Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, April 2, 2016

This advisory will expire tonight at 12:00 midnight.

All forecast areas of Tuckerman Ravine have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. If new snow arrives, watch for unstable snow in isolated pockets late in the day.

Huntington Ravine is under a General Bulletin. 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: To start the day, the snowpack is very stable and avalanche danger is virtually nonexistent. If the mountain receives the upper range of snow forecast for today (2″ or 5cm), new wind slab may develop in sheltered lee areas, such as under the ice in the headwall or up in the Lip. Any new slabs will be forming on an icy rain crust and might be sensitive to triggering. With this said, late in the day is when these problems will be developing. Pay attention for new snow accumulations throughout the day and expect instability if you find pockets of new deposits of windblown snow.

WEATHER: Yesterday was a very warm and rainy day, reaching 43F at the summit and even warmer at lower elevations. The summit reported 0.43″ (17mm) of rain, while at Hermit Lake we measured .28″ (7mm). Overnight temperatures dropped down below freezing at all elevations except for the very bottom of the mountain. The temps are unlikely to rebound more than a few degrees, so you should expect cold conditions and a frozen snowpack. We might see an inch or two of snowfall today, the best chance for this is in the afternoon or evening, and 1-3″ more snow in the overnight hours.

Spring hazards you need to know about include:

  • Very icy conditions make any slips or falls in steep terrain a very dangerous event. Stopping a fall can be near impossible on hard refrozen rain crusts. Using crampons and and an ice axe is helpful, but not foolproof. The best way to mitigate this hazard is to avoid steep icy slopes, i.e. wait for a better day to get into steep terrain.
  • Crevasses, moats and waterfall holes – Multiple waterfall holes have opened in the Lip, including the open book hole responsible for a hiker fatality April 1, 2012. In other areas, large volumes of water is flowing under the snow pack, which has created small holes or thin snow bridges.
  • Falling ice – 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. Cold weather decreases the likelihood of falling ice and rocks.

The Lion Head Winter Route is closed. Please use the Summer Lion Head Trail. The Sherburne ski trail is closed in the lower half. Please respect the trail closure and walk down the hiking trail.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail from Pinkham to Hermit Lake is wall-to-wall water ice for long stretches. Please do not attempt this trail without some sort of traction device for your feet. The options for skirting around the ice are very, very limited.

Tonight is the last night for camping at the Harvard Cabin this season. They will be locking up Sunday morning. The only camping permitted in the Cutler Drainage will be at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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 8:00 a.m., Saturday, April 2, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716