Avalanche Advisory for Friday March 4th, 2016

Tuckerman Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger. Right Gully, The Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, The Chute, and Left Gully have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible.  Heightened avalanche conditions exist on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully to identify features of concern.  Hillman’s Highway and the Lobster Claw have Low avalanche danger.  Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. The Lower Snowfields, and Little Headwall are not posted due to an overall lack of snow in these areas.

Huntington Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger. Central, Pinnacle, Odell, and South have Moderate avalanche danger.  Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible.  Heightened avalanche conditions exist on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully to identify features of concern.  North, Damnation, Yale, and the Escape Hatch have Low avalanche danger where natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets.

AVALANCHE PROBLEMWind Slab is the avalanche problem today.  8” of snow on Wednesday, and continued light loading on Thursday, has generated wind slabs that are now between 24-48 hours old. The existing wind slab vary from some deep hang fire above crown lines from Wednesday’s avalanche cycle, to firm thinner slabs below crown lines and on exposed slopes to high winds.  It is a reasonable day for an avalanche savvy traveler to be in avalanche terrain, but keep your radar on and have thoughtful choices about which slabs to engage and which to avoid.

WEATHER: Today skies will be mostly in the clear with high clouds slowly giving way to more sun through the afternoon.  Temperatures will crawl to about 5F and be associated with a very pleasant dropping wind to as low as 10mph on the summit!  Temperatures will drop again and winds will pick up overnight leading into another sunny day tomorrow, albeit cold.

SNOWPACK: The storm that brought some snow and a lot of rain to the valleys remained as dry snow in avalanche terrain and higher alpine areas of Mount Washington. The wrapping and increasing wind from the SE, through the W, to the NW deposited slab on a variety of aspects, but delivered the most on our prevailing E faces initiating an avalanche cycle.  Crown lines filled in a bit, but are still very visible and generally unchanged from yesterday morning.  This is a good clue that additional loading was quite light yesterday.  However, hangfire, or the snow left above the crowns, and many other pockets are still a concern in a number of places so these will be our focus in field work today.  Slopes that have a SE facing component currently seem to be locations that harbor the newest smooth slabs such as near the Lip and Sluice.  Other locales that appear heavily textured by wind may be most likely triggered in the thinner edges. You will probably see some areas currently at Moderate today drop to Low tomorrow.  Be sure to see the updated advisory on Saturday morning.

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 8:40am, March 3, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856

2016-03-04