Great Gulf Skiing

2007-11-13 17:15:51.000 – Brian Clark,  Observer

Unwinding with some November turns

Now, I know that we have already written a couple comments related to skiing and this one is going to make it a third. So, it may seem like all we do is ski up here, but I don’t want everyone to get that idea. As day observer, I work a 12 hour shift from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There are 2 hours of break built into this 12 hour shift so that I end up working at least 10 hours a day. I say at least because I often work more than 10 hours in a day. Not only that, but any observer is ‘on call’ at any point during the day. There have been some days when something comes up at 8 or 9 o’clock at night. Basically, there is always work going on up here and we certainly do a lot of work, it just so happens that the most comment worthy events this week have been ones that involve my skiing breaks. Keep in mind too that when you live in the same place that you work for 8 days straight, you have to have some time to get out and unwind.

Anyways, I wrote about a particular gully in the Great Gulf that Aubrie and myself looked at in the comment on Friday. I ended up going back down there on Saturday with Mike Pelchat, the manager of the Mount Washington State Park. He was a huge help in determining whether it was a safe run to ski. He brought some rope with him, we tied securely to a nearby rock and he went down into the gully to check out the snow. It turns out that it was a very consistent layer of relatively soft snow that didn’t really have anything underneath it to slide on. In a nutshell, it was determined that it was safe to ski.

It should be noted that checking the stability of the snow was a must, despite the fact that it is only November. Sometimes it is easy to forget that natural and human triggered avalanches do occur on Mt. Washington. Always keep that in mind when looking to do some backcountry skiing up here.

I ended up getting one cautious run in before having to head back up to the summit. Mike and I went back down again on Sunday for a couple more runs since now we knew that it was safe to ski, after checking the snow again of course. The two runs I took on Sunday were better, more fluid runs since I knew what I was getting myself into.

Video footage, along with pictures, some of which I have already linked to, was taken on these days. I edited the video and uploaded them to our Youtube account.

Video from 11-10-07

Video from 11-11-07

Some more pictures from both days:

View from the top on 11-10

Notice the difference in the amount of snow in the following picture from the one from 11-10. This was due to an increase in wind and change in wind direction:
View from the top on 11-11

View from the bottom on 11-10

Once again notice the difference in the amount of snow between the last picture and this one:
View from the bottom on 11-11

Me on my first run on 11-11

Me on my second run on 11-11


Brian Clark,  Observer

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