Reactive Snow Pocket in Central Gully, Huntington Ravine

December 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM
Name: Chris Saulnier
Location: Central Gully in Huntington Ravine

Just above the ice bulge in central gully we heard a small whumpf and observed a small shooting crack on the surface.

Until that point while moving up the fan we felt fairly good about snow stability. Quickly “digging” a few hand pits along the way we observed a thin, not very firm or consolidated, windslab with no obvious weak layers below. Adding to our confidence was the general shallowness of the snowpack and fact that we spent a lot of time post-holing as the wind-loaded snow was not firm enough for fast climbing.

While at the time we observed just a small crack – when rappelling at the end of the day the crack had melted out (it was warm and sunny all day) and we could see that it had actually extended ~6 feet in an arch across the slope beside us and appeared to extend to ground. A good reminder of those small pockets of instability that we are always promised in the report.