This advisory expires at midnight Monday 1-23-2012.
All forecasted areas of Tuckerman Ravine will have HIGH avalanche danger today. Natural avalanches are likely and human triggered avalanches are very likely. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. 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 warranted; however, you should be aware that avalanche activity may occur within these areas before forecasts begin.
Huntington Ravine will have HIGH and CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Yale, Central, Pinnacle, Odell, and South Gullies have High avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are likely and human triggered avalanches are very likely. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. North, Damnation, and the Escape Hatch have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely.
New England winters, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee for the sleet, the freezing rain, and the rain… My apologies to poetry fans for the sarcastic paraphrasing, and I apologize to winter enthusiasts for what’s to come later today. The primary concern causing today’s High rating is the incoming precipitation expected to begin after dark. A lovely wintry mix is on its way. It’s a familiar pattern with warm air aloft bringing in precipitation while valley temperatures stay cold a while longer. This event is forecasted to bring about a third of an inch (8mm) of water equivalent in the form of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain. Most of this will fall during the evening hours and overnight, which will be the time when peak instabilities are reached.
The mix of precipitation types later today will fall onto some very weak snow layers. Westerly winds deposited these over the weekend after a very light density snowfall on Thursday night and Friday. Soft slabs have developed in the protected lee areas, particularly those with an easterly aspect such as the Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute. This weak snow will not take well to sleet and rain landing on it late today, so I expect numerous smaller avalanches to occur in a wide range of locations. Prior to any precip, you can expect conditions similar to yesterday. I would be watchful for unstable slabs that a person might trigger, but naturally triggered avalanche activity won’t be a problem until later. There are a variety of surfaces out there on which to travel. If possible, staying on older surfaces and away from newly deposited soft slab will help you avoid trouble. Most importantly today, do everything you can to get out of avalanche terrain before the precipitation begins.
The Lion Head Winter Route is now open. This is a steep route; an ice axe and crampons are highly recommended for safe travel. Please avoid the summer Lion Head Trail due to avalanche risk. The Sherburne Ski Trail has decent coverage. Be cautious for some buried landmines and waterbars as they still are problem particularly when you can’t see them.
- 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 8:45am. 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