Avalanche Advisory for Monday, 4-30-2012

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight, April 30, 2012.

Tuckerman Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger. The Chute has Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. All other forecasted areas have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. 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.

If you want to know what you should be looking for in a weather forecast that promises a great Tuckerman ski day, look no further than today’s higher summits forecast. Temperatures will be warming to around 30F while winds drop through the day to almost imperceptible levels. Throw in full sunshine and the fact that this is happening on a Monday, when relatively few people will be on the mountain, and the potential is there for a great day. Now that you’re either: a) excited because you’re coming up, or b) bummed because you’re stuck at work, here are the downsides to the day. First, the Chute does still have some new snow in the upper section that has yet to see any traffic at all. I think if you’re patient, the trend through today will be for increasing stability as solar energy and time work in your favor. If you’re a go-getter, be aware that there is the potential for human triggered avalanches in this area. Even if all you are doing is going to ride the lower half, you’ll need to pay attention to who or what is up above. The good snow in the lower half of the Chute is in the runout path of slides from above!

The warm temperature, light winds, and full sun will create an increasing potential for falling ice today. Over the past few days, a lot of new ice has formed in all the usual areas. These may not see incredibly large, but you still don’t want to be hit with one that’s traveling at high speed downslope. We’ve seen many serious injuries and even some fatalities as a result of falling ice, including some from relatively small pieces. Pay attention to what’s above and think about how you’ll react when ice is coming at you quicker than an Aroldis Chapman fastball.

Hopefully, the warm weather today will collapse some of the newly-formed snow bridges that span some of the numerous crevasses littering the Headwall and Lip area. The worst crevasses, undermined snow, and waterfall holes are found here, but other areas such as the Sluice and upper part of the Chute also have crevasses slowly opening up. Not all crevasses are currently visible, so don’t be lured into believing you’re not at risk just because you don’t see any problems.

THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS CLOSED TO ALL USE FROM LUNCH ROCKS TO THE JUNCTION WITH THE ALPINE GARDEN TRAIL. This includes the Lip area as well as this section of the hiking trail. The trail is open to the floor of the ravine, as is the section from the summit down to the Alpine Garden junction. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. The John Sherburne Ski trail is also closed to all use.

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 caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • 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

2012-04-30 Print Friendly