Avalanche Advisory for Friday, April 15, 2016

This Advisory expires at Midnight

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. Lobster Claw, Lower Snowfields and Little Headwall are not posted due to lack of snow.

Huntington Ravine is under a General Bulletin. 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: Due to the rain from several days ago, and multiple melt-freeze cycles since then, avalanche problems are minimal. As slopes heat up today from their hard frozen state this morning, steep untracked slopes may be vulnerable to a ski/board induced wet loose problem.  Think about sluff management and not allowing wet moving snow to suck you in by having a plan before entering untracked slopes.

WEATHER: Sunny skies will prevail again today eventually warming up the cold morning. A moderate N wind will gust to 40mph today as temperatures climb through the 20’sF on the summit.  This trend will continue through the weekend with only slight changes, but expect sun, cool frozen starts, and low wind speeds for Mount Washington.

SNOWPACK: Sunny skies and low wind speeds in the Ravine will allow slopes to soften up through the day following a brief frozen start this morning. As always, timing and choosing the right aspect at the correct time is the name of the game. The best window will be mid-morning to mid-afternoon before refreezing starts in the mid-late afternoon on a number of aspects.  This will occur as slopes move into the shade and temperatures begin dropping towards their expected 15F tonight. Being on or above an icy slope as this refreeze happens increases your risk and consequences dramatically. As always, crampons, an ice axe, and good judgement developed by experience are important tools to bring with you.  Without these, rethink your plans and make even more conservative choices than if you have them. The Ravine will be here next time, make sure you will too.

Currently snow stability is very good so the greater threats in the Ravine are:

  • Falling ice – Large high speed falling ice chunks can move on destructive unpredictable trajectories. The best thing you can do to reduce your exposure to this hazard is by limiting the time spent below these frozen waterfalls. “Icefall Rocks” (Lunch Rocks) and beneath Center Bowl (the Headwall) are in the crosshairs and are a bad place to sit, sled or hang around in. Sitting down lower on the Ravine floor near the entrance to the bowl is a great alternative to hanging out in “Icefall Rocks”.  Expect the falling ice hazard to increase over the next few days as sun warms the Ravine.
  • Crevasses, moats, and waterfall holes – Water flowing under the snow pack creates holes, glide cracks (crevasses) and thin spots that are deep enough to injure or kill you. The climber’s right side of the Bowl, near and under “The Lip”, harbor the most deep holes.
  • Long sliding falls – Crampons, an ice ax, and the experience and skills to use them effectively are required to travel safely in steep terrain. Snowshoes and microspikes are not a substitute. Watch the runout in your potential fall line to pick a route that avoids frozen waterfall cliffs, brush, and rocks.

Check out the Weekend Update later today on www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org

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.
  • Posted 7:25 a.m., Friday, April 15, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716