Entries by Ryan Matz

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A thick layer of hard refrozen snow encapsulates our remaining snowpack. Thickness of this layer varies spatially with the degree to which recent rain saturated the upper snowpack, but seems to be at least a few inches to over a foot. Needless to say, this is a supportable crust in the alpine and requires good crampon and ice axe skills to travel in steep terrain. Snow today should not accumulate enough to warrant new stability issues with potential to harm a person. This could change tomorrow following more snowfall. As discussed above, other mountain hazards are quite relevant today. Though disappointing for snow lovers, the weather of the past week illustrated the mountain’s ability to produce extraordinary avalanche events, as evidenced by Friday’s massive wet snow avalanche. It’s an important reminder of the power of snow on a steep slope.

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, January 15, 2018

The strong temperature swing Saturday that followed our significant rainstorm resulted in hard refrozen surface snow and generally stable conditions throughout our snowpack. As mentioned above, this means full on slide for life conditions in our steep terrain. Snow depth and coverage has decreased significantly. North, Damnation, Yale, South, and Escape Hatch gullies in Huntington Ravine do not hold continuous top to bottom snow. The same is of course true for the open stream that is the Little Headwall. Snow in other areas has become quite narrow, and the tops of a number of gullies have melted to rock. In Tuckerman, Right Gully was hit particularly hard while other areas faired reasonably well and continue to hold top to bottom snow. It’s a drastic shift from the plentiful dry snow of early last week and from the conditions which produced Friday’s massive wet avalanche in the Lip of Tuckerman Ravine.