Gulf of Slides snowpack
By Helon Hoffer | Mount Washington Avalanche Center
Date of Observation: February 2, 2019 1:00 PM
Location of Observation: Sandbox and Gully#1
We toured to about 4500′ into the Sandbox in Gulf of Slides. The surface was a mixed bag of melt/freeze crust, supportable wind slab while skinning, and soft snow. After returning to the first aid cache, we ascended to a similar elevation in Gully#1. Conditions were different with almost no exposed melt/freeze crust. The gully proper was pencil hard wind slab that would not support a boot. Thickness of the pencil hard layer ranged from 10cm to 35cm. A layer of first hard snow was under this slab. Depths to the melt/freeze crust were around 60-80cm. Stability tests performed all failed upon isolation in the first hard snow, but the stiffness of the overlying slab supported a skier’s weight, highlighting the bridging strength of the existing wind slab. We observed no cracking while moving through terrain and also observed no signs of recent avalanche activity anywhere in the Gulf of Slides. The main photo is of Gully#1 while the accompanying photos are from the Sandbox, though it was quite windy at the time.