Pits below Lobster Claw & Lionhead Gully

February 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM
Name: Aaron Hubbell
Location: Slopes below Lobster Claw & Lionhead gully

Joel Fisher-Katz-Keohane and I headed into Tuckerman with the goal of digging some pits having already written off any steep lines due to the uncertainty in the forecast. We dug two ECT pits on protected slopes below Lobster Claw and Lionhead Gully at 4500-4600ft, S to SSE aspect, air temp 35F, overcast skies, light variable winds at around 5kts.

Pit 1 was 130cm deep on a 25-28deg slope. 4F hardness for the first 40cm, 1F 50-60cm, a very firm ice crust 75cm deep, and then 1F to P hardness below a 5cm sugar layer under the ice crust. ECTN14 in the 4F layer. However, when we started to fill the pit the entire isolated block slabbed off as soon as we stuck a shovel blade behind it. See photo.

Curious to the effect of a steeper slope angle, we climbed 100ft higher under a rock shelf and and dug pit 2 on a 30-35deg slope 90cm deep. Similar hardness profile to pit 1. Again, ECTN14 in the top 20cm of 4F snow. Same effect of the entire isolated block slabbing with little persuasion from a shove blade in the back.

We skied a couple laps of LHW (beware of a few open spots that are easy to avoid) and then down the Sherburne for a lovely day in the bowl.