Avalanche Advisory for Monday, 3-19-2012

This advisory expires at midnight, Monday, 3-19-2012

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely.

Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

And it continues…another day with record breaking temperatures for Mt. Washington. The only difference for today will be some clouds and a slight chance of a rain shower. In case you spent the weekend watching basketball games in your basement man cave, the weather was unbelievably hot and sunny for the middle of March. Overall traffic was lighter than expected, but there were several hundred people each day testing the resiliency of last year’s bottle of sunblock and enjoying turns. Sources tell us that about 100 or so people were in Huntington on Saturday, more than I’ve ever seen there in a single day. Over the past week or so, winter has rapidly disappeared and springtime has fully overtaken the mountain. This has brought on the full range of spring conditions and associated hazards. The laundry list of items you should know about includes:

  • Falling Ice. Both Tuckerman and Huntington have a lot of ice hanging on the steep slopes, waiting to crash to the floor. It’s been cooking in the sun for a week or so, getting weaker by the day. This will come down at some point, and you don’t want to be nearby when it goes. Lunch Rocks sits in the fall zone of the most dangerous ice in Tuckerman, so don’t think of Lunch Rocks as a safe place to sit!
  • The Little Headwall is no longer an option for exiting Tuckerman Ravine. The fastest and easiest way down is to pack up your skis and hike down to Hermit Lake.
  • Crevasses and the waterfall hole are beginning to open up under the ice in the Headwall and near the Lip. The growth of these over the past few days has been impressive. Give them wide berth, because they’re going to be larger underneath the snow than the opening you can see at the surface.
  • The Sherburne Ski Trail has been melting quickly. We anticipate closing the lower sections of the trail beginning early this week. When you get to the rope, head over to the hiking trail for the rest of the way down.
  • The Lion Head winter route is now closed. Please avoid using this route to avoid damaging the soil on the steep section of trail. The summer trail is open but does have a lot of snow on it. Plan for wet snow and postholing over the next several days.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped out with rescue efforts on Saturday. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a helicopter land on the floor of the ravine, and we could not have done this without everyone’s cooperation. So even if all you did was stay out of the way, we thank you.

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.  
  • 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

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