Avalanche Advisory for Friday, March 3, 2017

This advisory expires at Midnight.

Huntington and Tuckerman Ravines have LOW avalanche danger. All forecast areas have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. The Little Headwall is not forecast due to lack of snow. Skiing or riding from the Bowl is challenging now.

 AVALANCHE PROBLEM: High west and northwest winds transported yesterday’s 1.5-2” new snow into mid-slope start zones but scoured most other areas. The wind slabs of most concern will look smooth and white compared to the gray, old snow surface that was exposed by the wind scouring action of moving snow. These wind slabs will be firm, hard to trigger and relatively small in most areas but steeper places such as high in the Chute, or beneath the ice in Center Bowl or on the approach to Harvard Bulge ice, may have larger slabs to contend with. Areas in Tuckerman Ravine (Lip, Sluice, Center Bowl and Chute) with a strong east aspect that were most sheltered from the W and WNW winds and are downwind of the largest fetch zone, where snow is picked up and carried by those wind speeds, have the highest danger rating but are still Low. All other areas in both Ravines were heavily scoured.

WEATHER: Clear skies, good visibility and NW winds in the 60mph range currently grace the summit. The mercury now stands at -11F there with 10F at Pinkham Notch. Winds will blow from the west today in the 50-70 mph range on the summit which is a nice break from the 70-90 mph winds yesterday. The high temperature today will rise to around 0F in the early afternoon. Another cold front approaching this afternoon will bring falling temperatures with a slight increase in wind speeds. Expect colder conditions later this afternoon with increasing cloud cover, reduced visibility later in the day and falling temperatures reaching a low of around -25F by tomorrow morning.

OTHER HAZARDS: With the recent warm spell working on the snowpack, springtime hazards have emerged early though good coverage remains on most aspects. Expect the need for crampons in most of the steeper terrain, even on approaches. Be aware of the following other hazards today:

  • Ice dams – water flowing down Huntington gullies can build up pressure behind ice and burst from the force of an ice tool placement. This effect can be especially pronounced after a rapid swing in temperatures such as we have had.
  • Glide cracks, moats and crevasses have opened in places and may now be concealed with new snow, making identifying these extra difficult.
  • Undermined snow over stream channels can be a problem in gullies but more of a danger lower in the tributaries. The recent warmth and rain has streams flowing at a pretty good clip. Falling into one, especially with skis or board strapped on, could be disastrous.

Thanks to all the folks that turned out for our fundraiser last night at Allspeed Cyclery and Snow in Portland. Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, Black Diamond, Julbo, Mammut, Ski the East, Tuckerman Brewing, Black Point Surf Shop, and Wild Northeast magazine helped us out with prizes. Most everyone walked away with shwag and one lucky soul left with a new pair of Liberty skis! We’ll be doing this event again, for sure!

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  7:50 a.m., Friday, March 3, 2017. 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