Avalanche Advisory for January 25, 2013

Expires at Midnight 1-25-2013

Tuckerman Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger.  Sluice and the Lip have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely but human triggered avalanches are possible. The rest of forecast areas in Tuckerman Ravine have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Huntington Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features.

The thermometer sits at 5F (-15C) at Hermit Lake right now making it feel downright balmy after the previous two days of arctic cold which, fortunately, were days off for me. Yesterday afternoon, heavyweight winds in excess of 100+ mph (160+ kph) battered our remaining snow like a mismatched bantamweight sparring partner leaving the poor snow whimpering in the corner.  Most gullies in Huntington are scoured down to the old icy surfaces. Some areas in Tuckerman Ravine have pockets of fresh, reactive windslabs but mostly contain larger areas of rippled, wind hammered drifts.  The hard surfaces remaining in both Ravines would allow for relatively easy crampon travel but a falling climber would accelerate quickly on the older, hard refrozen base layer of snow. Focused route finding would allow a hearty climber to skirt the pockets of drum-like hard slab over much softer sugary ice crystals created by our extreme temperature gradients of the last 48 hours. And I use the term “hearty climbers” since gusty winds blowing 55-75mph (90-120kph) with higher gusts and cold temperatures (high of 0F, -18C) on the summit will definitely keep the cold challenge and risk level in the exciting range. Climbers setting their sights on Huntington climbs should bring their “A” game when it comes to rope management and quick transition times at the belay.   

Still, today is a decent climbing day with good visibility to allow for navigation and the micro-level route finding necessary to avoid those isolated areas of wind loaded snow.  A few notable areas to give a wide berth are the Lip and the expanse of snow below it, as well as the bowl-like feature beneath Sluice ice and above Lunch Rocks where the summer Tuckerman Ravine trail traverses left into the Lip.  

As mentioned over the past couple of days the old hard surfaces are still causing a traction problem in a number of locales. These old surfaces are camouflaged by newer snow in places and threaten skiers and climbers with long sliding falls.   

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 8:45a.m. 1-25-2013 A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2013-01-25 Print friendly