Pit and Observations at the bottom of Right Gully, Tuckerman Ravine

By Ian Peterson

Date of Observation: December 8, 2018  7:50 AM
Location of Observation: Bottom of Right Gully, under the rock band

Crowns observed across the right side of the Headwall, with fresh debris at the bottom of the bowl. Clear skies, no precipitation, air temp was in the negatives with wind chill. No precipitation. Strong NW wind actively transporting snow. Loading was observed at the bottom of the right gully choke in particular, we did not look up the gully to see what was happening up high. Pit dug at 4600 feet. CTM11 @15 cm, Q2 revealed an unexpected weak layer on the interface between the wind slab formed overnight and the day-old wind slab. CTM13 @30 cm showed instability between the day-old wind slab and the wind slab formed earlier in the week. We were unable to get results between the wind slab and the rain crust. Due to the instability of the new wind slab, we pulled the plug and skied the lower angle fan under Right Gully.


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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