Submit Your Avalanche or Snowpack Observations

The website plugin that allowed observation submissions through our website hasn’t been functioning properly, leading to lots of confusing conversations with folks about information we never received. Some folks were submitting information through other channels like Instagram, Facebook messenger and occasionally through email at mwactucks@gmail.com. Thanks for those observations and please keep them coming. Recent observations are helpful to the community, and to us, for lots of reasons. The form and photo submission page on our website is again up and running in a simpler form. Don’t feel that you have to submit a super detailed observation that meets SWAG standards, though that is certainly welcome. Any information or photos, especially for natural or human-triggered avalanches, are really helpful. Click the Resources tab and slide down to the Submit Your Observations at the bottom of the list. Thanks, and have fun out there!

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, February 3, 2017

This advisory expires at Midnight.

Huntington Ravine has MODERATE avalanche danger today. All forecast areas in Huntington have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully to identify features of concern.

 Tuckerman Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and MODERATE avalanche danger today. Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute currently have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Lobster Claw, Right and Left Gullies, Hillmans Highway and Lower Snowfields have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible.  The only exception to this rating is the Little Headwall which has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely there. Open water and water ice remain exposed in the Little Headwall and the creek above. It is skiable but people have been occasionally punching through into water beneath.

Avalanche danger will be decreasing through the day as winds diminish and snow stabilizes over time.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Wind slabs which developed yesterday, and to a more limited extent overnight, will be your primary concern. Wind speeds and direction have been favorable for developing firmer wind slabs which fall well into the possible category on the scale of human-triggerability. You will likely encounter smaller softer slabs in wind protected pockets. Also, be on the lookout for firmer, more stubborn and larger slabs beneath steep pitches of ice. Due to diminishing wind speeds and not much snow available to be transported into our start zones, it is unlikely that we will see a natural avalanche today, but it remains possible for a skier or climber to be the added load that triggers a slab.

WEATHER: Another 1.2” of snow was recorded on the summit, with 1.5” at Hermit Lake, in the past 24 hours with peak snowfall occurring yesterday morning. During the day, winds shifted a bit to the WNW from the steady westerly direction of the past several days. These west winds were transporting snow from the previous 24 hour period when winds were lighter. This snow was primarily deposited into our strongest east facing aspects from our most loaded fetch zones in the alpine and cross-loaded into other aspects. Visibility will be challenged by summit fog down to Ravine elevations, though windows of clearing may open at times.

SNOWPACK: Multiple wind slab layers exist across our terrain without significant weak layers other than smooth interfaces marking wind shifts, subtle density or particle size changes. These wind slabs often prove to be pretty stubborn but due to their size and the uncertainty of their response to a human load, particularly on the steeper terrain, some of the travel advice associated with a considerable rating seems appropriate. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding and conservative decision making are essential. Field time yesterday occurred during peak snowfall and wind transport so gathering much useful data was limited to ruling out debris below the Lip and out into the floor. Pockets of soft slab were scattered around the terrain which is what you would expect under the prevailing conditions. In Huntington Ravine, Odell, South and Escape Hatch have well developed avalanche paths due to loading during several snowstorms this season with strong winds from the south. These gullies, plus Central and Pinnacle have a danger rating nudging into the higher end of the Moderate danger rating due to recent loading and potential size of the resulting avalanche. Be cautious when entering and travelling in these gullies.

Expect plenty of other climbers in the mountains this weekend and possibly today as the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest brings folks into the area to enjoy the festivities. Be aware of other parties above and below you in steep terrain.

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  8:20 a.m., Friday, February 3, 2017. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2017-02-03

 

Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, February 2, 2017

This advisory expires at Midnight.

Huntington Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and MODERATE avalanche danger today. Central, Pinnacle and Odell have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely. All other forecast areas in Huntington have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible.

 Tuckerman Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and MODERATE avalanche danger today. Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Lobster Claw, Right and Left Gullies, Hillmans Highway and Lower Snowfields have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible.  The only exception to this rating is the Little Headwall which has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely there. Open water and water ice remain exposed in the Little Headwall and the creek above. It is skiable but people have been occasionally punching through into water beneath.

 AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Wind slab avalanches will continue to be a problem. Recent wind speeds and available snow have been ripe for the growth of these slabs, especially in the strong lee areas of a westerly wind where larger slabs have developed. Anticipate smaller but still potentially dangerous areas of wind slabs in moderate rated areas with a highly variable snow surface from firm barely edge-able snow to softer drifts. Careful snowpack evaluation and cautious route finding are essential today.

WEATHER: The temperature is currently 3F on the summit and 18F at Hermit Lake. The summit recorded an inch and a half of new snow in the past 24 hours with blowing snow observed at most every hourly observation during the same time period. Predominately west winds in the 70 mph range with gusts near 80 mph have hampered visibility but reports indicate that there was plenty of snow in the alpine zone yesterday to continue the slab building process in the Ravines. These higher wind speeds have begun to diminish into the 40-55 mph range in the past few hours and will remain in that range through the day. The forecast shows a cold front approaching the region later in the afternoon and evening with increasing wind speeds and falling temperatures. Continued westerly wind will wring out moisture from the clouds today and bring up to 2” of upslope snow showers. Low visibility will continue through the day.

SNOWPACK: Variable density wind slabs exist throughout the terrain. Recent snow has generally been very low density and easily transported. These wind slabs have shown clean shears between layers with generally good bonding to the old, heavily rimed melt/freeze crust that developed over the sleet event on January 24/25. Though that crust is exposed near the tops of gullies, it has been well buried at mid and lower elevations. The sleet beneath this crust has spooked many by masquerading as a facet farm but those layers have not been a player in the several avalanches cycles since the sleet fell. Of primary concern are the multiple layers of wind slab that developed since. Within areas covered by a moderate rating today, new and reactive wind slab is most likely to be located on aspects with a NE or E component. If you choose to enter avalanche terrain today, continue to respect the loaded slopes above you and approach slopes cautiously since current conditions indicate the potential for natural activity to some degree. While wind speeds and loading will diminish a bit today, the possibility of human-triggered avalanches being on the larger side elevates our danger rating today.

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  8:20 a.m., Thursday, February 2, 2017. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2017-02-02

 

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, February 1, 2017

This advisory expires at midnight.

 

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 exist. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision making are essential. The only exception to this is Little Headwall which has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Wind Slab formed over the past few days and new wind slab will form today. Avalanche danger will increase today as winds increase and snow accumulates. The terrain above the ravines contain plenty of snow available for transport. This will start blowing into the Ravines as winds shift and increase today. Even if the snowfall today is at the lower end of the forecasted 2-4”, we will likely see widespread new wind slab due to wind transport. This will make for limited visibility which will hamper route-finding.

WEATHER: Late Monday night, winds shifted to the NW and blew close to 50mph for a short period. Tuesday was cold and clear with SW and W winds 15-30mph. Snow showers started last night and so far have produced a trace of new snow. The approaching clipper system has moisture to give and will drop somewhere between 2-4” of snow today. As the center of the system passes us, winds will calm for a brief period before shifting to the W and picking up in intensity to 60mph by dark. Tonight, temperatures will drop below 0F with W winds increasing to 75mph and another possible inch of snow.

SNOWPACK: Due to shifting winds and 4” of 5% density snow over the past 48 hours, the snow surface is variable and tough to read. The slight wind shift to NW 50mph for two hours Monday night moved much of the light density snow that fell on Sunday. This can now be found as firm slab, soft pockets, and scoured melt-freeze crust. Signs of slab avalanches from this wind shift were visible in the Lip vicinity of Tuckerman and below the ice bulge of Central in Huntington. Similar aspects to these like Sluice, Lip, and the snowfield below the ice in Pinnacle are of greatest concern at the moment. However, expect pockets of one-finger (1F) wind slab over four-finger to fist (4F-F) snow scattered around our terrain. While these pockets were resistant to human-triggers yesterday, new snow today may be the tipping point. The upside-down trend will continue as current winds from the SW at 40mph calm mid-morning and then shift to the W and increase to 60mph. With up to 4” of steady snowfall forecast, wind slab will likely form on many aspects. Mild winds since this past Saturday along with 5” of light density snow created deep soft slab that in many places are still clinging on to slopes. Be aware that even a small wind slab that releases today could entrain a significant amount of snow. The floor of both Ravines have many avalanche paths above that will be hard to see today and once there, you will be in the runout zone. Cautious route-finding will be key today.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open and the most direct route to the summit from the east side of the mountain. Please be on the lookout for machine traffic on the Sherburne.

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., Wednesday, February 1, 2017. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2017-02-01