Update from Teton Pass, November 22
November 23, 2016
Yesterday (November 22), we walked up from Teton Pass to Glory Summit (8431’-10,086’) AND walked down – we didn’t even bring our skis for the walk. On the way up the South Ridge there was 10-20cm/4-8” of new snow sitting on mud and rock. Above 9500’ or so the new snow sat on old snow and rain crust on the bootpack, but overall there wasn’t much cover for the sagebrush and rocks.
When we got to the top of the SE Ridge, we poked into the bowl and found a stout rain crust making up the bottom half of the 30cm/12″ deep snowpack on an east aspect at 9950’. The snow that laid on top of that was a mixture of new snow, very early facets and a very light melt-freeze crust. The top snow wasn’t particularly weak at that location, but it is sitting on a perfect bed surface. It wouldn’t take much cold weather to change the lower density snow into facets and make a very poor set-up for the future. For now it seems fine and doesn’t have enough slab quality, or deep enough, to be a big problem.
More northerly facing terrain down by the cliff bands of the SE Ridge are likely a different story. We finished our walk by going over the summit and having a look at the upper start zone of Chicken Scratch Gully into Little Tuckerman’s. This snow was a lot deeper 86cm/34” at the pit site and had very well developed facets overlying the upper rain crust (two significant ones in the north aspect at 10,000’). The new slow hadn’t stiffened into much of a slab, so the ECT’s didn’t propagate here either.
Overall, the snow on the north felt as though it would be a far greater future problem than the snow on the east, but only time will tell on that one. Both aspects had ice hard rain crusts from October, which often doesn’t bode well for early season stability. The solo track into Little Tucks looked nice for the six turns we could see…
Here is video footage from the day.