Avalanche Advisory for Monday, February 10, 2014

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and LOW avalanche danger. Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, Chute, Left Gully and Hillman’s Highway have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding and conservative decision making are essential. All other forecast areas have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

Huntington Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and MODERATE avalanche danger. Central, Pinnacle, Odell, South and Escape Hatch have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. North, Damnation and Yale have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully to identify features of concern.

AVALANCHE PROBLEMS: Wind slab is the primary hazard today. New wind slab due to light snowfall last night will create touchy slabs on the small side compounding the more serious wind slab hazard which existed yesterday. Persistent slabs on a weak layer of faceted snow as well as older wind or sluff slabs are scattered around our forecast areas and can generate larger avalanches. Be especially careful beneath sluff drainages and areas with a thinner snowpack over ice or rocks. Don’t turn your hazard radar off in the mountains. Ever.

WEATHER: The summit recorded just over 1″ of light density snow last night on light winds from the latest passing disturbance. This small amount of snow now sitting in the Alpine Garden will load into our forecast areas on NW winds at 30-45 mph. NWS and OBS forecast indicate increasing wind and a trace to 2″ more snow this afternoon which will contribute to the loading, decrease visibility and further complicate visual assessment of our already tricky to assess snowpack.

SNOWPACK: Recent weather trends have conspired to slow stabilization of our snowpack. Cold clear weather and light density snow have supplied the raw materials for slabs to build and persist. Data collection in the field either through snow stability tests or just using your senses all point to an inverted snowpack in lots of areas. While natural avalanche potential is just climbing into the Considerable range today, it is the deeper weak layers that would give me the most reason to travel really carefully today. The facet problem is just one concern of several to look for. The last 12″ storm blew into thick slabs of sluff as well as wind slab. The crown profile of Saturday afternoons human triggered avalanche revealed a 6′ crown with only a one step density change as the failure interface. Safe travel techniques and avalanche hazard assessment training and experience will contribute to a longer life.

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 8:30 a.m. 2-10-2014. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2014-02-10 Print friendly