Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, 4-30-2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche dangerNatural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

It’s hard to believe we have reached the end of April. While it’s not been a stellar month as far as snowfall goes, the last several days have provided remarkably pleasant conditions on the mountain. This will continue today as warm high pressure continues to dominate the region. Objective mountain hazards should be figured prominently into your travel plans today. These include:

  1. POTENTIAL FOR FALLING ICE. So far we’ve not seen much ice fall to the floor of the ravine or over Lunch Rocks. This means there is still a strong potential for it to happen. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by icefall in Tuckerman, while countless others have had close calls. Minimize the time you spend in areas where ice may fall from above you, such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks. DESPITE ITS POPULARITY, LUNCH ROCKS IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO SIT AND WATCH THE ACTION. 
  2. CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. The best way to avoid this hazard is to know where the holes are located, and avoid these areas. You can do this by climbing up what you plan to descend. The most prominent area where crevasses have become a serious threat is in the Lip and Center Bowl. Falling into one of these holes or breaking through a weak snow bridge could be fatal for you or your friends. To borrow a slogan from a more familiar hazard, friends don’t let friends ski the Lip.
  3. UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, we are starting to see this problem emerge. Many gullies have running water in them, which melts away the snow from below. While it may look thick and strong on top, you don’t really know until you step through. The consequences could range from minor annoyance to being swept into an icy water channel. If you see a small hole in the snow, understand that it likely gets larger beneath the surface. A common practice in other mountain ranges is to probe the depth of snow to help locate problem areas. This can be helpful here as well.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at the half way point. At the rope, you need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. Do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope.

The Lion Head Winter Route remains open and offers the most direct access to the summit of Mt. Washington from the east. This is a very steep route and is often more challenging in spring conditions. An ice axe and crampons are highly recommended for this route. The Lion Head summer trail is still closed. Other routes exist and might be good options with weather like today. Get out your map and use it!

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 7:20 a.m., April 30, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-30 Printable

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, 4-29-2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche dangerNatural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Good corn skiing conditions continue with warm days and cool nights.  Hopefully, clouds will clear overnight to allow for radiational cooling to freeze the snowpack and help preserve our snow through the warm week ahead and keep things from getting slushy. Skiing and riding traffic created some moguls in Left Gully and sluff channels or runnels in the Sluice and Chute. These may grow in size and number if warming becomes intense. Yesterday, a basketball sized rock narrowly missed several dozen people in the conga line in Left Gully. This hazard can be reduced by not climbing on steep sections of rock which are being exposed and loosened by further melting, especially at the tops of gullies where the snowpack is thinner and loose rocks more abundant. Always assume people may be below you and climb carefully.

Cloud cover, which is forecast for today, will most likely reduce the heating which spawns slushy snow and sluff channels but ambient temperatures in the 40’s F ( 5-10 C) will continue to raise the concern for icefall, continued undermining of the snow near rocks and flowing water as well as weakened edges near developing crevasses. Think hard about how to avoid all these issues by picking your hiking, sitting, and skiing/riding locations very carefully. Large cracks and potential icefall hazards are much more prevalent as you move towards the center of the Ravine from either side. “The Lip” is in the bullseye for having the most dangerous conditions, because of this it is strongly encouraged to avoid this area. We recommend Lobster Claw, Right Gully, Left Gully, and Hillman’s Highway as locations with less overall risk from objective mountain hazards than others. The Chute can also be approached in such a way to avoid those hazards though the route is about as steep as it gets in Tuckerman and is not recommended for those inexperienced in steep off-piste skiing. We also highly suggest bringing an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain.  Lightweight aluminum points and ice axes can make a climb much more secure and weigh only a pound or so each.  Many people swear by self-arrest ski poles to help slow a fall or to assist in getting your feet below you in a sliding fall.

Today will be warm with a high potential for falling ice. Falling ice is an increasingly common occurrence at this point in the season. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by icefall in Tuckerman, while countless others have had close calls. It’s hard to truly appreciate the seemingly random, unpredictable power of this hazard until you’ve seen it firsthand. Take our advice: Minimize the time you spend in areas where ice may fall from above you, such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks. DESPITE ITS POPULARITY, LUNCH ROCKS IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO SIT AND WATCH THE ACTION. A T-Shirt slogan comes to mind when I see groups gathered at Lunch Rocks or booting together in a line directly beneath a teetering frozen waterfall…something about “never underestimate the stupidity of smart people in large groups”. Make your own travel decisions carefully!

Crevasses are opening up in many areas. The worst of these can be found in the Lip area and Center Bowl. Some are very deep resulting in dire consequences if you fall in.  Many have icy running water  splashing through them, and some are hidden from view by rollovers or a thin bridge of snow. Hillman’s Highway has some undermined snow and an open hole to watch out for. The best way to avoid this hazard is to know where the holes are located, and avoid these areas. You can do this by climbing up what you plan to descend.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at the half way point. At the rope, you need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. Do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope. The Lion Head Winter Route remains open and offers the most direct access to the summit of Mt. Washington from the east. This is a very steep route and is often more challenging in spring conditions. An ice axe and crampons are highly recommended for this route. The Lion Head summer trail is still closed.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:40 a.m., April 29, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-29 Print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday April 28 2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche dangerNatural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Yesterday’s weather treated about 2500 people to beautiful day in the mountains.  I didn’t hear one complaint about the sun except forgetting suncreen as many red faces trotted out of the Ravine at the end of the day.  Today will be even nicer with expected summit temperatures climbing over 40 degrees F.  It should become a solar cooker in the Ravines today due to the high pressure firmly installed over the region.   Warmer days with low wind speeds elevate our concerns over the typical spring hazards discussed below.  Think hard about how to avoid all these issues by picking your hiking, sitting, and skiing/riding locations very carefully.  Staying hard to the climber’s left in Left Gully or hard right in Right Gully will not eliminate all risk, but will reduce it substantially from icefall, crevasses, and undermining.  These hazards are much more prevalent as you move towards the center of the Ravine from either side. “The Lip” is in the bullseye for having the most dangerous conditions, because of this it is strongly encouraged to avoid this area. Therefore, we recommend Right Gully, Left Gully, and Hillman’s Highway as locations with less overall risk from objective mountain hazards than others. We also highly suggest bringing an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may never even pull them out of your pack, but it’s easy to find yourself in a situation where they would be very helpful, if not critical to getting up or down a route safely.

This will likely be one of the warmest days of the season so most of our attention is focused on a high potential for falling ice. Falling ice is an increasingly common occurrence at this point in the season. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by icefall in Tuckerman, while countless others have had close calls. It’s hard to truly appreciate the seemingly random, unpredictable power of this hazard until you’ve seen it firsthand. Take our advice: Minimize the time you spend in areas where ice may fall from above you, such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks. DESPITE ITS POPULARITY, LUNCH ROCKS IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO SIT AND WATCH THE ACTION. 

Crevasses are opening up in many areas. The worst of these can be found in the Lip area and Center Bowl. Some are are very deep resulting in dire consequences if you fall in.  Many have icy running water  splashing through them, and some are hidden from view by rollovers or a thin bridge of snow. Hillman’s Highway has some undermined snow and an open hole to watch out for. The best way to avoid this hazard is to know where the holes are located, and avoid these areas. You can do this by climbing up what you plan to descend.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at the half way point. At the rope, you need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. Do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope. The Lion Head Winter Route remains open and offers the most direct access to the summit of Mt. Washington from the east. This is a very steep route and is often more challenging in spring conditions. An ice axe and crampons are highly recommended for this route. The Lion Head summer trail is still closed.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:45 a.m., April 28, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-28 Print Version

Four incidents in Tuckerman

This was a very busy day in the ravine, in part because it was the first Saturday this season with really nice spring weather. The first incident was a dislocated shoulder resulting from a fall in Left Gully. After an unsuccessful attempted to reduce the dislocation, the patient and his party were able to walk themselves out from the ravine.

Shortly after the first, a skier fell in the Sluice area, resulting in a lower leg injury. Within minutes of this fall, another skier fell in the Lip, suffering a significant head laceration. Both patients were evacuated by Snow Rangers, the MWVSP, the AMC caretaker, and a large number of volunteers.

The fourth incident was sustained on the lower part of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. A hiker punctured his lower leg on a broken branch when stepping off the trail. He was able to continue hiking.

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, 4-27-2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Today and for the foreseeable future, the weather seems to be cooperating enough to make for enjoyable skiing and riding conditions. We’ll see an increase in the cloud cover today, with a slight chance for afternoon showers. On the positive side of the weather forecast, light winds and warm temperatures should allow snow surfaces to soften up during the day before refreezing this afternoon. Tomorrow the weather looks even better,with sunnier skies and slightly warmer temps. All this good weather might lull you into thinking you don’t need to pack so heavy. Conditions today are starting the day frozen and will freeze up again at the end of today. We recommend bringing an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may never even pull them out of your pack, but it’s easy to find yourself in a situation where they would be very helpful, if not critical to getting up or down a route safely.

Falling ice is an increasingly common occurrence at this point in the season. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by icefall in Tuckerman, while countless others have had close calls. It’s hard to truly appreciate the seemingly random, unpredictable power of this hazard until you’ve seen it firsthand. Take our advice: Minimize the time you spend in areas where ice may fall from above you, such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks. DESPITE ITS POPULARITY, LUNCH ROCKS IS NOT A SAFE PLACE FOR WATCHING THE ACTION. 

Crevasses are opening up in many areas. The worst of these can be found in the Lip area and Center Bowl. The smallest ones may just trip you up a little, but others are far more dangerous. Some are quite deep, others have icy water splashing through them, and some are hidden from view by rollovers or a thin bridge of snow. Hillman’s Highway has some undermined snow and an open hole to watch out for. The best way to avoid this hazard is to know where the holes are located, and avoid these areas. You can do this by climbing up what you plan to descend.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about 1 mile uphill of Pinkham Notch. At the rope, you will need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. Do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope.

The Lion Head Winter Route remains open and offers the most direct access to the summit of Mt. Washington from the east. This is a very steep route and is often more challenging in spring conditions. An ice axe and crampons are highly recommended for this route. The Lion Head summer trail is still closed.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:45 a.m., April 27, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-27 Print Version

 

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, 4-26-2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Every season is a little different, for certain, but right now the weather pattern we’ve been going through feels like any other late April. Warm days and cold nights are the norm, some days the snow is guaranteed to soften, others its more questionable. Today, as temperatures in the ravine easily rise above the freezing mark and with nearly imperceptible winds, I would bet good money that the snow surfaces will be in good shape in a few hours. But, like every other late April, there are showers in the forecast. Don’t be surprised if you get a little wet this afternoon. Take advantage of the time frame after the snow becomes soft and before the clouds move in. Later today we’ll post a Weekend Update with our thoughts on the upcoming weekend.

Falling ice is an increasingly common occurrence at this point in the season. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by icefall in Tuckerman, while countless others have had close calls. It’s hard to truly appreciate the seemingly random, unpredictable power of this hazard until you’ve seen it firsthand. Take our advice: Minimize the time you spend in areas where ice may fall from above you, such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks. Despite its popularity, Lunch Rocks is not a safe place for watching the action.

Crevasses are opening up in many areas. The worst of these can be found in the Lip area and Center Bowl. The smallest ones may just trip you up a little, but others are far more dangerous. Some are quite deep, others have icy water  splashing through them, and some are hidden from view by rollovers or a thin bridge of snow. The best way to avoid this hazard is to know where the holes are located, and avoid these areas. You can do this by climbing up what you plan to descend.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about 0.75 miles uphill of Pinkham Notch. At the rope, you will need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. PLEASE do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope as it isn’t built for foot travel, will contribute to the erosion of this trail, and cover you with wet mud. The skiable section of trail is shrinking daily so you may want to leave the trail at an earlier cutoff than where it hangs now above the switchbacks.

Forest Service snow machines have been put away for the year and Snow Rangers are not on the mountain everyday due to other responsibilities on the White Mountain National Forest.  Though we are closely monitoring conditions and are ready to respond to incidents, our response time will be greatly increased.  As always, you need to be ready to initiate and carry out your own rescue effort so be prepared with the knowledge and equipment to effectively help yourself or someone else in your party.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:10 a.m., April 26, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-26 Printable

Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, 4-25-2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Warm temperatures yesterday produced a bounty of corn snow which bordered on slush on southerly aspects. Overnight, temperatures dropped considerably (currently 21F on the summit) and winds have ramped up to the 60-80 mph (95-130 kph) range with the passage of a cold front.  Yesterday’s corn snow is now refrozen and practically unskiable.  Instead of corn snow, skiers and riders can expect frozen heads of cabbage on a steep, icy slope to be served today with little chance of being warmed by the sun into something rideable. Though winds will drop through the afternoon, it is unlikely that the magic combination of sunshine and warm temperatures will bring the corn snow back into shape for today, though the situation for the weekend looks promising. Yesterday’s warm temperatures (57 F or 14C at Hermit Lake) also sent some ice chunks down slope from the Center Bowl area and  further opened crevasses in the Lip so file this information away as we progress into the spring ski season. The waterfall hole at the Lip is still growing as well so give it, and other melt holes, a wide berth especially when warming conditions return.

Though temperatures will favor the bonding of ice today, continue to be wary of ice hanging over the approach to the Sluice and Center Bowl.  This ice will fall down in large chunks that roll unpredictably and with surprising speed.  Don’t linger at Lunch Rocks or on the floor of the ravine in these run out zones.  Hanging out under the ice is a game of Russian roulette.  Some days there are more rounds in the chamber than others but why play those odds at all if you don’t have to. Choose your routes carefully to reduce exposure to this hazard.

Crevasses have opened and will continue to open as our snowpack creeps downhill.  The slab of snow marking the climber’s right edge of last Friday’s wet slab avalanche has a developing crack near the top. This slab is unsupported and is close to 6′ thick on a slope approaching 50 degrees. Though an avalanche here is unlikely, it is not impossible.   Crevasses are forming in the Sluice, Lip and Center Bowl areas. These slots can be deep and have been the scene of many accidents in the past, some of which were fatal. Give the crevasses and areas around any ice a wide berth.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about 0.75 miles uphill of Pinkham Notch. At the rope, you will need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. PLEASE do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope as it isn’t built for foot travel, will contribute to the erosion of this trail, and cover you with wet mud. The skiable section of trail is shrinking daily so you may want to leave the trail at an earlier cutoff than where it hangs now above the switchbacks.

Forest Service snow machines have been put away for the year and Snow Rangers are not on the mountain everyday due to other responsibilities on the White Mountain National Forest.  Though we are closely monitoring conditions and are ready to respond to incidents, our response time will be greatly increased.  As always, you need to be ready to initiate and carry out your own rescue effort so be prepared with the knowledge and equipment to effectively help yourself or someone else in your party.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 8:00 a.m., April 25, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-25 Print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday April 24th 2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

As the spring season moves along it’s all about timing and location.  Whether you’re buying a house or playing in the mountains you need to know your real estate to stay on top.  First, consider the timing.  Watching the weather forecasts from day to day is one of the best ways to help yourself enjoy good spring ski conditions rather than hiking up into an icy *&%#$@.   As an example let’s look at today’s conditions. Temperatures on the summit have been rising slowly over the past 24 hours and are already above freezing.  The Ravines are even warmer, sandwiched between cold air aloft and cold air down low at Pinkham Notch.  Temperatures should continue to crawl higher today which will help soften overall snow conditions, particularly south facing slopes as the sun peaks out through the clouds.  However, as a cold front approaches from the west temperatures will fall rapidly tonight, changing the associated frontal moisture from rain to light snow.  The mercury should continue to fall tomorrow likely keeping surface conditions very hard.  This is a classic scenario that plays out through the spring.  Although isolated icy conditions can exist on warmer days, monitoring the forecasts and executing your timing can help substantially to avoid one of our greatest hazards-long sliding falls!  Falls are a serious hazard and many past incidents have turned out very badly, but you are in complete control to prevent this potential accident. Between timing the temperatures and snow hardness relationship, having the skills to use your mountaineering ax and crampons, and staying within the limits of your climbing ability given the conditions can all greatly mitigate this fall hazard.

As you time temperatures for softer snow realize warm conditions are increasing our other hazards.  So although these hazards have an inverse timing relationship you can start using location choice to protect yourself.  As conditions warm the risk of falling ice, undermined snow, and developing crevasses all grow so keeping yourself away from these issues is critical.

Be wary of ice hanging over the approach to the Sluice and Center Bowl.  This ice will fall down in large chunks that roll unpredictably and with surprising speed.  Don’t linger at Lunch Rocks or on the floor of the ravine in these run out zones.  Hanging out under the ice is a game of Russian roulette.  Some days there are more rounds in the chamber than others but why play those odds at all if you don’t have to. Choose your routes carefully to reduce exposure to this hazard.

Crevasses have opened and will continue to open as our snowpack creeps downhill.  The slab of snow marking the climber’s right edge of last Friday’s wet slab avalanche has a developing crack near the top. This slab is unsupported and is close to 6′ thick on a slope approaching 50 degrees. Though an avalanche here is unlikely, it is not impossible.   Crevasses are forming in the Sluice, Lip and Center Bowl areas. These slots can be deep and have been the scene of many accidents in the past, some of which were fatal. Give the crevasses and areas around any ice a wide berth.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about 0.75 miles uphill of Pinkham Notch. At the rope, you will need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. PLEASE do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope as it isn’t built for foot travel, will contribute to the erosion of this trail, and cover you with wet mud.

Forest Service snow machines have been put away for the year and Snow Rangers are not on the mountain everyday due to other responsibilities on the White Mountain National Forest.  Though we are closely monitoring conditions and are ready to respond to incidents, our response time will be greatly increased.  As always, you need to be ready to initiate and carry out your own rescue effort so be prepared with the knowledge and equipment to effectively help yourself or someone else in your party.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:30 a.m., April 24, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-24 Print Version

 

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, 4-23-2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington for the remainder of this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

It was a long time coming this season, but we’re actually into a solid corn cycle right now. This is contributing to a very stable snowpack, so other hazards take center stage over avalanches at this time. The freezing overnight that allows this cycle to continue makes the snow surfaces very firm until they can soften up with the day’s warmth. Not only are they firm and icy, but the texture is very rough. Falling on this surface not only results in rapid acceleration, but it can scrape away deep layers of skin in short time. Long sliding falls are a serious hazard, but you are in complete control when it comes to the ability to prevent an accident. Having the skills to use the appropriate mountaineering equipment to keep you on your feet and on the slope, and staying within the limits of your climbing ability given the conditions at the time you’re there will help you mitigate the sliding fall hazard.

Be wary of ice hanging over the approach to the Sluice and Center Bowl which has held on tenaciously through a few warm days over the past weeks.  This ice will fall down in large chunks that roll unpredictably and with surprising speed.  Don’t linger at Lunch Rocks or in the floor of the ravine, it just isn’t worth it when sitting on your pack or another rock somewhere out of the fall line is an easy option. Hanging out under the ice is a game of Russian roulette.  Some days there are more rounds in the chamber than others but why play those odds at all if you don’t have to. Choose your routes carefully to reduce exposure to this hazard.

Crevasses have opened and will continue to open as our snowpack creeps downhill.  The slab of snow marking the lookers’ right edge of last Friday’s wet slab avalanche has a developing crack near the top. This slab is unsupported and is close to 6′ thick on a slope approaching 50 degrees. Though an avalanche here is unlikely, it is not impossible. If it does slide you don’t want to be anywhere near it. Additionally, the snowpack has begun to pull apart as it slowly creeps downhill. Crevasses are forming in the Sluice, Lip and Center Bowl areas. These slots can be deep enough to create a significant fall hazard and have been the scene of many accidents in the past, some of which were fatal. Give the crevasses and areas around any ice a wide berth.

Forest Service snow machines have been put away for the year and Snow Rangers are not on the mountain everyday due to other responsibilities on the White Mountain National Forest.  Though we are still closely monitoring conditions and are ready to respond to incidents, our response time will be greatly increased.  As always, you need to be ready to initiate and carry out your own rescue effort so be prepared with the knowledge and equipment to effectively help yourself or someone else in your party.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about 0.75 miles uphill of Pinkham Notch. At the rope, you will need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. PLEASE do not walk or attempt to ski the trail below the rope–it isn’t built for foot travel and you will contribute to the erosion of this trail.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:30 a.m., April 23, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-23 Printable

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, 4-22-2013

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington for the remainder of this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Light winds and clear skies will allow snow to soften mid-day today.  Aspects directly in the sun will ripen first with shadier aspects like Chute and Left Gully not softening as much if at all. Heating through the day may be intense enough that maintaining an edge and managing your sluff may become difficult on steep areas of sloppy snow. Be wary of ice hanging over the approach to Sluice and the Center Bowl which has held on tenaciously through a few warm days over the past weeks.  This ice will fall down in large chunks that roll unpredictably and with surprising speed.  Don’t linger at Lunch Rocks or in the floor of the ravine, it just isn’t worth it when sitting on your pack or another rock somewhere out of the fall line is an easy option. Hanging out under the ice is a a game of Russian roulette.  Some days there are more rounds in the chamber than others but why play those odds at all if you don’t have to. Choose your routes carefully to reduce exposure to this hazard.

Crevasses have opened and will continue to open as our snowpack creeps downhill.  The slab of snow marking the lookers right edge of Friday’s wet slab avalanche has a developing crack near the top. This slab is unsupported and is close to 6′ thick on a slope approaching 50 degrees.  Whether this slab will melt in place, be triggered by a skier or release naturally is anybody’s guess. Though an avalanche here is unlikely, it is far from impossible. If it does slide you don’t want to be anywhere near it. Additionally, the snowpack beneath all of the frozen waterfalls, but especially the Sluice, Lip and Center Bowl areas, has begun to pull away from the ice.  These slots can be deep enough to create a significant fall hazard and have been the scene of many accidents , some of which were fatal, in the past. Give the areas around any ice a wide berth since where there is ice, there is or will be flowing water which undermines snow and generally creates the potential for serious trouble.

Forest Service snow machines have been put away for the year and Snow Rangers are not on the mountain everyday due to other responsibilities on the White Mountain National Forest.  Though we are still closely monitoring conditions and are ready to respond to incidents, our response time will be greatly increased.  As always, you need to be ready to initiate and carry out your own rescue effort so be prepared with the knowledge and equipment to effectively help yourself or someone else in your party.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about 0.75 miles uphill of Pinkham Notch. At the rope, you will need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. PLEASE do not walk or attempt to ski the trail below the rope–it’s not built for foot travel and you will contribute to the erosion of this trail. 

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:45 a.m., April 22, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-22 Print friendly