General Avalanche Advisory, Wednesday, 12-11-2013

Expires at 12:00 midnight Friday 12-13-2013.

This is an early season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines.

General Advisories are issued when isolated instabilities may exist within the forecast areas. Forecasts using the 5-scale danger rating system will begin when snowfields and bed surfaces become more developed. Please remember that avalanche activity may occur before the issuance of a 5-scale danger rating forecast. As always, you need to make your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.

Potential instability problems are currently limited to isolated snowfields in each ravine. Unstable snow can develop in any location where new snow can be loaded onto a potential bed surface. The largest of these bed surfaces can currently be found in Left Gully, the Chute, and the Lip area of Tuckerman and Central, Pinnacle and Odell Gullies in Huntington. Smaller but equally hazardous snowfields can also be found on benches that allow sluffing snow to accumulate. Spatial variability predominates in the early season so climbers should approach low angle ice between steeper bits on any ice climb or mountaineering route with caution.  These lower angle sections contain the deepest snow on what may be the slickest bed surface. Our thin snowpack is obscuring rocks and boilerplate water ice which will create a significant hazard to hikers and climbers until we get more snow. Micro-spikes and crampons as well as the patience to stop and put them on or switch between the two will go a long way towards preventing a potentially disastrous lower leg injury in the upcoming frigid weather. The Lion Head Summer Route is still open but has several sections of steep ice that are difficult to negotiate with anything less than crampons.

Thursday, December 5 was a warm rainy day on the mountain, which brought about a half inch of rain.  Since then, cold temperatures have prevailed with the summit recording 7” of snow Monday and Tuesday, December 9th and 10th. Field work in Tuckerman Ravine revealed generally good bonding of the new snow on the old rain crust.  Mid storm layers form the weaker interface with smoother Q2 shears. New snow on ice was reactive.

Check www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org frequently as we move through December for the latest avalanche advisory before heading into avalanche terrain. We’re excited to be back at it and look forward to seeing you in the mountains!

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 AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin.
  • Posted 7:54a.m., Wednesday, December 11, 2013. 

 

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

2013-12-11 Printer friendly

General Avalanche Advisory, Sunday 12-08-2013

Expires at 12:00 midnight Tuesday 12-10-2013.

This is an early season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington ravines.

General Advisories are issued when isolated instabilities may exist within the forecast areas. Forecasts using the 5-scale danger rating system will begin when snowfields and bed surfaces become more developed. Please remember that avalanche activity may occur before the issuance of a 5-scale danger rating forecast. You need to make your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.

Potential instability problems are currently limited to the isolated snowfields in each ravine. Although these areas are relatively small compared to midwinter conditions, this does not mean avalanche activity cannot occur. Unstable snow can develop in any location where new snow can be loaded onto a potential bed surface. The largest of these bed surfaces can currently be found in Left Gully, the Chute, and the Lip area of Tuckerman and Central and Odell Gullies in Huntington. Other smaller snowfields can also be found in various locations throughout both ravines. Spatial variability is incredibly strong in these early season conditions. Be on your toes since conditions may change as you move within or between snowfields.

Recent weather has not been as kind to snow-lovers as we like to see. Thursday December 5 was a warm rainy day on the mountain, which brought about a half inch of rain and very little snow. Since then, we’ve seen cold temperatures but still very little snow. Hopefully this will change in the next day or two. We expect a few inches or more of snow on Monday followed by high pressure and clearing skies later in the week. As tomorrow’s low pressure system swings the winds around from the S to the NW, expect the ravines to be on the receiving end of some wind loading. Remember that windblown snow has a difficult time bonding to icy crusts, and can’t bond at all to water ice.

Check www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org frequently as we move through December for the latest avalanche advisory before heading into avalanche terrain. We’re excited to be back at it and look forward to seeing you in the mountains!

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 AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin.
  • Posted 7:45a.m., Sunday December 8, 2013. 

 

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

2013-12-08 Print Friendly

 

General Avalanche Advisory, Thursday 12-05-2013

Expires at Midnight Saturday 12-07-2013

This is the initial GENERAL AVALANCHE ADVISORY for the 2013-2014 season.  A new General Advisory will be issued if conditions warrant or within 72 hours of this release.   

A General Advisory is issued when there are limited instabilities within the entire forecast area. However, there are snowfields that are growing in size and may harbor some instabilities. Some examples in Tuckerman include Left Gully and the Chute. These are two areas that grow in size the earliest and present the largest potential bed surfaces for future snow to load on. Yet, the smaller snowfields between ice bulges across the Tuckerman Headwall can be more problematic because of the concentration of climbers on this early season ice.  Be wary climbing under other parties.  In Huntington, typical problems for the early season climber are often in the snowfields below the first pitch of ice on various routes.  Examples include underneath Central, Pinnacle and Odell.  Keep this in mind and don’t underestimate these smaller patches of snow on your chosen ice climbing route.  If a snowfield is big enough to recreate on, it’s big enough to avalanche.

Since the warm up and big rain on Wednesday 11/27 we have received snow every day except for one 24 hour period.  This has brought the mountain about 8” (20cm) of snow over the past week which has helped grow several of the mountain’s east facing snowfields.  Today, Thursday 12/5, mixed precipitation is forecasted to change to freezing rain (ZR) and then all rain through the higher summits.  This may cause a stability problem or two depending on how much rain we actually receive after the glazing crust from ZR.  The bigger issue into the weekend will be new areas of slab that will form on the new surface ice crust.  As this system moves out of the region cold air will change precipitation back to snow for early Friday morning and through the day.  Winds are expected to be from the W at 55-75+mph (90-120+kph) during this snow shower period.  Expect to find areas of new slab sitting on the old icy surface on a variety of snowfields in both ravines.

The weekend is expected to be pretty nice likely offering good visibility.  It’s probable that the climber who spends time analyzing a route from below will be able to see where new and old snow is located.  This should allow planning a route sticking to stable snow.  If visibility does not make this possible expect pockets of new snow to be poorly bonded to the old surface if you encounter them while on route.  We’ll watch the snow coming for Monday and discuss that in the next advisory.  Check www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org frequently as we move through December for the latest avalanche advisory before heading into avalanche terrain. We’re excited to be back at it and look forward to seeing you in the mountains!

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 AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin. Posted 0745. 12-05-2013. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant.

 

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

12-05-2013 Print Version