Tuckerman Ravine

January 20, 2022 at 11:00 AM
Name: Mouna Goyette
Location: Chicken Rock gully

Observed strong West winds above 4000′ transporting significant snow over the top of the bowl, across the bowl, and upslope in the gullies. Skin tracks, ski tracks, and boot packs were filling in quickly by wind transported snow. Strong winds above 4300′ scoured more prominent features, exposing ice, and in some areas depositing more snow onto pockets of deep wind slab. Some wind slabs had a hollow feel but felt unreactive to boot penetration and skiing on S/SE facing slopes. Wind slab depth and hardness ranged significantly, with some pockets of wind deposited snow over 2-3 feet deep. Generally the wind slabs were 4F or 1F hardness, though some were pencil hardness.

Hiking/climbing conditions were variable, ranging from ice, sastrugi, windboard, and 2-3 feet of variable density wind slab. Crampons helped.

Ski conditions were generally variable. In isolated pockets, 2-3 inches of soft snow over denser snow or firm windboard made for decent ski turns. However, the majority of terrain was wind-scoured sastrugi.

NE facing slopes and gullies appeared to contain large wind drifts at various points and elevations.

Hand shear test at 4600′ on a S/SE facing slope showed that the density of wind slab changes roughly every 3-6 inches (up to a depth of about 18 inches where we checked), though the layers were generally unreactive. Photo included showing various wind deposited layers in the hand shear test after breaking the sample manually.