Avalanche Advisory for Monday, 1-16-2012

This advisory expires tonight at midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger today. The Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Right Gully, Left Gully, and Hillman’s Highway have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. The Lobster Claw, the Lower Snowfields, and the Little Headwall are not posted due to an overall lack of snow. Forecasts for these locations will begin when conditions warrant.

 Huntington Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger today. Central and Pinnacle have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. All other forecast areas have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely.

It’s another cold clear morning on the mountain and this will be the case at least for the start of the day. Currently, winds are so light that you might find yourself wondering if you came to the right mountain. Hang around a while and you’ll see Mt. Washington’s famously changeable weather. During daylight hours, clouds will build in, winds will increase, and temperatures will rise dramatically late in the day as a warm front works its way toward us. With any luck, this will give us an all snow event, but I’d not be surprised to see some wintry mix fall from the sky on Tuesday.

Snow stability and forecasted ratings are the same today as they were yesterday. Cold temperatures prevent existing slabs from settling much, so what there was for elastic energy yesterday will be there today as well. The potentially unstable slabs to be on the lookout for were deposited in the most protected lee areas after very strong W winds on Friday night. In Tuckerman, the best chances to find these instabilities would be in the Sluice, down under the Lip, near the traverse section of the hiking trail, and out under the ice in the Center Bowl. In Huntington you’ll find wind loaded snow in the climber’s left side of Central Gully, and in Pinnacle, be cautious of the snow slope below the first pitch of ice. Expect much of the snow in the ravines to be hard and wind-effected, particularly in Huntington or the more wind-exposed areas of Tuckerman such as Left Gully. If you find yourself in areas of softer snow or are punching through a shallow dense layer into a softer layer underneath, the little warning bells in your brain should start sounding.

Despite the calendar date, the Lion Head Summer Trail is still the one to use. We’re monitoring snow conditions on the trail and will open the Winter Route when avalanche potential threatens the Summer Trail.

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 7:30am. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2012-01-16 Print Friendly