Observations Left Gully | Chute Variation North | Headwall | Lip

April 17, 2022 at 2:00 PM
Name: Eliot Hack| Acadia Mountain Guides
Location: Left Gully | Chute Variation North| Headwall | Lip

Left Gully: @ approximately 11am there was active loading into Left Gully. Left gully had variable coverage of between 3-10 inch thick non-cohesive well bonded fresh snow. A wind skin started to develop and slabs had started to harden and thicken. Drifts were up to waist deep. Hand-shears were performed and confirmed observations that the snow was well bonded and not slabbed at first. Overall we assessed the fresh snow to be stable but skied conservatively.

Chute Variation North: @ approximately 11:50am in ascending the line we observed a variable but fairly widespread 6-10 inch thick soft slab. As we ascended the terrain hand-shears were performed and indicated similar results to those found in Left Gully: a well-bonded fresh soft slab. As we ascended the terrain and as we exited the main sheltered portion of the line the slab thickened too well over 12 inches. At this point we continued to ascend but overall trended right to avoid vegetation. As we came to approximately 4850 feet before the rollover, the fresh snow had formed a slab thigh high or around 18 to 24 inches. As we were booting up, sections in-between my feet would frequently step down three to four inches and slide. Cracking and sliding of a top layer was also observed. While the slab that prompted concern wasn’t cohesive through its entirety it was a concern especially considering variable it was. At this point we had ruled out skiing the Chute Variation North or Headwall and traversed to the Lip which we had deemed our Plan B.

Lip: @ approximately 12:40pm: we started down the upper low-angled portion of the line. We encountered a fairy well bonded 6-8 inch slab which we observed arsouss the majority of the terrain we encountered today. We continued conservatively and cautiously moving one at a time above the choke that funnels into the main portion of the lip.The first member of our party started to ski short radius turns down the left side of the choke. He proceeded to make a larger radius turn that triggered a 4-6 inch deep windslab that propagated the whole width of the funnel at the level of the icy crust below and that peaked above him in the center of the funnel. The avalanche ran the length of the fall-line and pooled besides lunch rocks. The avalanche triggered we classified as barely greater than D1 R2.5. We proceeded to side slip down the rest of the line.