Gulf of Slides Test Pit 3600′

January 17, 2021 at 1:00 PM
Name: Stuart Johnson| East Coast Avalanche Education Center
Location: Gulf Of Slides Trail 3600′ before avalanche runnouts

We ascended Gulf of Slides trail and did hand pits and layer ID at several locations along the trail. At about 2500′ we noted HS 30cm. The faceted grains that existed prior to the storm Fri-Sun had become wet and were rounding. We could easily make snow balls with every layer of snow. There was a breakable crust with a skiff of 1″ light fluff on top.

When we got to 3600′, the breakable crust disappeared and the total height of snow increased to about 55cm of snow. We found a wind sheltered area to dig a pit on a 28° SSE facing slope. We found that the entire pack was Fist to Fist+. The new 35cm of snow, was F to F+ comprised of needles, small fragments and tiny graupel. This sat on 25cm of Fist hard, 2mm facets. We found the interface of the new snow and old snow reactive: SS easy 30cm↓, CT 9 Q1 30cm↓ and ECTP 11 SC 30cm↓. Tyler found similar results in a pit he dug near hermit lake. While both of these pits were in wind sheltered terrain and are minimally representative of the conditions in the alpine where wind speeds were howling at 60-90mph, it is noteworthy at how sensitive and reactive the new/old snow interface was in sheltered terrain.

Weather obs at 3600′: The Wind was light in the sheltered area we dug, however, the wind was otherwise Strong- Extreme west winds, obscured sky, S2 precip of dry, light snow.