Pits near Right Gulley, Tuckerman Ravine

By Tony Jewell | Northeast Mountaineering

Date of Observation: March 8, 2020  1:00 PM
Location of Observation: Climbers left of Right Gulley 4,650′

Today (3/8) on our AIARE Level 1 course we dug pits on the climbers left side of the Right Gulley in Tuckerman Ravine at the 4,650 foot level. We found 30cm pencil hard snow on top of the crust layer. We had one CT 26 Q2/RP at this interface and had some other CT RP failures within the wind packed layer. We also did an ECT with no failure at all. The slope angle was 40 degrees and the aspect was SSE. These tests appeared to correlate well with the Low hazard rating and there were also a lot of human skier testing going on as well!


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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