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Wendellator
09-23-2014, 11:26 AM
Hello i was reading a trip report from Alavigne,that they did Kings Ravigne/Great Gully in May and there was some snow. I am trying to figure out what the approximate angle of that climb is.I am considering attempting this in Dec,and wanted to get as much beta on the route as possible,especially Avalanche risk.
If i should pack picketts and screws it is actually myself and my climbing partner, would not want to try this solo.
Thank you
Wendell:)

Mohamed Ellozy
09-23-2014, 11:36 AM
Many years ago there was an accident report in Appalachia (don't remember whether I read it or wrote it :)) of three hikers swept by an avalanche on the Great Gully Trail. That is the only one I can remember on that trail.

sierra
09-23-2014, 11:39 AM
Years ago, I soloed that route. I did in semi spring conditions as I wanted the snow to be consolidated similar to Tuckerman's skiing conditions. The slope is prone to Avalanche conditions for sure, hence the time of year I did it. Pickets and screws could help if you could place them in good snow, that might not be easy as that slope gets blow over and whatever mother nature dumps. December could be a good month if you know what the snow depth for the year has been so far, frankly the less snow received the better, imo. Also keep in mind, without setting solid belays, technical gear would be of little help, my style was move fast, one 70cm tool and one 45cm tool ( which I only used briefly).

DougPaul
09-23-2014, 02:26 PM
I did the route a long time ago. It was probably in spring conditions--IIRC the snow was consolidated. We carried, but did not use a rope or any protection. It is steep enough that self-arrest would be difficult. There was evidence of past avalanches all around, including the Gully itself.

The main line of the gully goes over a cliff near the bottom. (The climbing route goes around it on the right.) If you fall from above it, you will most likely go over it...

Around 1980, two climbers were avalanched off the route and over the cliff. They survived, but their injuries were severe enough that they were unable to self-evacuate. They were lucky enough to attract the attention of a hiker who went out for help. (This may the the accident that Mohamed described.)

Recently (past year or two), an experienced climber fell (unroped) from high in the gully and died. He was last in the party and no one saw him fall so the details are unknown.

The climb itself is a snow climb--I don't recall any opportunities for ice protection. (The cliff ices up, but you don't go over it.) You might be able to get a rock placement in the sidewall, but I again don't recall any details. I'd expect only snow protection although it might not hurt to carry a few light-weight rock pieces.

I don't think I would go in there in December--the snow is likely to be unconsolidated and avalanche prone. I'd wait until early Spring. The area is completely unpatrolled so you are on your own with respect to evaluating conditions or rescue. The Gully is north-facing, similar the headwall of the Great Gulf. The Great Gulf headwall is a (somewhat) popular ski route, so you might monitor skiing websites to guesstimate conditions on Great Gully. It would also be worth knowing something about avalanche risk prediction.

Approaching the base of the Gully in December may also be difficult--too much soft snow and the trail is unlikely to be broken out.

Doug

jfb
09-23-2014, 02:48 PM
You might be able to get more beta at the www.neclimbs.com website. I'd say the conditions in December are variable, but if you know what you're doing, it should be no problem. I've climbed Pinnacle Gully in December and Great Gully shouldn't be any harder than that.

DougPaul
09-23-2014, 03:04 PM
You might be able to get more beta at the www.neclimbs.com website. I'd say the conditions in December are variable, but if you know what you're doing, it should be no problem. I've climbed Pinnacle Gully in December and Great Gully shouldn't be any harder than that.
I've also climbed Pinnacle--IMO they are pretty different.

Pinnacle is an ice route which forms from meltwater from the Alpine Garden. It only requires a bit of snow above to melt during the day and cold nights to freeze the water as it drains down the gully.

Great Gully is a snow route that forms primarily from snow that falls directly on the route.

Pinnacle is also significantly steeper and requires ice and/or rock protection.

Doug

Wendellator
09-23-2014, 03:07 PM
Thanks Everyone for the info

jfb
09-23-2014, 03:37 PM
More beta: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/great-gully/106024017

sierra
09-24-2014, 02:47 PM
Pinnacle Gully is no comparison with the Great Gully. An ice climb and a snow respectfully. A climb like this, I treat like many routes I do in CO. The optimal time to climb safely is in the spring, when consolidation has taken place. To do it in December can open a whole new can of worms. Can it be done, yes, but knowing how to read the conditions as well as rate the Avalanche conditions would be paramount to a safe climb.

jfb
09-25-2014, 08:15 AM
I've also climbed Pinnacle--IMO they are pretty different.



Although the specific technical difficulties (in December) are different (with Pinnacle Gully being more difficult), IMO the car-to-car experience, including objective hazards, are quite similar.

For practice, try comparing Derek Jeter and Xander Bogaerts. Look at similarities, not differences. For extra credit, compare Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts.

cushetunk
09-25-2014, 06:17 PM
I haven't climbed Great Gully before, but based on my early season experiences in other gullies in the Whites and the beta I've seen, I'd expect this to be a full-on alpine adventure in December. So I respectfully disagree with Sierra and Doug Paul that it is useful to draw distinctions between snow gullies and ice gullies in early season. The conditions will be totally weather dependent. It could be ice, snow, rock, or some combination. Avalanche risk would depend on the size and layering of the snowfields. Portions of the gully could be terrifying unconsolidated snow over verglass or bare rock.

I'd probably skip the pickets and bring two technical ice tools, ice screws and a light rock rack.

Later in the winter I'd stay the heck away until the snow settles.

Presumably you already know all this if you're planning such a long remote climb.

cushetunk
09-25-2014, 06:27 PM
Actually, you don't need my comments, you just need this photo, which should say it all:

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/107932256

Sherby
09-25-2014, 07:00 PM
Last year in march, we got a short section of NEI2 (kinda similar to Willey's and Shoestring) ice at the base of the gully then it was all snow that appeared to be well consolidated. We were lucky enough to follow some tracks all over from the shortline to the boulder field which is kinda a pain with deep snow. It could really be different in december.

DougPaul
09-25-2014, 07:56 PM
Actually, you don't need my comments, you just need this photo, which should say it all:

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/107932256
If you had climbed the route yourself, you would recognize that this photo is of ice on the cliff section that most climbers go around. See http://www.mountainproject.com/v/106024026--the ice bulge is plainly visible to the left of the route, fairly low down. As shown by the red line, the usual route climbs a snow gully to the right of the ice cliff.

And yes, conditions on this (and any other ice and/or snow) route vary with time of year and year-to-year. When Great Gully is in (the best) condition, it is a pure snow climb (as it was when I climbed it).

FWIW, http://www.mountainproject.com/v/106024029 and http://www.mountainproject.com/v/106024032 look pretty similar to the conditions we encountered except we had a deeper snowpack--I don't recall any exposed ice on-route or on the approach (late winter). We also walked on avalanche debris on the approach.

FWIW2: Note the pictures in the above Mountain Project report are from three different parties and three different times of year: July (1), December (1), and late winter (7).

Doug

jfb
09-25-2014, 09:01 PM
As shown by the red line, the usual route climbs a snow gully to the right of the ice cliff.



That would also make a good descent route, after climbing the ice bulges (in early season, before they get buried). We don't really know why the OP is planning a trip for December.

DougPaul
09-25-2014, 09:43 PM
That would also make a good descent route, after climbing the ice bulges (in early season, before they get buried).
That is certainly a possibility. However the snow route could easily be mixed rock, ice, and snow...


We don't really know why the OP is planning a trip for December.
True, however, this is a hiking BBS. Hardly the best place to go for technical climbing advice--snow climbing seems more likely than ice climbing.

If my goal were to climb the ice, I'd probably go by snowfall and weather rather than the calendar. There might be a short window where there is ice on the cliff but little snow above. Waiting for a low-snow year might also be a good idea. I'll still be worried about unconsolidated snow from above avalanching down on me.

When I was there, it was clear that many of the gullies had avalanched--King Ravine is a bad place to be right after or during a heavy snowfall.

Doug

sierra
09-26-2014, 09:59 AM
Routes like this are so variable that predicting conditions for any time is next to impossible. I stand by my comments and also would stand by Dougs for sure.

nartreb
09-26-2014, 11:16 AM
Gullies in December are rather different beasts than in March, on that we can all agree. I'd say the key phrase from JFB's first post is "if you know what you're doing". I don't know what the OP's experience level is, but I'd suggest starting with, say, Central Gully in Huntington Ravine, where (s)he can consult with the rangers and staff at Harvard Cabin to get the latest forecast and condition reports. If you find yourself asking an Internet bulletin board for advice on avalanche conditions months in advance, you may not be ready for King Ravine in December.

skiguy
09-26-2014, 01:00 PM
Routes like this are so variable that predicting conditions for any time is next to impossible.

In a nutshell well said! If you google key words like "Kings Ravine", "Mt. Adams" "Great Gully" and "The Seven" you will get a wealth of info. Keep your ear to the ground and keep track of the evolvement of the conditions. I would let that evolvement dictate when you decide to do this route rather than a specific date. Also extrapolating the information of that evolvement to be analogous to your experience and ability is critical.

jfb
09-26-2014, 01:33 PM
True, however, this is a hiking BBS. Hardly the best place to go for technical climbing advice--snow climbing seems more likely than ice climbing.



Use of the words "beta," "screws" and "climbing partner" in the original post led me to believe the opposite.

Wendellator
10-01-2014, 05:50 PM
Like they say " A picture is worth a thousand words".
Thanks

Grey J
10-02-2014, 09:26 AM
For practice, try comparing Derek Jeter and Xander Bogaerts. Look at similarities, not differences. [/QUOTE]

Derek Jeter and Xander Bogaerts are both shortstops. End of comparison for now and thats from a Sox fan. I don't think this example reinforces your point.

jfb
10-02-2014, 03:31 PM
Derek Jeter and Xander Bogaerts are both shortstops. End of comparison for now and thats from a Sox fan. I don't think this example reinforces your point.

Maybe my point was that Pinnacle Gully and Great Gully are both gullies in similar locations. Never said they were the same difficulty.

Grey J
10-03-2014, 11:20 AM
You might be able to get more beta at the www.neclimbs.com website. I'd say the conditions in December are variable, but if you know what you're doing, it should be no problem. I've climbed Pinnacle Gully in December and Great Gully shouldn't be any harder than that.

It sounded like that was exactly what you were saying. Is this an argument or just a contradiction? Monadnock and Adams are both mountains. Kershaw and Doubront are both left-handed starters.

jfb
10-03-2014, 01:59 PM
It sounded like that was exactly what you were saying.

I guess I'll have to choose my words more carefully next time. What I meant to write was that Great Gully is easier than Pinnacle Gully and if I can climb Pinnacle, then any competent climber should be able to climb Great Gully. (I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.)

Grey J
10-04-2014, 10:51 AM
Good comeback! Get that man a comfy chair. Hey the joke's on me as Kershaw actually turned into Doubront last night!

TJsName
10-04-2014, 05:33 PM
Good comeback! Get that man a comfy chair. Hey the joke's on me as Kershaw actually turned into Doubront last night!

I think that's a bit harsh. Doubront pitched well in the playoffs last year (7.0 IP, 1 run. 3 hits). ;)