General Observations

December 10, 2021 at 10:00 AM
Name: Blake Keogh| Synnott Mountain Guides
Location: Between right gully and Sluice

Fresh snow, a thin snowpack, and a rapidly changing weather pattern starting tomorrow (12/11/21) created a cautious but curious mindset for the day. How was the new snow bonding with the old? How quickly were the winds creating new slabs? How reactive were said slabs? Is the Sherb finally in (depends on how much you like your skis, snowboard, and ACLs)? These questions and more were running through my head on the drive to Pinkham Notch. In an effort to keep this relatively brief the answers to all of these questions is “it depends” (which is unsurprising given our complex terrain and weather). In the middle of the ravine there were some 1F slabs over F hard snow that resulted in numerous shooting cracks below my skis. This easy to access data, + some quick hand shears, were all I needed to quickly look for a safer place to dig a more thorough pit. I was able to ascend on skins to the area just below right gully (Elev: 4,717ft, Slope: 32deg, Aspect: S) and found a relevant, safe, and polite place to dig. The results were as follows: CT22, Q2 (down 40cm), ECTX and PST 90/100 on the new/old interface. My main takeaway was that there are areas of significant instability scattered throughout the terrain, but there were also areas where the snow wasn’t as reactive as I assumed. That said, all of the macro level warning signs pointed towards staying on low angle slopes and heading home early. A final note: it is interesting (and scary) to think about what would happen if tomorrow’s storm resulted in only heavy wet snow falling on top of the very light snow that is currently covering much of our terrain.