General Bulletin for Wednesdat, November 14, 2018
This information was published 11/14/2018 at 7:00 AM.
These snowfields could produce consequential avalanches in many areas of steep terrain. Ice climbs are growing in size and pockets of unstable snow between ice pitches are notorious for causing problems. In addition to avalanche hazards, remember to take into account other early season hazards that exist in the terrain:
- Rocks, trees and bushes lurk in the snow and in the fall line. Skiing or sliding into obstacles can ruin your day or worse. New snow may just barely cover a season ending stump or boulder.
- Terrain traps and cliffs make burial and significant injury a real possibility, even if you are only swept off your feet by a small avalanche.
- Long sliding falls are a threat despite the appearance of new, soft snow on your approach. Wind can easily scour parts of your climb or hike down to a hard bed surface. What you thought would be a mellow snow climb can turn into something much more exciting. Don’t count on self-arrest to save you. Protect yourself with a rope and/or don’t fall.
- Recent, rapidly falling temperatures stress the outer surface of the ice and create brittle conditions. These same conditions can lead to ice dam formation where flowing water is trapped behind freshly formed ice. Be mindful of tool swings when you hear water and approach top outs.
The summer Lion Head Trail remains the safer east side route to the summit than the Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine Trails. Weather forecasts indicate that the Lion Head Winter Route may soon become a better alternative as snow fields grow and allow avalanches to threaten the summer trail. Be sure to ask about the switch or be prepared to travel in avalanche terrain on the summer trail.
Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This forecast 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.
Avalanche danger may change when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information contact the US Forest Service Snow Rangers, AMC visitor services staff at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or seasonally at the Harvard Cabin (generally December 1 through March 31). The Mount Washington Ski Patrol is also available on spring weekends.
Posted 11/14/2018 at 7:00 AM.
Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest