With above freezing temperatures overnight and warm sunny skies, today felt like spring conditions in the Presidentials. Intermittent clouds and moderate west winds were welcomed during the afternoon high of 51F degrees at Hermit Lake. The summit reached 38.3F degrees with a peak gust of 85mph. The snow was described as mashed-potatoes and wet cement in steep exposed alpine terrain that faces south and east. Boot-top to near knee penetration was commonly found by those hiking off trail. The moist to wet snow was saturated 2-3 inches from the surface and can be expected to refreeze this evening with cold temperatures. Many skiers were edging quiet turns in steep terrain all over Tuckerman’s Ravine, while Huntington remains thin and was not as popular. The ice climbing has degraded with the warmth and dirt has begun to surface on much of the snowpack.
I took a cruise to Crawford Notch this morning to investigate a couple of avalanches reported by Melissa this morning. The wet avalanches that were described occurred on the southwest aspect of Mount Webster near 2700 feet. I saw the remnants of two R1 & R2 avalanches that under the right circumstances could bury or kill a person. These avalanches ran a vertical drop of about 300 feet with a max width of 100 feet. The R2 appears to have begun as a loose wet point release and stepped into a shallow slab of unconsolidated snow. Both of these avalanches occurred on slopes around 35 degrees in steepness with smooth granite as a bed-surface.