Variable conditions on the west side
By Ryan DeLena
Date of Observation: March 2, 2019 11:40 AM
Location of Observation: Ammonoosuc Ravine
Our trip to Ammo was rather interesting today, with a fair amount of surprises. As we skinned up, snow conditions in the bushes areas below varried from step to step. We left the main drainage and began skinning up the south basin of Ammo, which still has a lot of running water. I had to hand onto a tree to get above a waterfall section. As we began skinning toward Central Gully, we encountered upside down snow. I dug a 2 hand pits, both revealed the slabs will easily fracture cleanly off the bed surface. I don’t want to use technical terms for an informal observation, but I would call it a sudden planar fracture. These slabs appeared be present in the bottom half of Central, until a point of obvious scouring. This was very alarming to see on a day with low danger. We decided to venture around the curve of South Gully to get a read on the conditions and make a final decision on weather to ski or not. Once we were just over 50 feet in, the slabs were getting shallower with every step until they were non existent. The rest of South Gully was all pencil hard windslabs, with some spots scoured to the February 8th ice crust near the very top. The majority of our descent was more of a fall hazard than it was an avalanche hazard. Open water and bushes still not only present a terrain trap hazard, but a challenging and treacherous exit to the ravine.