Snowpack and Avalanche Information for Monday, June 8, 2020

This information was published 06/08/2020 at 9:44 AM.


This is an archived avalanche forecast.

The Bottom Line

This is the final bulletin published by the Mount Washington Avalanche Center for the 2019-20 winter season. It will remain in effect until complete melt out.

Spring ski conditions remain in Tuckerman Ravine, despite the late date. Significant amounts of wind-loading through the winter and consistently below freezing temperatures have kept a significant amount of snow in east facing terrain.

Crevasses, undermined snow and deep waterfall holes in the Lip and Headwall areas prompted the annual closure of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, which is currently closed to all use. This closure will remain until the snow and ice melts off the trail below Sluice. Significant sections of steep snow and ice remain on the summer Lionhead Trail, which is the shortest route to the summit. 


As usual during most late spring seasons, the best ski options are Left Gully and Hillman’s Highway. These areas contain the most snow and the least hazard and are mostly full length. Lookout for the emergence of deep holes, especially in Hillman’s Highway, as the snow continues to melt due to flowing water beneath. Fortunately, the ice has fallen out of Sluice and no longer threatens Lunch Rocks though large blocks of snow and even boulders have been falling from steep areas of the Headwall. It’s probably best not to turn your back on these hazards, both literally and figuratively. You can find more information on the Lip closure and recent views of skiing options on YouTube. 

Keep the following hazards in mind as you venture into the backcountry:

Above treeline, much of the snow has melted. Please limit walking to durable surfaces like rocks or snow and ice to preserve the delicate and slow growing plant communities in the alpine. 

The closure of the east facing terrain on Mount Washington put in place in March has been rescinded and the parking lot is now open at Pinkham Notch. Please follow recommended guidelines in your state and the state of NH regarding travel, congregating in groups and social distancing. There is no camping anywhere in the Cutler River Drainage, which includes the shelters and tent sites at Hermit Lake. The winter toilets at Hermit Lake and the composting toilets at Pinkham are open though all other facilities, including the pack-up room and visitor center remain closed.

We’d like to thank the community for respecting the Closure Order and supporting MWAC through this challenging time. As snow rangers, enforcing terrain closures are the least liked part of the job. Your understanding and compliance has been appreciated. 

Please realize that volunteer rescue resources are currently limited due to concerns about community spread of the coronavirus. Snow rangers are no longer on site and law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues so be prepared to perform your own rescue.  Please seek out the AMC caretaker at Hermit Lake, or the new visitor information window at Pinkham Notch if you need assistance. Dial 911 for emergencies and be prepared to start your own rescue. It could be a long wait for rescue personnel to arrive so be prepared.

Mountain Weather

Thanks to the generous donations from the community, including USFS WMNF Hydrology and Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, the NWS in Gray, Maine, Andrew Drummond at Ski the Whites, and other supporters, our new automated weather station is online and reporting from Hermit Lake! Check it out at this link and add it to your bookmarks. This will be valuable information when the snow flies again. The NWS displays the hourly data for the summit going back 7 days here. These two tools are helpful for planning and critical avalanche forecasting tools in the winter.

Snow can fall every month of the year on Mount Washington.Wild swings in the weather are common. Plan accordingly for these changes by reading the weather forecast before you head out (MWObs Higher Summits and NWS Hourly forecast). 

One tool to help reduce the chance for unwelcome surprises is the hourly weather information produced by MWObs summit staff. The NWS displays the hourly data going back 7 days here

Additional Information

The alpine environment of the Presidential Range is home to plants that exist nowhere else in the world, in particular the area known as Monroe Flats. Bushwhacking from Lakes of the Clouds Hut to ski in Oakes Gulf takes you directly through the only non-transplanted home of Robbins Cinquefoil, a plant which only recently made it off the Endangered Species List. Please stick to walking on durable surfaces like rocks, snow and ice or established trails when walking anywhere above treeline.

Please Remember:

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 06/08/2020 at 9:44 AM.

Frank Carus, Jeff Fongemie
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest