Huntington Ravine obs

By Frank

Date of Observation: January 30, 2019  12:00 PM
Location of Observation: slope left of lookers left runout of South Gully, swale right of twin cliff band on north side on Ravine

Summit wind was around 50 mph but some clearing in the clouds allowed for good definition in the snow. Pillows of snow had already developed in the fine but upper parts of the gullies remained obscured. Shooting cracks on the way up and very easy cracking in 16-20″ soft drifts along with active wind loading kept us on lower angled slopes (less than 30 degrees or so). We made it only as high as about 400′ in distance from the mouth of South Gully before the threat of natural avalanches turned us around. A shooting crack about 30′ long appeared on the rollover we skied for protection and slope testing on the descent and confirmed that touchy slabs were developing. The other side of the Ravine was subject to similar wind with slabs developing especially below steep slabs of rock and ice. Old surface was beginning to appear in patches of the lower part of the Fan though we linked up more boot-top snow to exit. No avalanches were observed though naturals seemed likely in steeper terrain with continued wind loading.


ABOUT THESE OBSERVATIONS

Snowpack observations are one part of the complex puzzle which is your decision to enter avalanche terrain. Some observations may include stability tests. It’s important to understand that the results of a stability tests are seldom conclusive anywhere, but particularly in snow climates and terrain like ours where the primary driver of instabilities is wind drifted snow. Many stability tests exist and each works best with specific avalanche problem types. Stability test results should never be used alone as an indication that a slope or conditions are safe particularly when more obvious red flags are present. Please use this page as part of your information gathering process, but don’t make decisions based on a single piece of information. A good article that summarizes some of the issues associated with snow and avalanche observations can be found here.

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