Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, April 12, 2014

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

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 traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: The Low avalanche danger today is a result of multiple days of warm weather and cold nighttime temperatures. This cycle adds a lot of strength to the snow surfaces and reduces the potential for avalanche activity to a point where we are comfortable calling the danger level “Low.” Understand that predicting avalanches is not a perfect science. With this in mind, when traveling in avalanche terrain we always recommend carrying avalanche rescue equipment, practicing safe travel rituals, and keeping your awareness up for situations that could increase your risk.

WEATHER: Today’s weather forecast is for generally pleasant weather, but don’t forget that safely spending time in the mountains requires more preparation and equipment than a pleasant day in the park. For example, bring some extra dry layers, a jacket, and don’t forget the sunblock! Temperatures are starting today down below freezing, but elevations all the way to the summit should rise up above the freezing mark before long. Cloud levels will be dropping late, so if you’re out on the mountain when this happens (intentionally or otherwise) be ready for poor visibility and maybe some icy surfaces.

SNOWPACK: Overnight, cold temperatures put a good freeze on the surface layers in the ravine. Icy surfaces should be expected both early today and late, after slopes become shaded temperatures start to fall. An ice axe and crampons are recommended for travel on steep slopes. Micro-spikes and other creeper style traction devices may be helpful on some lower angle trails, but they do not provide the security of crampons. Expect to find an isothermal snowpack to a significant depth. Deep beneath the surface, you may be able to find some buried weak layers or interfaces between cold wind slab. We don’t feel that these are major players in the avalanche danger at this time, but a heavy rain event or prolonged warm spell may bring them back to the forefront of our minds.

OTHER HAZARDS: We are at the beginning of the icefall season. Smaller pieces of falling ice have been observed in a variety of locations in both Tuckerman and Huntington. Even small piece of falling ice can be very dangerous, so be alert for this hazard. Other springtime hazards, such as undermined snow and crevasses, are on the cusp of emerging, but so far have not been much of a threat.


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.
  • Posted 8:00 a.m. 4-12-2014. 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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