December 30, 2010 | White Mountains Backcountry Trip

Andy and myself got together yesterday and decided it was about time for some backcountry riding. I had skied at Cannon earlier in the week and knew that the snowpack was pretty deep and there would be good cover in the Notch. We got in the car at 6:00am and headed up to check the scene. We scoped a few different lines, most of which were wind scoured and icy or rocky, although one aspect facing Cannon looked pretty good and it was just a quick hike from the Tram lot. After some pretty solid bushwacking and the discovery of a snowshoe trail we made it up to the bottom of our intended line. Literally as we reached the bottom there was a ton of snow moving, mostly from being in the sun for too long. The snowshoe track ended at the base of the line (obviously right?) and we attempted to continue on upwards. After we had reached the halfway mark we decided it was certainly necessary to do a little bit of snow stability testing. Considering it was such a short trip and the line didn’t look large enough for danger from the road we opted not to bring gear. Improvising a little bit and pushing aside the technical snow testing methods we went for a little bit of an isolated column snow test, which resulted in serious instabilities towards the bottom of the snowpack. It seems as though there was a weak facet just above the rock floor that was triggering the release of our column after only 2 solid taps from the elbow (none from the wrist, starting with elbow & with a glove instead of a shovel). From here we decided there was way too much snow coming down around us and it was time to go down. We still managed to grab a few turns without anything releasing and headed back out through the wildery (yes, wildery) NH White Mountain woods.
Turned out to be a great day and we’re really excited to get back up there….endless opportunities in all directions. GET OUT THERE!!!

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