Avalanche Advisory for Monday, March 14, 2016

All forecast areas of Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Lobster Claw, the Lower Snowfields, and Little Headwall are not posted due to a lack of snow in these areas.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: The trace to an inch of snow is forecast for this afternoon is unlikely to create avalanche problems on our otherwise stable, icy snowpack. As snow and mixed precipitation increases overnight, avalanche problems may develop. Use weather resources and our avalanche forecast tomorrow to determine the nature of the hazards that you will face. Emerging spring hazards include:

  • Long sliding falls – Crampons are required in steep terrain. Snowshoes and microspikes are no substitute. Spring weather brings variable snow surface conditions that change by the hour and by aspect. Arresting a fall on an icy 30+ degree slope is practically impossible.
  • Crevasses, moats and waterfall holes – Warm water flowing under the snow pack creates holes and thin spots in surface snow that are deep enough to injure or kill you.
  • Falling ice – This one is unpredictable. The best thing you can do is reduce your exposure by limiting the time you spend downslope from frozen waterfalls. Falling ice chunks can move with surprising speed and follow unpredictable trajectories.

The first two hazards above will be fully in play today and are harder to deal with when low visibility conditions exist. New precipitation can obscure these hazards, as well.

WEATHER: MWObs and NWS show temperatures falling until sundown and then slowly increasing through the night. The complex mix of evaporative cooling as precipitations develops this afternoon combined with thick, high cloud cover, along with a frontal passage bringing warm air aloft makes it are very likely that the surface snow will remain frozen on all aspects today. Low winds from the south near 15 mph will slowly increase to the 30 mph by sunset. Anticipate daytime temperatures to fall from their current 27F to mid-teens F on the summit. Snow and sleet will develop this afternoon and change over to freezing rain overnight.

New snow that fell last week has melted off the Tuckerman Ravine Trail leaving ice in its place up to the Huntington Ravine Fire Road elevation. Microspikes or crampons are more than just helpful above Pinkham Notch. There really isn’t much opportunity to stay on snow on the Tucks trail…it is mostly wall-to-wall ice. The Winter Lion Head Route is now closed. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed below #2 hill (about 2/3 mile from the parking lot). Please respect the closure by walking over to the Tucks trail at the rope to reduce erosion on the 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 7:40a.m., Monday, March 14, 2016. 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