Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Huntington Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and MODERATE avalanche danger. Central, Pinnacle, Odell and South Gullies have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely North, Damnation, Yale, and Escape Hatch have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Evaluate snow and terrain features carefully.

All forecast areas in Tuckerman Ravine have CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely. The Lower Snowfields and Little Headwall are not rated due to lack of snow.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Today’s avalanche problem will be Wind Slab. This will exist throughout the forecast period as snow and wind loading continue. This also includes wind slabs that developed from Monday’s snow. There is potential to step down into this layer, creating the possibility of some of the larger avalanches we have seen yet this season. With blowing snow creating limited visibility, getting eyes on start zones may be tough today, making it harder to travel safely through avalanche terrain.

WEATHER: Tuesday began with strong west winds that gusted to 90mph in the pre-dawn hours. By the end of the day, wind speeds calmed to 30mph and shifted to the SW. During this period of SW winds, 2.8” of snow was recorded on the summit. Through the night, winds picked back up to a current 60mph from the west. Hermit Lake recorded just under 1” of snow at the snow plot this morning. Today, expect up to another 2” of snow delivered on 35-60mph west winds. Tonight, we are looking at another trace to 2” on west winds increasing to 75mph.

SNOWPACK: As we often see with strong winds, the two ravines act dramatically differently. Time in Tuckerman yesterday revealed numerous crown lines, including one that runs from under the choke of the Chute over through Center Bowl. This crown was already filling back in with blowing snow continuously coming down over the headwall. No crown was visible in Hillman’s Highway, but both start zones are well-filled in and debris from a slide rested below the dogleg near the bottom. We are now loading another almost 3” from last night with the potential for another 2” today onto this. Today will be a heads up day in Tuckerman with potential for avalanches to extend to the floor of the ravine. Keep in mind, once past Connection Cache on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, you are in avalanche terrain.

Huntington was a different story yesterday. Winds scoured the northern gullies, leaving very little snow in place. The snowfield below the ice in Odell filled with debris from a slide likely overnight on Monday. South and Escape Hatch also grew substantially from Monday’s storm, with both start zones now becoming developed. The two areas of greatest hazard in Huntington looked to be the pillows below the ice in Central and Pinnacle, which were both smooth and now will grow larger with more snow today. I would expect today’s snow to bond better with the textured surface on the north wall than the smooth start zones of Escape Hatch through Central.

The Lion Head Summer Trail remains the better route to the summit. Remember that the bridge work continues on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail so use the detour on the Huntington Ravine Trail. Many people are using the Sherburne as an uphill route; please be on the lookout for these people as well as machinery that is using the Sherburne as the access to the construction site.

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 8:25 a.m., Wednesday, December 14, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Helon Hoffer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-12-14

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, December 13, 2016

All forecast areas of Huntington and Tuckerman Ravine have CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Dangerous avalanche conditions will exist today. Cautious route-finding and conservative decision making are essential. Little Headwall and Lower Snowfield are not forecast due to lack of snow.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Today’s avalanche problem will be Wind Slab created from yesterday’s storm and from today’s winds. Snowfields are rapidly growing past early-season size. In places, some forecast areas are becoming connected with others. Small avalanches are possible in many locations and the potential for large avalanches now exist in a few locations, particularly the area from the Chute over to the Lip. Runouts are filling in, but still contain a number of boulders and broken cliff bands that create further hazards. Cautious route-finding today should be at the front of your mind.

WEATHER: The summit of Mount Washington received 9.3″ of 9% snow yesterday. The bulk of the snow fell on light to moderate south winds that wrapped around to the west as the day progressed. As the wind shifted, wind speed increased through the prime snow transporting speeds, gusting to the mid-80mph range in the overnight hours. We may see periods of clearing skies today, but I would expect the steady W/NW winds to cause whiteout conditions for the majority of the day. A trace of new snow is called for today with up to another 2″ overnight. 

SNOWPACK: Before yesterday’s snowfall, our snowpack consisted of layers of windslab mixed with layers of graupel, all sitting on top of a melt-freeze crust. Natural avalanche activity prior to yesterday in several locations proved that these layers were reactive when loaded. The 9″ that fell yesterday arrived on shifting and increasing windspeeds. There was also a period around noon and again late in the evening where we saw heavily rimed snow falling. A natural avalanche was witnessed out of Dodge’s Drop yesterday morning. These factors, combined with other red flags, are all pointing to multiple unstable layers. Visibility is minimal this morning, but I would guess several forecast areas have seen at least one avalanche cycle and are loading up for a second if not already a third. Avalanches stepping down into the windslabs developed over the past week may be a possibility. Entering the floor of either ravine today puts you in avalanche terrain with multiple paths above. Dangerous avalanche conditions exist today. Conservative decision-making will be paramount.

The Lion Head Summer Trail remains the better route to the summit. We are keeping tabs on the development of the avalanche paths that threaten that trail and will switch to the using the winter route as snow continues to fill in things. Remember that the bridge work continues on the Tucks Trail so use the detour on the Huntington Ravine Trail. Some folks may opt to skin up the Sherburne so be on the lookout for them and for machinery when skiing or riding.

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 8:10 a.m., Tuesday, December 13, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Helon Hoffer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-12-13

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, December 12, 2016

Huntington Ravine has HIGH and CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Central, Pinnacle, and Odell Gullies have High avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are likely and human triggered avalanches are very likely. Very dangerous avalanche conditions exist. North, Damnation, Yale, South and Escape Hatch have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely.

Tuckerman Ravine has HIGH and CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Sluice, The Lip, Center Bowl, Chute and Left Gully have High avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are likely and human triggered avalanches are very likely. Travel in or below this terrain is not recommended. Lobster Claw, Right Gully, and Hillmans Highway have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely. The Lower Snowfields has Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible there. Little Headwall is not rated due to lack of snow and the amount of open water which remains unfrozen.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Wind Slabs will be the primary threat, especially later in the day as winds shift to the west and ramp up in velocity. Storm slabs will be a threat as well in steeper locations. Both of these threats will keep me out of the floor and, out of the runouts, of any steep, open terrain or gully today. Wind slabs this afternoon will create medium and large sized avalanches easily capable of burying you or sweeping you over cliffs.

WEATHER: About 4” of low density snow has fallen in Pinkham Notch as of 6:50 this morning. The caretaker at Hermit Lake reported 3” of 9% snow, mostly plates, on the board at 6:30am. It is currently snowing at a rate of about an inch per hour (S2). Winds on the summit are from the south and blowing in the 40 mph range. As the rate of snowfall diminishes mid-day, anticipate a quick shift in winds to the West where they will ramp up and quickly begin loading available snow into the Ravines on 50-70 mph winds. We appear to be on track to reach the 12” total snowfall which was forecast.

SNOWPACK: Heavily scoured areas consisting of a refrozen crust will serve as one of the bed surfaces for avalanche activity today. Mid storm and early storm layers will be the other. Avalanches may step down into pre-existing hard wind slabs as well. Those stubborn slabs are most likely not very well bonded to that melt-freeze crust in some areas so steeping down seems more likely than not. Lots of rocks, cliffs and bushes remain above or just beneath the surface but I wouldn’t count on them acting as anchors today. The Open Book and other features in the Lip and Center Bowl area remain unburied by blown in snow or avalanche debris and will break up the slope a bit and become terrain traps for avalanche debris. Crossing the Tucks Trail through the Lip would not be at all smart today, nor would being in the floor of Tuckerman Ravine. Expect Right Gully and Lobster Claw to quickly cross load and fill in more today. All in all it’s a good day stay at the resort or tour on low angle ski trails. Climbing in Huntington would be the last thing on my hit list.

The Lion Head Summer Trail remains the better route to the summit. We are keeping tabs on the development of the avalanche paths that threaten that trail and will switch to the using the winter route as snow continues to fill in things. Remember that the bridge work continues on the Tucks Trail so use the detour on the Huntington Ravine Trail. Some folks may opt to skin up the Sherburne so be on the lookout for them and for machinery when skiing or riding.

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 7:40 a.m., Monday, December 12, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-12-12

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, December 11, 2016

This advisory expires at Midnight tonight.

Huntington Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger. Central, Pinnacle, and Odell Gullies have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Evaluate snow and terrain features carefully. North, Damnation, Yale and South have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Escape Hatch is not rated due to a lack of snow.

Tuckerman Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger. The Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Evaluate snow and terrain features carefully to identify features of concern. Right Gully, Sluice, Left Gully and Hillmans Highway have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Lobster Claw, Little Headwall and Lower Snowfields are not rated due to lack of snow.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Currently, firm Wind Slab is the predominant avalanche problem in our terrain. The thickness of this slab varies greatly across the terrain and even within each gully or forecast zone. These firm slabs may be resting on top of softer snow in places. Where these slabs are thick (3’ or more) they are likely to be very stubborn and resist triggering. Where they are thinner, they become more easily triggered by your weight. Smaller and softer slabs built after the high winds Friday evening are also around the terrain in sheltered, lee pockets. These are smaller in size and distribution but could still cause problems if triggered.

WEATHER: Cold temperatures yesterday and last night did little to aid in the settlement of the snowpack. Strong winds early yesterday scoured a lot of terrain and packed snow into the previously mentioned firm slabs. Today will be the proverbial calm before the storm as a brief spell of high pressure allows for some clearing of summit fog. Temperatures will remain around 0F before rising into the teens later in the day and this evening. West winds 40-55 mph will slacken to the 25-40 mph range. Winds are calm in Pinkham Notch.  Anticipate elevated avalanche danger tomorrow due to 12 of new snow forecast for the higher summits.

SNOWPACK: You’ll find several surfaces to travel on in our terrain today. Heavily scoured areas consist of a refrozen crust of wet snow and rain from the late November thaw. Above this on areas not scoured by wind or avalanche activity, soft weak layers contain a mix of rimed particles and other fist hardness fragmented grains beneath the previously mentioned wind slabs. Lots of rocks, cliffs and bushes remain above or just beneath the surface. The Open Book and other features in the Lip and Center Bowl area remain unburied by blown in snow or avalanche debris.

The Lion Head summer trail remains the better route to the summit from the east. We are keeping tabs on the development of the avalanche paths that threaten that trail and will switch to the using the winter route as snow continues to fill things in. Remember that the bridge work continues on the Tucks Trail so use the detour on the Huntington Ravine trail. Some folks may opt to skin up the Sherburne ski trail so be on the lookout for them and for machinery when skiing or riding. The lower half of the Sherburne will be generally hard today with broken up ice from machine traffic and soft but very thin snow on the edges.

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 7:50 a.m., Sunday, December 11, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-12-11

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, December 10, 2016

This advisory expires at Midnight.

Huntington Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger. Central, Pinnacle, and Odell Gullies have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Evaluate snow and terrain features carefully. North, Damnation, Yale and South have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Escape Hatch is not rated due to a lack of snow.

 

Tuckerman Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger. Right Gully, Sluice, the Lip, Center Bowl, Chute, Left Gully and Hillmans Highway have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features exist. Evaluate snow and terrain features carefully to identify features of concern. Lobster Claw has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Little Headwall and Lower Snowfields are not rated due to lack of snow.

 

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: A natural avalanche with a crown approximately a meter high and 20m wide was reported around noon yesterday in the area of the left side of the Center Bowl and right of the Chute. The 6” of new snow which fell yesterday loaded into our terrain on strong W and WNW winds. Wind slabs reactive to human triggering remain scattered through our terrain. Larger snowfields, which have grown in size quite a bit over the past 10 days should be approached cautiously. Discontinuous slopes with lots of anchors showing could still harbor reactive wind slabs, just on a smaller scale. Lots of cliffs and boulders would do some damage if even a small pocket were triggered.

 

WEATHER: The coldest temperatures of the season so far will settle in for the day with a high temperature of -5F forecast for the summit. Northwest winds will die down a bit today. New wind loading will stop as well, not just due to the diminished velocity but also due to the fact little loose, new snow remains in place in the alpine zone to be carried. Current wind speeds in the 50 mph range will diminish further through the day ultimately blowing from the northwest at 35-50 mph.

 

SNOWPACK: Unfortunately, poor visibility has hampered our ability to gather more accurate visual info this morning. We are pretty confident in the low ratings of northern gullies in Huntington since wind speeds in the 90’s mph scour out snow. Other areas rated moderate contain wind slabs in a range of thicknesses which are also likely to be stubborn. That said, I would remain cautious and do lots of hand shears while traveling anywhere today. Steeper lee slopes may have greater instabilities due to the thickness of the wind slab along with the sensitive of weak snow beneath from last weeks lower density snow on light winds. These slabs are also perforated by many barely submerged boulders and terrain features. We’ve received 38” of snow so far this month with no significant melting events.

 

Remember that the bridge work continues on the Tucks Trail so use the detour on the Huntington Ravine trail. Some folks may opt to skin up the Sherburne trail so be on the lookout for them and for machinery on the ski trail.  Be on the lookout for construction debris at crossover number 7 around a mile down from Hermit Lake. Be sure to report any avalanche activity or snowpack observations through our observation link under the Resources tab above. Internet connections continue to be challenging so check posted advisories at slatboards.

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 8:30 a.m., Saturday, December 10, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-12-10

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, December 9, 2016

All forecast areas of Huntington and Tuckerman Ravine have CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Dangerous avalanche conditions will exist today. Cautious route-finding and conservative decision making are essential. Little Headwall and Lower Snowfield are not forecast due to lack of snow.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Strong winds are forming new wind slabs in many areas of our terrain today. In most areas these wind slabs will be particularly sensitive to human triggers. Expect some of the forecast areas with more advanced, larger bed surfaces to produce fairly large avalanches which could run into the lower angle terrain. Blowing snow will hamper visibility and make travel into or beneath any avalanche path a sketchy proposition.

WEATHER: Upsloping air rising over the Presidential Range and a cold frontal passage mark the weather today. Temperatures will drop through the day with snow showers producing up to 6” of lower density snow. Forecast wind speeds today (50-70 mph) will be prime for loading the new snow into our terrain. Ultimately the wind could reach into the 90’s mph which will scour out some of the northern gullies in Huntington and harden the wind slabs in Tuckerman. Sustained loading speeds will occur before that so expect peak potential avalanche activity to occur mid-day and into the evening.

SNOWPACK: Almost 2 feet of snow fell on the summit and in our wind fetch zone over the past week. The Bigelow Lawn and Alpine Garden areas, which form our fetch zone, are well filled in, flat, smooth refrozen slush and will not hold the snow in place. Wind will easily transport this snow to create new wind slabs. Initially moderate wind speeds transported this snow into our terrain, first on southwest winds which loaded the lookers left side of Tuckerman and many of the less bushy gullies in Huntington. The snow is surprisingly deep in many areas with climbers earlier in the week in thigh deep snow in pooled areas, mid-calf in others. The snow had a thin, sensitive wind skin with unreactive graupel layers scattered through the terrain last weekend with little opportunities to stabilize much through the week as several passing weather systems have generated light snowfall. I would expect the thin wind slab or mid-pack graupel layers to serve as the weak layer in a wind slab avalanche today.  Despite the disconnected bed surfaces in areas like the Lip and Center Bowl in Tucks, these avalanches are likely to be large enough to bury a person in the terrain traps that exist or to cause traumatic injuries due to the boulders and cliffs that are yet to be buried.

Remember that the bridge work continues on the Tucks Trail so use the detour on the Huntington Ravine trail. Some folks may opt to skin up the Sherburne trail so be on the lookout for them and for machinery on the ski trail.  Be on the lookout for construction debris at crossover number 7 around a mile down from Hermit Lake. It is marked but high winds and drifting could change that. Be sure to report any avalanche activity or snowpack observations through our observation link under the Resources tab above. Internet connections continue to be challenging so check posted advisories at slatboards.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin 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 or Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 9:15a.m., Friday, December 9, 2016. A new bulletin will be issued when warranted.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-12-09

General Bulletin for Wednesday, December 7, 2016

This bulletin will expire at 12:00 midnight on Friday, December 9, 2016.

General Bulletins are issued when isolated areas of unstable snow exist within our forecast areas. Forecasts using the 5-scale danger rating system will be issued when snowfields and bed surfaces develop further. Please remember that avalanches can occur before a 5-scale forecast is issued. A new General Bulletin will be issued if conditions warrant or within 72 hours.

Winter delivered 27.8″ of snow to the summit of Mount Washington since December 1. For comparison, last December the summit recorded 29″ over the entire month. Over the past two days, 7.5″ fell on NW winds averaging 34 mph.  Late on Sunday, winds diminished to the teens and swung to the south, eventually regaining strength and returning to NW, maxing out at 67 mph early on Tuesday, December 6.This shift in winds is evident in the current snowpack with multiple fist to finger hard layers under wind slabs which formed on lee slopes. Field work Tuesday showed lingering instabilities that make safe travel in our forecast area challenging at the moment. Snowfields are growing, but are still broken up by rock buttresses and ice floes in some areas. With the snowpack that currently exists, triggering a small pocket in either ravine would have dire consequences due to rocky and shrub filled runouts. Snowfields are currently the largest in Left Gully and the Chute in Tuckerman and North, Damnation, Yale, and Central in Huntington. Debris under Left and the Chute is clear evidence that avalanches can occur under a General Bulletin and that travelers should have their avalanche skills in hand when entering terrain.

Low pressure building from the Great Lakes will send a cold front toward New England over the next few days that should deliver another round of snow. Ten inches of new snow on the summit by Friday is forecast with conditions prime for upslope snow events. Winds will be starting today, Wednesday, SW 15-30 mph shifting to the W by nightfall. By Friday morning, we may see winds increasing to 70 mph, bringing us up to and through the prime speeds for loading slopes. As the Bigelow Lawn and Alpine Garden are well filled in right now, this smooth fetch will allow snow to blow into our forecast areas, creating an upside down windslab. These wind slabs will sit atop a buried layer of graupel that can be found on multiple aspects in both ravines.  Snowfields will continue to grow and will become capable of larger avalanches. Just a week ago, it still seemed like fall; now it’s looking like we’re moving quickly into full-blown winter.

Below Hermit Lake, travel is still affected by the construction taking place on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The trail remains closed for a section and it is recommended that hikers use the detour on the lower Huntington Ravine Trail and Raymond Path. For those skiing and riding the Sherburne, be prepared for variable conditions (powder, scoured old surface, open water bars, mud, and ruts and rocks turned up from the snowcat in operation for the construction crew.) Please be on the lookout for heavy equipment traveling to and from the construction site. Also be aware of the old bridge debris temporarily piled at the junction of the Sherburne and #7 Crossover.

Please Remember:
• Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin 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 7:30a.m. December 7, 2016. A new General Bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

Helon Hoffer/Frank Carus
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856

2016-12-07

General Bulletin for Sunday, December, 4, 2016

General Bulletins are issued when isolated areas of unstable snow exist within our forecast areas. Forecasts using the 5-scale danger rating system will be issued when snowfields and bed surfaces develop further. Please remember that avalanches can occur before a 5-scale forecast is issued. A new General Bulletin will be issued if conditions warrant or within 72 hours.
New snow measuring near 16” fell on the summit of Mount Washington on Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3, on prevailing westerly winds. Most of this recent snow appears to have remained on the softer side of the hardness scale. Beneath the new snow are pockets of hard, refrozen slush from previous rain and mixed precipitation events. Sizable isolated drifts and discontinuous deeper pockets of this new snow on 30 degree or steeper slopes should not be trusted. You will find areas of this new snow on and beneath many of the popular ice climbing routes. To complicate matters further, areas of pooled round, rimed particles (graupel) can also serve as weak layers in spots. Slabs below steeper sections of ice and cliffs, plus deep wind drifted areas, will make for challenging route-finding on any climb in either Ravine.
Currently, our terrain is broken up by many buttresses and ice cliffs and is not capable of producing large avalanches. However, smaller avalanches can certainly take you for a ride through this rocky terrain or bury you in a terrain trap. If you are planning to recreate in our forecast area, bring your avalanche rescue gear and your snowpack assessment skills!
The weather should be relatively calm today (Sunday) but remain foggy before clearing this afternoon. More moisture then enters the region from the south, bringing 3-6” more inches of snow with it to higher terrain on Monday. Winds will increase, so anticipate new wind slabs to develop.
The recent snowfall totals vary drastically by elevation with only 2-3” on a firm, crusty base on The John Sherburne Ski Trail. Due to recent warm weather and rain most water bars at every elevation contain flowing water. The upper half of the trail has better coverage but lots of barely submerged hazards exist. Watch for heavy machinery, snowmobiles and uphill ski traffic on the ski trail while the bridge on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is still underway. Use the Huntington Ravine trail detour to the Fire Road and head left, back to the Tucks Trail or the Raymond Path to Tucks Trail. Construction debris is piled near Crossover number 7 so be cautious when skiing or riding in the vicinity.

Please Remember:
• Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin 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 8:50a.m. December 4, 2016. A new General Bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2016-12-04

Hiring Update

USAJOBS is now accepting applications for the Lead Snow Ranger. This position would be year-round and act as the director of MWAC

This job includes, but is not limited to: avalanche forecasting, conducting search and rescue operations, promoting the district’s dispersed recreation program.

Applicants must have avalanche field experience demonstrating the knowledge to thoroughly comprehend, analyze, and apply factors affecting snow stability and avalanche potential to reduce public risk and increase employee safety.

For additional information about the duties of this position, please contact Justin Preisendorfer at 603-466-2713 ext. 1224 or at jpreisendorfer@fs.fed.us.

Applications will be accepted until midnight on Tuesday.