Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stabilitus Testorium

Definitely one of our more entertaining bulletins this season:
"All doubts can now be laid aside; spring has arrived. How do I know this? Every year around mid-March, a certain migratory species makes its presence known in Tuckerman Ravine. Stabilitus testorium, known to avalanche forecasters around the world as “volunteer stability testers”, are occasionally found in the eastern ravines during the height of winter. They become prevalent each spring, particularly on weekends. Yesterday a large flock descended on Tuckerman, testing slopes in numerous locations including the Center Bowl and Lip. While the biped variants had little success in their search for instabilities, one four-legged creature managed to release a couple minor propagating slabs while searching for a descent route through the Lip. Mostly though, the initial harbingers of spring were left to contend with sluff management on top of the dominant crust layer."
Such references by a USFS forecast center to the backcountry recreationalists in the forecast area do seem to border on outright mockery, but then again the recreationalists in question don't read the avy bulletin anyway . . . even though it's posted at the trailhead's visitor center, at the trailhead outside, and at treeline.  (If you're not familiar with the scene there, it's just impossible to explain . . . so I won't even try!)
Complete bulletin here.

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