Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, May 7, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Continue to manage your sluff when above terrain hazards like cliffs and crevasses. Overall, snow stability is very good but other springtime hazards are growing like wildfire.

FALLING ICE: The threat of falling ice remains high today. Massive blocks still sit on the center headwall cliffs and in the Sluice, directly above Lunch Rocks. We recommend reducing time spent in areas with ice above. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Many people have been seriously injured or killed from falling ice.

CREVASSES: The threat of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, but other locations may have cracks opening up as well. Some of these are wide enough to fall into and they are probably much deeper than you think due to the turn downslope that they make at the bottom. The largest concentration of these slots in Lip and Sluice is best avoided, especially when traveling on foot.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard develops where the snowpack has a stream of meltwater running beneath. Typical areas include Hillman’s Highway, Right Gully, and Lobster Claw, but in general, areas where you might expect the largest volume of water will create the most undermining and a thin snow bridge above. A near miss occurred yesterday when a skier fell head first into a hole while exiting the bowl towards the Little Headwall.  He disappeared under the snow and was rescued from certain drowning or hypothermia at the last moment by someone passing by. Give a wide berth to holes in the snowpack!

The Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. Many people try to find their way toward the Lower Snowfields in hopes of keeping their skis on as long as possible. While it may be possible to do this, it is not easy nor without hazards. We recommend walking down the trail to Hermit Lake from the floor of the Ravine. From there, the Sherburne Ski Trail is open for skiing to the uppermost crossover. There you will need to walk the Tuckerman Ravine Trail back down to Pinkham Notch.

WEATHER: Summit temperatures will push into the high 40’s again today with some high clouds to break up the monotony. Winds may be blustery to start the day, especially above treeline, but will diminish later. Looks like the spell of nice weather will continue through tomorrow with a threat of thunderstorms over the weekend as unsettled weather develops in the wake of the departing high.

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 the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:00 a.m., Thursday, May 7, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-07 print friendly

Water Immersion Little Headwall

A group of three was descending the streambed between the bowl and the Little Headwall. One snowboarder was unable to avoid an open hole in the snowpack. He fell into the water with his snowboard still attached to his feet. His friends were able to quickly extend a ski pole to him. Despite being pulled by the force of rushing icy water, he was able to hold his position for several minutes. Eventually, he was unable to either be pulled up or hold on, and he was dragged underneath a snow bridge. Meanwhile, other bystanders had come along. One had entered the water on the downhill side and worked at freeing the snowboarder from that end. After a couple minutes, the snowboarder was pulled free from under the snow bridge.

He was hypothermic when extricated, with a diminished level of consciousness. His friends and bystanders worked to remove him from his soaked clothes and begin the rewarming process. AMC employees arrived on scene after he had been pulled from the water. By the time Snow Rangers arrived, his level of consciousness had improved and he was able to stand up under his own power. The snowboarder was able to walk himself down to the parking lot (with borrowed dry clothes.)

Each season, we try our best to inform skiers and snowboarders of the hazards related to riding the streambed. In this case, we had stopped recommending this as a descent route three days prior. The victim and his group stated that they were aware of the hazard presented by undermined snow. In this case, the group was very unlucky in that one fell into the water, but they were also very lucky that he came out of the situation alive. Many others had skied or ridden the slope in the days before this incident, long after the conditions had deteriorated beyond a safe level. Most of these people are unaware of how close they might have been to a similar incident, so in that respect, we see a big difference between this group and all the groups that do the same thing without consequence – at least this group now fully understands the risk involved.

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Snow stability will remain very good today. You’ll need to pay attention to other hazards today in order to play it safe.

FALLING ICE: The threat of falling ice remains high today. Massive blocks still sit on the center headwall cliffs and above Lunch Rocks, in the Sluice. We do not recommend spending time beneath areas with ice overhead. Many people have been seriously injured or killed in the past from falling ice.

CREVASSES: The threat of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, other locations may have cracks opening up as well. Some of these are deep and wide, so a 200lb human with skis or a board who happens upon the wrong spot might easily fall into the depths of the snowpack. While it can be very easy to fall in, getting out is going to be a whole lot more challenging, even if you are uninjured from the fall. Your best bet is to avoid areas with the greatest crevasse hazards such as the Lip and the bootpack ascending this route.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard is a problem where the snowpack has a stream of meltwater running underneath it. Typical areas include Hillman’s Highway, Right Gully, and Lobster Claw, although you will also face significantly undermined areas if you attempt to ride down the streambed in the direction of the Little Headwall.

The Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. Many people try to find their way toward the Lower Snowfields in hopes of not taking their skis off any earlier than necessary. While it may be possible to do this, it is not easy nor without hazards. You will find it much quicker and enjoyable to remove your skis at the bottom of your run and walk the hiking trail down to Hermit Lake. From there, the Sherburne Ski Trail is open to the uppermost crossover. You’ll need to walk the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from there down to Pinkham. Yes, it’s that time of year when you might as well just pack up your skis for the day at the floor of Tuckerman.

WEATHER: Yawn. Can winter come back soon, please? This stretch of warm sunny weather is growing old already. Overnight low temperatures have not been below freezing for several days at the ravine elevations and below. Today will be another warm day, well above freezing in the ravine. Don’t expect the clouds to shade your eyes or block the UV rays. Bring your helmet with visor, sunglasses, and heavy duty sunscreen.

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 the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 6, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-06

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on isolated terrain features. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: The snow stability is generally very good at this time. Avalanches are a lesser concern than other hazards that you will need to pay attention to if traveling in Tuckerman Ravine. Looking at the water flowing down the waterfall adjacent to the Lip, I can’t help but wonder about the potential for a wet slab avalanche. Currently it appears as though the water is draining well and the chances of a wet avalanche remain unlikely. However, unusual events do happen. On April 19, 2013, a chunk of ice plugged the drainage channel and unexpectedly triggered a wet slab. The pre-existing conditions then were not all that different from what we have today, but historically, these events have been rare. I am keeping the rating today at Low danger, but remember that you are the one responsible for the decisions for where you travel, and our standing recommendation is to treat avalanche terrain with respect, even when danger is low.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: The Great Mt. Washington Melt-out has begun in earnest. The prolonged melting is bringing the usual springtime hazards to the forefront. These include:

FALLING ICE – There is still an incredible amount of ice in the Sluice and Center Bowl area. You do not want to be below these locations when the ice breaks off. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Reduce your time spent in Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl and you will reduce your risk of injury or death due to this hazard.

CREVASSES AND UNDERMINED SNOW – The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip and Sluice area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses above longer slopes. These glide cracks are getting larger by the day as the huge mass of snow melts and creeps downhill. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to reduce the risk of a fall into one of these holes. Aside from the prominent stream under the Lip area, most gullies in Tuckerman also have running water under the snow. Through the years we have seen the most incidents of people punching through into these smaller streams in Hillman’s, the Sluice, and Right Gully.

 WEATHER: Today will be another warm day on the mountain. Last night temperatures did not fall below freezing for most of the mountain, additionally, there was a warm front that passed through late last night bringing 0.19″ of rain to the summit. Fog appears to be burning off already, which will allow sunshine to hasten the melting process today. This is all creating a lot of melt water and saturated snow.

For all practical purposes, the Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. The best descent alternative is to hike back down to Hermit Lake, where you can choose to rejoin the John Sherburne ski trail. The Sherburne trail is disintegrating rapidly and is currently closed at the #7 crossover, 2 miles up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 8:45 a.m., Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-05

Avalanche Advisory for May 4, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on isolated terrain features. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

 AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Relatively slow moving but dense and heavy Wet Loose avalanches will flow from steep terrain today. These slides can be dangerous if they push you into a terrain trap, crevasse or over a cliff. A lot of loose surface snow was cleaned off of our forecast areas yesterday but warm temperatures last night and baking temperatures today will loosen the surface snow and set the stage for more sluffing.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: It is next to impossible to predict but really easy to mitigate the risk of icefall in Tuckerman Ravine. Reduce your time spent beneath frozen waterfalls in Lunch Rocks, Center Bowl and elsewhere and you will reduce your risk of injury or death due to this hazard. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Beware of crevasses and undermined snow. The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip and Sluice area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses above longer slopes. These glide cracks are getting larger by the day as the huge mass of snow melts and creeps downhill. The main waterfall beside the Lip is also growing rapidly which is a sure sign that the channel beneath the slope growing and melting the snow above. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to reduce the risk of a fall into one of these holes.

 WEATHER and SNOWPACK: Sunshine and warm temperatures will turn slopes to mush and saturate the snowpack with water today. Temperatures will hit 50F (10C) on the summit with breezy and increasing winds and gathering clouds in the afternoon as a cold front approaches. Soft conditions are setting the stage for further erosion of the snowpack as sluff channels develop from flowing wet, loose snow and moguls develop on heavily trafficked slopes. Today’s soft snow will once again create ideal conditions for various lower leg musculoskeletal injuries. Don’t forget to develop a preplan for handling an emergency and step up to help others if necessary. It is remarkable how fast a warm, bluebird day can turn on you when you are lying in the snow unable to walk the 3.5 miles to the road.

The Little Headwall has open holes over the waterfall and undermined snow in the drainage above and below. It was virtually unrideable on Sunday and is easily assessed on the hiking trail from Hermit Lake. A better descent alternative is to hike back down to Hermit Lake and rejoin the John Sherburne ski trail there. The trail is disintegrating rapidly and is currently closed at the #7 crossover, 2 miles up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:30 a.m., Monday, May 4, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-04 print friendly

Injured Skier Lunch Rocks

USFS and MWVSP responded to an injured skier being transported from the base of Lunch Rocks sitting on a snowboard provided by volunteers who were sitting at Lunch Rocks. Bystanders were directed to continue to transport the subject to a location away from ice fall hazard. Patient had fallen without binding release and sustained a lower leg injury. USFS and an AMC Caretaker assisted the patient to Hermit Lake where he was transferred to a litter and snowmobile drawn sled. Patient was driven to the Tuck trail/Fire Road junction where transport to PNVC continued with the assistance of two climbers descending from Pinnacle Gully.

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, May 3, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on isolated terrain features. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: We have built strength due to settling, consolidation, and skier compaction from 2000 people on Saturday.  Some steep untracked slopes could still produce dense and heavy skier induced Wet Loose sluff avalanches today, but these should be minimal. A number of these occurred yesterday until slopes were fully tracked. These slides can be dangerous if they push you into a terrain trap or over cliffs so use sluff management techniques and have a preplan. Think about this if going to other less used Ravines and Gulfs. There is a remote possibility of a Wet Slab avalanche in the coming days with intense heating, around the clock melting and percolating of freewater deep into the snowpack hunting for an impermeable layer to lubricate.  This may be exacerbated by afternoon thunderstorm potential through tomorrow.  We will trend away from this Wet Slab potential in several days. Stay tuned.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: ICEFALL IS OUR PRIMARY HAZARD TODAY. It is next to impossible to predict, but really easy to mitigate the risk of icefall in Tuckerman Ravine.  Avoid hanging out under the most probable fall lines from the Center Headwall and the Sluice and the risk of injury or fatality diminishes greatly.  LUNCH ROCKS IS A DANGEROUS PLACE TO SIT AND IS NOT RECOMMENDED. Of all places, although traditional, this place gets hit with a lot of ice and has the distinction of producing the most icefall injuries in the Ravine. A set of rocks further away would be better for setting up as your base for the day.  Hot sun today will continue weakening large automobile sized chunks.  I would not want to be beneath the Sluice or Center Bowl ice when either loses the battle with gravity.

Be aware of crevasses hidden beneath wet and weak snow bridges. The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses.  These will grow today, and all week, with warm temperatures and round-the-clock melting. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to eliminate the risk of a fall into one of these slots. Just because other people are skiing somewhere it doesn’t mean it is a safe, hazard free area.  As an example, the most heavily used Lip has more hazards than other gently used locations areas like the Lobster Claw, Right Gully, Left Gully and Hillman’s Highway.

WEATHER and SNOWPACK: Today an increasing cloud trend will occur with the potential for afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  Temperatures will shoot up into the upper forties on the summit and is already there at mid-elevation on the mountain.  These factors will continue to produce heavy, slushy riding conditions. I would not want to be caught above treeline during a lightning event, especially with a saturated snowpack.

The Little Headwall has open holes of water undermined snow, and has become more hazardous over the past 24 hours. Collapsing around open holes occurred overnight evidenced by some cracks visible this morning. Based on this continued decay we can no longer recommend a ski descent and believe the walk out is a vastly safer option. The John Sherburne ski trail is disintegrating rapidly and the majority is currently closed.  At the rope, please avoid a slippery and muddy descent down the ski trail and cross to the hiking trail to walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 8:15 a.m., Sunday, May 3, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-03 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, May 2, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on isolated terrain features. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

 AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Relatively slow moving but dense and heavy Wet Loose avalanches will flow from steep untracked terrain today. These slides can be dangerous if they push you into a terrain trap or over cliffs. There is a remote possibility of a Wet Slab avalanche from Sluice or Center Bowl/Lip area as heat penetrates further into recent new snow or if the waterfalls begin to run between and lubricate deeper layers. Due to the risk of both types of avalanches plus the potential for falling ice, Lunch Rocks and the floor of the Ravine, close to the base of the Headwall, are not safe places to hang out. Reduce your exposure to these threats by gathering well away from the fall line of these areas. Wet debris has virtually no pore space for air to flow through. People have died under just a few inches of this type of debris so consider this when evaluating these seemingly benign threats.

 OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: Be aware of crevasses hidden underneath the recent snow. The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses above longer slopes. These glide cracks are getting larger as the huge mass of snow moves downhill. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to eliminate the risk of a fall into one of these slots. It is next to impossible to predict but really easy to mitigate the risk of icefall in Tuckerman Ravine. I’ve watched with curiosity over the past several weeks as the 30 foot high pillar of ice on the roadcut on Rt. 16 as it delaminated from the cliff then slowly leaned to one side. The big pile of ice on the ground yesterday morning was evidence that gravity finally won, as it always does. I would not want to be beneath Sluice or Center Bowl ice when either lose the battle with gravity.

WEATHER and SNOWPACK: Light winds and a high temperature in the mid 40’s F on the summit with some afternoon clouds and possible rain showers are on tap for today. These weather conditions will further saturate the upper snowpack and create heavy, slushy riding conditions. Slopes such as Hillman’s Highway, Left and Right Gully, have seen the most ski traffic and will be more raked off, providing easier conditions for making turns. The past two weeks brought a foot of snow which accumulated much more deeply in the strong lee areas such as Sluice through Chute. The upper right side of Left Gully also has a large area of wind-loaded mush as well. Plenty of loose, untracked snow exists so expect lots of sluffing today. People with water skiing or wake boarding skills will be most comfortable with the turns and speed required to manage this slushy snow.

The Little Headwall has open holes of water and undermined snow, but it continues to be a skiable option for descending from the Bowl. Use extreme caution if choosing this route. Another alternative is to hike down to Hermit Lake or to leave the Little Headwall at its top and thread your way through the trees towards the Lower Snowfields.  The John Sherburne ski trail is disintegrating rapidly.  It’s currently closed at the #5 crossover, 1 mile up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:00 a.m., Saturday, May 2, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-02 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, May 1st, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger. The Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible. Lobster Claw, Right Gully, Left Gully, Hillman’s Highway, the Lower Snowfields, and the Little Headwall have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely in these locations. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: We have been continuing a slow moving trend towards more snow stability with temperatures above freezing during the day and below at night. Our field time today will focus on deep digging to conclude how the expected warm up over the next few days will effect wet slab and deep wet slab potential. Deeper areas of the newest snow from earlier in the week are rated Moderate due to concerns that further heating today, coupled with a slight chance of precipitation, continues the remote potential for Wet Slab avalanches.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: Be aware of the potential for crevasses to be hidden underneath the recent snow and the potential for falling ice. These issues will grow in intensity over the next several days due to the expected warming trend.  Although crevasses have been limited, they will grow in number and size quickly in the coming days.  These slots have already grabbed some people this week.

WEATHER: Fourteen days in a row of new snow has kept visibility low and intermittent as well as some avalanche conditions lingering on Mount Washington.  As unsettled weather tries to push out today, a clearing trend is expected which will feel like hot weather compared to the winterish April that concluded yesterday.  The prolonged period of low pressure systems that have plagued the higher terrain should give way to clear skies over the next 24 hours.  A chance of mixed precipitation once again exists today with a mix of clouds and sun. Temperatures will be in the mid thirties with a N wind, falling into the 10 mph range from a current of 25mph.

SNOWPACK:  New snow from early in the week has gone through some nice consolidation and sintering due diurnal swings above and below freezing. Today’s warm up will do more of the same, but will start a long period of around the clock melting with no nightly freeze up likely.  This has us thinking about meltwater percolating deeper than it has yet, bringing heat, more melting, and weakening into the week old snow that is quite deep in places.  This may increase the chance of wet slab avalanche problems in several isolated areas.  Our field time today will focus on this question and hopefully answer some of the nagging concerns regarding, “what will happen when it really gets hot out?”  The greatest concerns linger from the Sluice through the Left Center Headwall, with the bullseye being in the steepest open terrain from the Lip to the Center Bowl.  Continue to consider this hazard and your risk exposure in your field decisions and travel choices.  We are hoping for clear sky conditions to get a number of pictures up later today and don’t forget to look for the Weekend Update this afternoon.  We will provide an update based on what our field time tells us today.

The Little Headwall has open holes of water and undermined snow, but it continues to be a skiable option for descending from the Bowl. Expect this to change rapidly and may not be a good option by mid-weekend! Use extreme caution if choosing this route. Another alternative is to hike down to Hermit Lake, although expect an icy trail making microspikes and ski poles handy.  The John Sherburne ski trail will disintegrate rapidly so expect to hike more as the days get warm and be pleasantly surprised if you get to ski.  It’s currently closed at the #5 crossover, 1 mile up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 8:15 a.m., Friday, May 1, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-01