Avalanche Forecast Archives – 2017

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, December 31, 2017

Date: December 31, 2017
Variability in our upper snowpack keeps ratings at Moderate for much of the terrain today, with wind slab continuing as our primary concern. We expect greatest instability in the smooth slabs commonly existing between ½ and ¾ of the way up much of our terrain. Our upper start zones are largely wind hammered to a firm and textured snow surface which would be hard pressed to produce an avalanche. Thin areas of the softest and smoothest pockets of wind slab have the greatest potential to produce a human triggered avalanche today. Low rated areas will tend to offer more options to avoid today’s avalanche problem. Don’t become complacent due to firm feeling snow. Dig and probe before committing to travel on wind slabs.

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, December 30, 2017

Date: December 30, 2017
Firm and generally stubborn wind slabs are the primary avalanche problem today. These firm slabs will have good bridging strength in lots of areas but realize that thin spots, convexities and other trigger points may still be lurking.  Evaluate snow and terrain carefully as you move around the terrain today. Recent avalanche activity in much of our terrain has swept out the ice crust built from the rain event last weekend but lower angled areas which didn’t avalanche may still hold this potentially problematic layer. You’ll find firm (1F) but mostly smooth slabs in most of our terrain that hasn’t seen the scouring or sastrugi building action of the wind near the ridgetops. Low rated areas have fewer areas of concern and provide more terrain opportunities to avoid them.

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, December 29, 2017

Date: December 29, 2017
Firm and relatively stubborn to trigger wind slabs that exist over much of our terrain are our primary avalanche problem today. Realize that this layer will be easiest to trigger in thinner and/or softer areas, which is difficult to visually discern when route finding. Today remains a low probability, high consequence risk situation for a number of reasons. Bitterly cold weather will complicate any problem and a number of our avalanche paths continue to have nasty runouts. Continue to realistically consider “what if” scenarios in your travel planning.

Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, December 28, 2017

Date: December 28, 2017
This advisory expires at Midnight. Huntington and Tuckerman Ravine have MODERATE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible in all forecast areas. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully. Lower Snowfields and Little Headwall in Tuckerman have Low avalanche danger due to lack of a developed snowpack. Watch for unstable snow on isolated […]

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Date: December 27, 2017
Sustained 60 mph westerly wind continued to load new snow into our avalanche start zones yesterday and will likely continue to do so today as they are now. Expect a mix of densities in these slabs from finger hard and stubborn to four finger and more sensitive to triggering. Considerable rated areas have a history of prolonged wind loading due to available snow in a W or NW wind so remain elevated today. Natural avalanches are a little more unlikely than possible but careful assessment and snowpack evaluation would be required to confirm. Our slopes continue to grow in area, creating the opportunity for larger avalanches. If you plan to brave the cold today to climb or ride in the Ravines, bring your A game.

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Date: December 26, 2017
Huntington and Tuckerman Ravines have CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding, and conservative decision making are essential. Lower Snowfields, and Little Headwall in Tuckerman are the exception with Moderate avalanche danger due to a less developed snowpack. Natural avalanches […]

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, December 25, 2017

Date: December 25, 2017
Huntington Ravine has HIGH and CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Central, Pinnacle, Odell, and South Gullies will reach High avalanche danger. Natural avalanches likely and human triggered avalanches very likely. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. All other areas in Huntington will reach Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. […]

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, December 24, 2017

Date: December 24, 2017
A breakable freezing rain crust of 1-2 cm thickness is our primary surface from the lower mountain up to the floor of the ravines. We believe that this crust is pervasive through our upper terrain, though visibility limits our current ability to confirm this. Beneath this crust formed yesterday afternoon much of our terrain will hold the comparatively dry snow that fell prior to crust formation. This snow will vary in thickness from several inches to more than a foot. Though you would be hard pressed to trigger an avalanche today in this snow it will likely be a player in tomorrow’s avalanches. The significant snow and wind coming Monday could produce avalanches on this crust that would ultimately break it apart and entrain the soft snow below.

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, December 23, 2017

Date: December 23, 2017
Huntington and Tuckerman Ravine have CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. All forecast areas have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Dangerous avalanche conditions exist. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential. Lower Snowfields and Little Headwall in Tuckerman have Low avalanche danger due to lack of a developed snowpack. […]

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, December 22, 2017

Date: December 22, 2017
3-5” of new snow will likely be blown into relatively thin but potentially reactive wind slabs in areas lee of a light southeast wind. Additionally, anticipate dry loose avalanches or sluffing from steep terrain. This will build piles of sluff debris which behave as a wind slab. Both of these problems will develop later in the day. The size and ease of triggering of these avalanches is highly dependent on localized wind speed and direction. Summit wind speeds are generally much higher than those in our start zones so assess conditions carefully through the day. The likelihood and size of a natural or human-triggered avalanche will increase through the day and push the avalanche danger up, especially after dark as snow continues.

Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, December 21, 2017

Date: December 21, 2017
Wind slab remains the primary avalanche problem. The 10” of snow that has fallen in the past two days has been moved into our terrain and created a mix of stability ranging from fair to good. Some of these slabs are thick and would result in an avalanche large enough to carry and bury you. Beware of smooth pillows of wind slab beneath steep features and in the most sheltered lee terrain. Mixed in the more recent wind slabs are layers of heavily rimed snow grains which tend to be slow to bond and stabilize. Wind loading is continuing this morning and is a player in areas with elevated danger.

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Date: December 20, 2017
It’s full on winter, complete with a dynamic snowpack. While paths like Lobster Claw lack snowpack development, others have already seen multiple natural or human triggered avalanches. Today’s avalanche problem compounds yesterday’s similar density wind slab, giving us at least two distinct layers that seem to be behaving independently above the older firmer snow. In addition to slab characteristics driven by wind transport and deposition, look for cohesion and density that was driven by varying temperatures and particle forms over the past 48 hours. In particular, we observed a reactive though relatively thin layer of rimed new snow particles at the surface around midday yesterday, which has the potential to be overlaid with new wind slab. While difficult to call any potential avalanche today truly “large”, avalanches to the full extent of current path development are likely.

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Date: December 19, 2017
This advisory expires at Midnight. Huntington and Tuckerman Ravines have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding, and conservative decision making are essential. The only exception to this rating is the Little Headwall, which still lacks significant snowpack development. It is rated Low […]

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, December 18, 2017

Date: December 18, 2017
Yesterday’s clear skies and moderate NW wind are giving way to the first in a series of fast moving winter storms impacting our area this week. Today, summit temperature will climb to around 20F as an inch or more of snow falls on 30 mph W wind possibly increasing to 50 mph by tonight. Snowfall totals and timing forecasts for today vary. We may see 6” by tomorrow morning with the bulk of the snow falling after dark. Watch for an outside chance of that heavier snowfall arriving before the end of the day. Snowfall will taper though continue in light amounts as W wind increases towards the century mark tomorrow.

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, December 17, 2017

Date: December 17, 2017
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 carefully. North, Damnation, Yale, South and Escape Hatch have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Tuckerman Ravine […]

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, December 16, 2017

Date: December 16, 2017
The past week has dramatically changed conditions, bringing significant snow and plenty of wind to move it around. Many of our avalanche paths have transitioned from a mess of ice and rock to full snow coverage. Wind approaching 100 mph earlier in the week has left firm and stubborn wind slab in most of these areas. This slab, and pockets of softer snow, lie above a varied surface of snow, ice, rock, and vegetation. If you’re digging into the snow today, remember that the variable nature of our snowpack will limit your ability generalize observations across the terrain. One pit might reveal new wind slab on bushes, while another might show the same slab on a smooth bed surface. As mentioned above, remember that many of our avalanche paths are just barely developed, and rocky consequences of a fall or avalanche capture are present in many locations. It’s still early season snow coverage.

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, December 15, 2017

Date: December 15, 2017
High wind continued to move a bit of snow around yesterday and last night further loading existing slabs and reloading paths that avalanched on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is likely that most of these slabs will be stubborn but keep your guard up if you are venturing into steep terrain. Continued cold temperatures aren’t helping stability improve and it may even be worth considering early facet development deeper in the snowpack. Avoid or stay above smooth areas of wind slab and consider your runout. Even a small avalanche could surprise you or sweep you off of your feet.

Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, December 14, 2017

Date: December 14, 2017
In short, it is a mixed bag of wind slab densities and distribution out there, so bring your A game if venturing out. Avoid large, smooth pillows and smooth, steep slopes that you may find until you can safely make an assessment of stability. Cracking and hollow sounding areas should be avoided until these slabs gain more stability. Additionally, be aware that some slopes may be further stressed by loading from wind deposited snow later this afternoon.

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Date: December 13, 2017
slabs will grow throughout the forecast period as wind loading moves 4-6” new snow falling today, along with the 16” that fell yesterday. Natural avalanches will become more likely through the day as new slabs build over yesterdays low density snow. Areas with a high rating have more well developed bed surfaces from early season snowfall. All slabs are likely to be sensitive to a human-trigger as well. This type of avalanche could break above you either naturally or with you as a trigger. Combined with rocky, early season snow coverage, getting involved in any avalanche will likely lead to injury or worse. 

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Date: December 12, 2017
This advisory expires at Midnight. Huntington and Tuckerman Ravines have Considerable avalanche danger today. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making are essential. The only exceptions to this rating are the Little Headwall and Lower Snowfields in Tuckerman Ravine due to lesser development of […]

General Bulletin for Saturday, December 9, 2017

Date: December 9, 2017
General Bulletins are issued when isolated areas of unstable snow exist within our forecast areas. A general bulletin will be in effect until conditions warrant a shift to daily 5 scale avalanche advisories. Please remember that avalanches can occur before 5-scale avalanche forecasts are issued. A new General Bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant […]

Mountain Safety Information

Date: December 8, 2017
Cold temperatures, snow and mixed precipitation have created winter hazards on the mountain. A brief period of rain and above freezing temperatures earlier this week, followed by a refreeze, created firm conditions on our existing snow slopes. In the past 24 hours, a few inches of snowfall combined with west winds will have thinly covered much of this firm snow. Our terrain is still largely dominated by rock and ice, but travelers should be aware of avalanche potential on snow slopes. Be prepared for quickly changing winter conditions if recreating on the mountain.

Mountain Safety Information

Date: December 1, 2017
This is an informational bulletin and does not expire. A new bulletin will be posted when conditions warrant or be replaced by a General Bulletin or Avalanche Advisory. Cold temperatures, snow and mixed precipitation have created winter hazards on the mountain. Our forecast area contains some smooth snow surfaces where an avalanche could occur. While […]

Early season conditions

Date: November 24, 2017
Winter on the Rockpile has had a difficult time getting established. A few hardy and eager parties have stormed the castle but, generally, conditions have been “wet” for climbers and “organic stone grind” for the skiers. I wish I could report cold and snow in the forecast this weekend but it looks like the mercury is going to climb above freezing again today and tomorrow, returning to where it was just 6 days ago. That’s not to say that you won’t find winter like conditions on your next adventure to the alpine in the near future, but don’t count on deep snow. The summit has recorded only 27” of snow this month, following only 3.5” in October. That month saw average temperatures 9F above normal on the mountain with 11 climate sites in New England recording the warmest October on record! All the warm days with cold nights have created lots of ice on trails, on the Headwall, along with the shady gullies of Huntington so remember to bring your microspikes and remember that the Tuckerman Ravine trail gets pretty sketchy when as the ice grows across the trail above the Headwall. Unless you are armed for mountaineering with crampons, consider the summer Lion Head Trail a safer alternative.

Risk and reward

Date: November 5, 2017
  I’d love for this post, just days before the 7th Annual Snow and Avalanche Workshop, to be an avalanche advisory. Heck, I’d be content with a General Bulletin warning of potentially unstable pockets of snow. But the reality is that the weather, and the climate, sets the stage for mountain travel conditions and the […]

General Bulletin for Tuckerman Ravine

Date: May 29, 2017
This is the final bulletin issued by the Mount Washington Avalanche Center for the 2016-17 season. This will remain in effect until complete melt out. Travel in the backcountry requires careful snow evaluation and mountain sense. Hazards due to snow and ice will persist until it is all gone. Snowstorms on Mount Washington in June may be uncommon, but are not unheard of. If venturing into the mountains, be sure to use all available resources to help plan your trip and make safe travel decisions.

General Bulletin for Saturday, May 27, 2017

Date: May 27, 2017
A General Bulletin 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. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

As high pressure builds over New England on Saturday, skies should clear as the day progresses. An inversion may keep clouds over mid-elevations with a slight chance of precipitation, but this should be limited to the morning. Sunday will see clearer skies overall with temperatures reaching close to the 50sF. A system arriving Sunday night will likely bring rain on Memorial Day.

General Bulletin for Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Date: May 24, 2017
This bulletin will expire at Midnight on Friday, May 26, 2017. A General Bulletin 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. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine. The high pressure […]

General Bulletin for Monday, May 22, 2017

Date: May 22, 2017
The summer Lion Head Trail is now open and is the preferred route to the Summit from Pinkham Notch. A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in the Bowl is closed to all use. This section is from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and is due to the severe consequences of a fall in this area. Only this section is closed. Hiking or skiing in the vicinity of the closed trail, including the Lip, is not permitted. 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.