Website Updates

What happened to the MWAC website???

Well, it’s been five years since we first moved away from www.tuckerman.org to current site, and in that time much has changed, so we figured it was time to update the site. Since this fall and winter were off to such a lousy start, it gave us ample opportunities to work on the changes. Here’s some of the changes you’ll find today:

  • A more organized navigation bar, with an attempt to put the greatest emphasis on the Avalanche Advisory and resources one could use to help understand the advisory.
  • A page with the past 15 days advisories. When planning a trip, it’s often helpful to know the recent history of the snowpack.
  • A “News” section, where you will find the Weekend Update, The Pit, and now other newsworthy items that previously didn’t have a good home.
  • A streamlined homepage, less “busy”
  • Better responsiveness on mobile devices
  • An “About Us” section, with contact info so you know how to reach us
  • A “Trail Status” page, so you can quickly see which trails are open or closed (E.g. which Lion Head route or how far up the Sherburne is open.)

More changes are coming through the season, but we wanted to make the site live right now so we can ensure all the critical components are working properly when we move into full avalanche forecasting mode. There is nothing more unsettling to us than finding out that we cannot update the Advisory due to some website glitch.

Some of the changes I’m hopeful we’ll be able to implement include:

  • Bring our photos page back onto our website instead of using the Flickr site
  • Providing a means for you to share your photos with us
  • Providing access to our snowplot and avalanche observation data

If you are navigating around the site and have thoughts, comments, or questions, feel free to send them my way. When information flows in all directions, we all stand to benefit. So please don’t be afraid to speak up if you see something or want a feature added. We can’t do everything you might want, but if it’s a reasonable request and technologically feasible, we might incorporate your suggestions.

Thanks,
Jeff Lane

Ps: We owe a great deal of gratitude to Jeff F.  and Joe K. for their ongoing support of the tech side of this site. Thanks, guys.

Early Winter Information – December 29, 2015

This is an updated early winter informational statement. We’ll continue to monitor conditions closely and will issue a General Bulletin or Avalanche Advisory when the likelihood and consequence of avalanches increase.

We have been paying attention, for sure, but Mother Nature has not been cooperative in getting this winter underway. Today (12/29) we are experiencing a winter storm across the entire region, which certainly makes it feel more like winter than it had been feeling. This new snow will have an effect, but prior to it there was only about 1″ of snow sitting on the ground. Seriously, the total snow depth on 12/28 was about 1″. Aside from a small isolated patch of snow at the top of Left Gully, there was nothing that resembled a snowfield. So in essence, we are still waiting for enough snow to fill in the ravines to warrant issuing our first General Bulletin.

Please consider the following as you plan your trip:

  • Hiking trails through steep terrain (e.g. Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine trails) may be covered in ice and snow. Mountaineering skills and equipment are required for safe travel on these routes. Microspikes are not a substitute for real crampons in steep icy terrain.
  • The Lion Head Summer Trail is still open and at this pace, it’ll stay open for a while yet. This trail does have a lot of water ice on it, making crampons or other traction devices a smart choice.
  • Ice climbing routes are still developing. One recent report was that the ice in Pinnacle Gully is gone. Expect poor protection and ample amounts of water in Huntington’s gullies and in the headwall area of Tuckerman. Remember that on Christmas Eve the summit broke a record with a max temperature of 46F.
  • The length of daylight is very short at this time of year. Carry a headlamp or two, even if you have no expectation to need it.
  • Check summit weather forecasts before heading out. Weather above treeline is often much worse than down at the base. You can find the MWObs summit forecast here or theNational Weather Service summits forecast here.
  • Avalanche hazards can exist in very small areas. Expect a handful of micro/nano sized bed surfaces to accept the loading of new snow. Although not enough to justify an avalanche General Bulletin or Avalanche Advisory, be prepared for some extremely isolated areas of instability with future snowfalls. Be sure to check back for updated information as winter continues to take hold up here.

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.

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

2015-12-29 Information Posting

Early Winter Information – December 19, 2015

This is an updated early winter informational statement. A General Bulletin or an Avalanche Advisory will be used when conditions warrant. This early season posting is to communicate that some initial winter hazards on Mount Washington are beginning to grow, requiring some risk assessment and thought on your part.  We’ll monitor conditions closely and will issue a General Bulletin Avalanche Advisory when the likelihood and consequence of avalanches increase. Current conditions in the ravines are more similar to late fall than typical December. Very little snow has fallen so far this season, and average temperatures have been well above normal.

Please consider the following as you plan your trip:

  • Hiking trails through steep terrain (e.g. Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine trails) may be covered in ice and snow. Mountaineering skills and equipment are required for safe travel on these routes. Microspikes are not a substitute for real crampons in steep icy terrain.
  • Icefall hazards will continue as temperatures fall and rise. Ice climbing routes have been subject to above freezing temperatures are recently as December 18. As of December 19, forecasts include more warm days, with the summit possibly reaching above freezing on Christmas Day.
  • The length of daylight is very short at this time of year. Carry a headlamp or two, even if you have no expectation to need it.
  • Check weather forecasts before heading out. Weather above treeline is often much worse than down at the base. You can find the MWObs summit forecast here or the National Weather Service summits forecast here.
  • Avalanche hazards can exist in very small areas. Expect a handful of micro/nano sized bed surfaces to accept the loading of new snow. Although not enough to justify an avalanche General Bulletin or Avalanche Advisory, be prepared for some extremely isolated areas of instability with future snowfalls. Be sure to check back for updated information as winter continues to take hold up here.

Avalanche.org

If you are dreaming about snow, wondering if you’ll ever be knee-deep in powder ever again, there are plenty of online resources to help you feel the pain of early winter in the Northeast. Avalache.org has a map on its homepage showing danger ratings from across the country. I’d recommend this as a first stop if you want a quick glimpse of where the snow has been falling recently. (And if you haven’t been paying attention, some areas out west have been doing quite well so far.) The Forest Service National Avalanche Center site is another good one for snow safety information.

 

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

Early Winter Information for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines- December 11, 2015

This is an updated early winter informational statement.  A “General Bulletin” or a “5 Scale Avalanche Advisory” will be used when conditions warrant.  This early season posting is to communicate that some initial winter hazards on Mount Washington are beginning to grow requiring some risk assessment and thought on your part.  We’ll monitor conditions closely and will start off with a General Bulletin when the likelihood and consequence of avalanches increase.

It’s still pretty slow out there as far as snow and ice accumulations goes for climbing and skiing enthusiasts. November was about 200% below normal in total precipitation. December is proving not much better so far with only 1.85″ of total water of the 7.73″ average for December’s running 30 year norm. The more dramatic figures are related to temperatures.  As you are fully aware it’s been a warm start to winter.  So ice keeps coming in and then diminishing with alpine warm ups.  This weekend will see above freezing temperatures around the clock at the Ravine elevations, so once again we’ll be in losing mode. (AKA-Falling Ice)

Consider these important reminders in your evaluations:

  • Expect continued icefall hazards due to mild temperatures as well as weak detached ice if considering ice climbing.  Be cautious when moving through or travelling below locations harboring ice.
  • Although very effective for general low elevation walking remember “microspikes” are not crampons.  During the early season we carry both as each have their place, know the limitations of each.
  • As we progress towards the solstice daylight is waning.  A headlamp could become your best friend in the event of an injury or a longer than expected day. Carry two.
  • Be sure to check current weather forecasts at the Mount Washington Observatory website, posted at the Pinkham and Crawford Notch Visitors Centers as well as at the Harvard Cabin and Hermit Lake Shelters in Tuckerman Ravine.
  • Avalanche hazards can grow quickly now that we have some small bed surfaces beginning to develop.  Expect a handful of micro/nano sized bed surfaces to accept the loading of new snow. Although not enough to justify an avalanche “Bulletin” or “Advisory”, be prepared for some extremely isolated areas of instability with future snowfalls.  Be sure to check back for updated information as winter continues to take hold up here.
  • Check for updates at www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org, on instagram @mwacenter, on facebook, and twitter @Avalanchecenter

*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 on Friday December 11, 2015. A new posting will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

Winter knocking on the doorstep

Winter knocking on the doorstep. We’ve been busy at work with preseason tasks, one of which is to start taking and posting photos. You can see some from yesterday at our website or go direct to Flickr.

Reports were mixed of the ice climbing quality…generally OK ice, but slushy, tough bushwacking to get out of Odell, too much water in the Open Book, etc. -JL

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine; Sunday, May 17, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine until complete melt out in early summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new General Advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the Ravine has melted a lot recently and Saturday night’s thunderstorm with half an inch of rain didn’t help. High pressure should make for mostly warm, sunny conditions before the next round of unsettled weather begins Monday night. Currently, Left Gully and Hillman’s are the longest runs and also hold the least nasty spring-time hazards. Other gullies are melted at the top and bottom and make for a short run that, in the case of Right Gully, end abruptly in a pile of boulders.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

ATTENTION AUX RANDONNEURS! Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS IN TUCKERMAN RAVINE:

  • FALLING ICE. Over the years, many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice that has not yet fallen. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES continue to grow; the most dangerous are in the Lip and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. You may encounter this problem anywhere that water is flowing beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies, or where the snowpack is thinning near emerging boulders. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening creates very dense snow and alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Snow surfaces can be hard and icy enough to make arresting a fall difficult, if not impossible, on a steep slope. Good terrain choices, careful climbing as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. In addition to the Lip, the area beneath the Headwall and Lunch Rocks are threatened by enormous blocks of ice which may be more likely to release during a period of rain. There are a number of other, safer routes that take you to Pinkham Notch and avoid this closed area.

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.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2015-05-17 general

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine; Saturday, May 16, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine until complete melt out in early summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new General Advisory (GA) will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the Ravine has melted considerably over the last couple weeks. Crevasses and icefall are at their peak threat right now. Expect a cloudy day with rain showers and temperatures in the 40’s, definitely not a classic bluebird day to enjoy the action in the Bowl.  Weather conditions are expected to improve on Sunday.  Be sure to get the latest weather forecast before heading uphill. If you do try to ski today, Hillman’s Highway or Left Gully offer the longest runs with the least danger of icefall and crevasses. Beware of loose rocks exposed near the tops of these gullies as the snow recedes.

AS OF TODAY, A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

ATTENTION AUX RANDONNEURS!  Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS IN TUCKERMAN RAVINE:

  • FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice hanging waiting to fall. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations; the most dangerous are in the Lip and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. It is most prominent in places where there is flowing water beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening can create very dense alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Snow surfaces become very hard and icy, making a slip, trip, or fall a very serious situation. Good terrain choices, as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. In addition to the Lip, the area beneath the Headwall and Lunch Rocks are threatened by enormous blocks of ice which may be more likely to release during a period of rain. There are a number of other, safer routes that take you to Pinkham Notch that avoid this closed area.

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.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2015-05-16 print version

Switching gears

Returning to the bowl today after the annual closure of the Lip began was another journey through the calculations of risk tolerance. As you may know, we have a pretty unique situation in Tuckerman Ravine where heavy skier traffic intersects with pretty intense though smaller scale mountain hazards. The high volume of visitors in terrain that is riddled with all the hazards you might encounter in higher elevation, glaciated western peak led to a decision long ago to close a section of trail that passes through the bullseye of these hazards. Helon and I hiked up through the bowl to photograph these hazards and to install the trail closure signs above treeline. Along the way I was able to gain enough elevation to look closely at the Lip and Headwall area and came to the conclusion that the closure is completely warranted. At first glance from Hermit Lake, it seems that a good skier could bob and weave between the slots, which frankly seemed pretty narrow. As I can elevation on the hike up Right Gully I was able to look into the slots and see that they were both wider and deeper than I thought. Also, as I climbed the sheer volume of ice still clinging to the Headwall and nooked into the corner in Sluice was surprising. From our perspective in Right Gully and later Lion Head you could see that the ice was crisscrossed with large cracks and grooves from meltwater flowing through. Sadly, the crevassed terrain which could serve as a fun climb, technical and risky ski descent or training ground for those venturing to glaciated peaks is directly in the fall line of these deadly blocks of ice. Please respect the closure and head over to Left Gully or Hillman’s Highway which are much less threatened by these objective hazards. I would still stay heads up about potential loose rocks tumbling down the slope. The receding snowline at the tops of all the gullys is exposing piles of rocks and boulders so watch your footing if you top out above the snow line.

The weather forecast is going to make for a challenging go-no go decision this weekend. Though unsettled weather and possibly some thunderstorms is on tap for Saturday, it doesn’t seem like a complete washout. I’d get an update on the forecast first thing in the morning before committing. Sunday looks like a much better weather day for spring corn harvesting. Speaking of which, the snow looked like a nice supportable peel away corn after all the recent melting and a couple of refreezing nights. Unfortunately, the number of slopes and gullies is disappearing rapidly. Helon and I posted a bunch of pictures on Flickr, click on the photo link in the menu above and check them out and we’ll see you on the hill if you decide to head up. Remember that the winter Lion Head trail is now closed as is, the Tuckerman Ravine trail through the Ravine.

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine, Friday May 15, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine until complete melt out in early summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new General Advisory (GA) will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the Ravine has melted considerably over the last couple weeks. Crevasses and icefall are at their peak threat right now. A warm front is moving into the mountains which will produce mountain fog Friday night and rain showers on and off through the day on Saturday. Weather conditions are expected to improve on Sunday.  Be sure to get the latest weather forecast before heading uphill.

AS OF SATURDAY MAY 16TH A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL WILL BE CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

ATTENTION AUX RANDONNEURS! SAMEDI, MAI 16TH. Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS IN TUCKERMAN RAVINE:

  • FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice hanging waiting to fall. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations; the most dangerous are in the Lip and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. It is most prominent in places where there is flowing water beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening can create very dense alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Snow surfaces become very hard and icy, making a slip, trip, or fall a very serious situation. Good terrain choices, as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. Travel in or near this area is not recommended. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. We will be closing this area Friday afternoon as we do annually discussed above.  The Tuckerman Ravine Summer Trail runs right through The Lip closing both simultaneously.

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.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2015-05-15 Print Friendly

General Advisory for Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A General Advisory for Tuckerman will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the bowl has melted considerably over the last couple weeks, exacerbating many of the springtime hazards while the snow stability has become very good. There appears to be a mix of weather conditions during the period of this advisory, including thunderstorms, mixed precipitation, freezing temperatures, and maybe even some sunshine. Be sure to get the latest weather forecast before heading uphill.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS IN TUCKERMAN RAVINE:

  • FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice hanging waiting to fall. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations; the most dangerous are in the Lip and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. It is most prominent in places where there is flowing water beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Snow surfaces become very hard and icy, making a slip, trip, or fall a very serious situation. Good terrain choices, as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. Travel in this area is not recommended. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. We expect to be closing this area and this section of the Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail through the ravine very soon. This is an annual closure due to the unique hazards posed to hikers and skiers. When the closure happens, we will let you know through signage and in the advisory.

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.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2015-05-12