By Sarah Goodnow | AMC- Hermit Lake Caretaker
Date of Observation: November 30, 2019 11:00 AM
Location of Observation:
Conditions in Tuckerman today (Saturday) consisted of variable wind slab with small areas of old surface in the mix. The wind slab in question resulted from the ~15 cm of snow that fell on Wednesday and Thursday with wind loading that continued through Friday. I traveled in left gully and the area where the summer hiking tail intersects the sluice. On the right-hand side of the bowl, old surface means a melt freeze crust. On the left-hand side of the bowl, old surface means wind hammered snow that blew in on Monday 11/25 and is distinguishable by its glossy appearance (it’s also etched with boot and ski tracks). In left gully, patches of old surface were present just below the choke. New wind slab was smooth in appearance and free of sastrugi. Even in left gully.
When I say new wind slab was variable, I mean that while the surface layer was generally Pencil or 1F+ in density, its thickness varied from a couple centimeters to over 30 cm thick in strong lee areas. There was always less dense snow underneath, maybe 4F, sometimes Fist and again, variable in thickness as well. I did a number of hand shears focused on the interface between old snow and new snow. Some were not very resistant, but none were even remotely planar.