys. Some of the gullys showed obvious signs of avalanche activity. The days were absolutely BLUEBIRD(32 and SUNNY), some of the best weather I've seen in the mountains. For a couple days we climbed(pamola cliffs) and skied areas we felt relatively comfortable with. We'd heard the weather was going to change so figured it was now or never.
Not wanting to head up the route willy nilly we decided to dig a pit close to the base of the route. We found a weak layer(hoar) at a depth of thirty centimeters. During our compression test we were able to initiate a failure of the column by easy tapping. With this info we decided our last day would be better spent hiking.
When we arrived back in camp we learned that someone had sent Waterfall Gully that day. I'm not saying they were wrong, it just wasn't a decision I was prepared to make. I'd be lying if I wrote that my ego wasn't a little bruised on the way back out of the park. It was wonderful and humbling learning experience in a beautiful place.