Avalanche Advisory for Friday, 4-12-2013

This advisory expires at midnight Friday, April 12, 2013

Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines have CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely.

We are starting out the day with Low avalanche danger in all forecast areas. As precipitation accumulates today, the avalanche danger will rise. This will require those venturing into avalanche terrain today to carefully evaluate the snow to determine it’s potential to avalanche.  Currently, the forecast is for 1-3″ of snow and sleet accumulation this morning with freezing rain and sleet in the afternoon with mostly snow expected above 4,000′, though there is strong uncertainty in the timing and precipitation types with this storm.  That translates to uncertainty in the exact timing of our avalanche forecast.  One thing that is consistent is the one half to one inch of total liquid expected out of the storm with enough of it falling as snow between now and Saturday afternoon to allow for a forecast of 6-12″ of frozen precipitation on the ground.  Until then, skiers or climbers should expect a mix of precipitation types below Hermit Lake gradually becoming more snow from there to the summit. Skiers should expect and prepare for a hard icy surface beneath the incoming precipitation with along sliding fall hazard to exist before the new snow and sleet begin to create an avalanche threat. Sounds like fun, huh?

By this afternoon we may have a better handle on skiing and climbing conditions for the weekend. It doesn’t look good for anything other than an elevated avalanche danger tomorrow as a west wind will ramp up and further load slopes and gullies with an easterly aspect like the Lip and Center Bowl and Central and Pinnacle Gullies. If the cold air remains in place and prevents too much warm air from affecting precipitation and the winds are right, then our snow fall totals on the Alpine Garden and summit ridges will be more than adequate to create a significant avalanche hazard. Be sure to check our Weekend Update as well as tomorrow morning’s advisory for more details. Ice dams, weakened snowbridges over streams and off trail postholing as well as narrow slots developing in Tuckerman and moats near rock faces are among the hazards which exist today.

The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season; we are no longer issuing Huntington-specific forecasts at the cabin, but will continue posting this version of 5-scale advisories at the cabin.  The only camping permitting on the eastern side of Mount Washington is at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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 at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted 7:55 a.m. 4-12-2013. 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

2013-04-12 Print version