After I arrived in Pinkham Crotch, I found out about fireworks on the mountain for that day. Unfortunately, a solo climber met his demise in Pinnacle Gully having been avalanched off of the ice. Then, a skier triggered an avalanche in the top of Lobster Claw and after riding 10 feet, was able to save himself by digging into the bed surface. Nobody was directly below and that was a good thing as this slide grew bigger and badder as it stepped down and entrained darn near to the Tux Trail.
Next day, Jonathan and i took our Level 1 students out and we headed up Old Jackson Road and up the Auto Road high into the alpine. Donw the N aspect Chandler Snowfields we descended and dug a pit, finding weaknesses in the wind slabs but low propagation. We climbed outta' the snowfields/gully and then down some snowfields on Nelson Crag. I triggered a small slab on a rollover by a road cut on the Auto Road for some ha-has. Down the Auto Road we went which was chopped up due to the Auto Road snow cats bringing tourists on sightseeing tours. Then up the Raymond Path we went. This turned out to be a long slog, but very nice through the woods. My pack caught on branches 4 times which made me pull my hair out. Jonathan led up to a safe spot near South Gully, kicking off benign slabs. We did some digging and more instructing here, findingh easy results in the
windslabs. We exited through the krumholz, finding forgiving snow which made it enjoyable threading our way through the brush and then down the Huntington Fire Road, easily blasting through the cat tracks which were left presumably from the prior day body recovery. The Sherburne had outstanding skiing with the human groomin'. It was a huge day - 9:40 in the field with >6400 feet of vertical earned. Our students showed a lotta' heart keeping up with the pace and they revealed that it was by far their biggest days ever. We then reviewed homeworks as a group that evening and downing a few well earned ales.
This morning, I was worried that our students might be fatigued. Instead, they were excited about visiting the Gulf of Slides. Up we went finding good coverage on the trail and doing some more digging at the base of the Sandbox. Good skking was had down the GOS Trail to the Graham Trail where we had a fun traverse to inner city Hermit Lake. We had a good discussion with Ranger Jeff and then our students revealed they were getting burnt out. Jonathan and I figured they went above and beyond, so I brought them down while Jonathan got a run down Little Headwall. We conducted 3 rescue scenarios which are students excelled at before wrapping up at 3PM. Downed a few beers in the parking lot and one of the students gave me a 6 pack of New Albion Ale as a gratuity.
Mark P. Renson