Great Gulf conditions

By Ryan DeLena | N/A

Date of Observation: May 5, 2019  12:30 PM
Location of Observation: Great Gulf

The snow is holding on pretty well in the Great Gulf, better than expected. I dropped down Spacewalk, which was still very filled in with perfect corn and minimal sluff. The Airplane Gully runout still goes to floor of the ravine. I booted up Rog’s Run, which had multiple small glide cracks I couldn’t see from below, as well as a undermined section with a water hole. I was able to avoid this section by climbing a short variation gully. I decided to ski Pipeline instead. Pipeline is still very filled in, with no mandatory air in the middle and no ice bulge down low. There is a water hole fall line in the exit, but this can be easily and safely avoided with a traverse to skiers right. The Jewell Trail still has about a mile of rotten monorail below tree line. I tried skiing it, which I wouldn’t recommend. It took much longer than expected to descend due to downed trees, and the water is still high at the river crossing to the Cog parking. I’d recommend descending the Cog.


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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