Avalanche Advisory for April 14, 2015

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Avalanche danger today is Low as the past four days have had a stabilizing effect on the snowpack. Warm temperatures during the day and colder temperatures at night make an isothermal snowpack. The ravine has just about reached this point, creating several days in a row of Low danger. The largest hazard we see today is slough piles moving downhill and slowly generating more mass, becoming big enough to carry a skier or climber to an undesired location. If you are traveling above cliffs, slough management will be important.

OTHER HAZARDS: Hazards other than avalanches are beginning to rear their heads and are worth looking for as much, if not more, than unstable snow. The Icefall has horizontal cracks forming across it and the Sluice ice is missing chunks. Be aware of what is above you on a warm day and realize that eating lunch at Lunch Rocks puts you directly in the runout of large pieces of falling ice. The snow is slowly moving downhill as a unified mass and is pulling away from cliffs, creating crevasses that while may not eat you whole yet, are certainly big enough to swallow a ski. Undermined snow is creating challenges for exiting the Bowl. While the Little Headwall is still skiable, there is open water both above and below. The best exit from the Bowl may involve walking to Connection Cache and possibly farther.

WEATHER: Bluebird days on Sunday and Monday allowed countless skiers and climbers to enjoy warm spring snow. A cold front is currently moving through the region, having delivered freezing rain, ice pellets, rain, and hurricane force winds to the summit of Mount Washington during the night. As the day progresses and high pressure builds throughout the morning, clouds are forecasted to depart along with decreasing winds and steady temperatures.

SNOWPACK: Racers during the Inferno on Saturday experienced the result of a frozen saturated snowpack with rock hard surfaces galore. Sunday and Monday brought warm temperatures and the annual migration of spring skiers to Mount Washington. While temperatures during the nights stayed warm, last night’s freeze helped mitigate concerns we had about wet slab avalanches. With temperatures today and tonight remaining slightly colder than the previous days, expect the snowpack to become more stable, even firm in some areas. When traveling in avalanche terrain in this weather with snow conditions as they are, crampons and an ice axe are a good addition to avalanche PPE. Skiers and climbers who get early starts or late finishes may encounter conditions conducive to 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 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 14, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Helon Hoffer and Jeff Lane, Snow Rangers
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2713