Gulf of Slides, widespread firm wind slab

By Ryan Matz | MWAC Forecaster

Date of Observation: January 7, 2019  11:00 AM
Location of Observation: Gulf of Slides, gully #1

Varying hardness (1F-4F) new wind slab, relatively smooth and consistent except in upper portions of terrain where scouring occurred. With incoming snow and wind, it’s worth noting this widespread smooth and firm nature as a potential avalanche bed surface. Smooth wind slab can be found in Tuckerman and Huntington ravine but is less widespread.
This firm surface slab is over a layer of softer snow, and does produce easy small column test results. However, and extended column test score of ECTP13+3 taps, propagating across the column in three taps, indicates a potentially stubborn nature of these slabs that was similarly supported by minimal cracking under skis. It’s worth considering these currently new slabs that will likely be beneath newer yet slabs in a few days in assessing potential size of avalanches later this week.


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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