Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, April 13, 2014

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: Recent daily melt and freeze cycles have brought our avalanche hazard down to Low. Today’s small amount of rain and warming are unlikely to create much avalanche danger. That said, safe travel practices and avalanche safety equipment are still a good idea. Avalanches caused by rain and warming are notoriously hard to predict, so a savvy mountain traveler will respect this threat by minimizing exposure with careful route finding.

WEATHER: Current temperatures are hovering around freezing at Alpine Garden elevations this morning and in the mid-30’s at Hermit Lake. Freezing rain and then rain are likely today. Up to a 1/4″ of rain may fall with temperatures on the summit eventually reaching 40 F by afternoon. This morning, freezing rain is predicted with winds coming from the southwest at around 40 mph, increasing to around 60 mph with higher gusts this afternoon.

SNOWPACK:  The snow pack is really beginning to shows signs of spring. Folks enjoyed the heck out of Tuckerman yesterday. About 1800 folks. Friday nights freeze was not very deep so all it took to soften things up was some sunshine with sluff piles and moguls showing up in short order. Shady aspects near the rims refroze quickly as the sun began to set. A little rain and freezing rain today may help smooth things out a bit. While generally stable, the issues that keep us search and rescue ready are still out there. There are still potential weak interfaces between wind slabs deep in the snowpack that can be lubricated and weakened by water. We saw this last year on a busy day when a wet slab pulled out of the Lip/Center Bowl waterfall area and surprised a lot of people near Lunch Rocks. A flood watch has been issued until Wednesday for the region so this hazard, along with undermined snow, crevasses opening up and sketchy stream crossings are all coming. Huntington Ravine climbs will continue to be exposed to rock and ice fall hazard due to warming.

OTHER HAZARDS: Icefall from the Sluice onto Lunch Rocks is becoming a real threat. Some of the ice over the “Knife edge” ridge between Sluice and Right Gully looks like it could fall any day.  Continued melting has really softened snow spanning streams like the exit from Tuckerman. As the volume of running water increases so does the hazard. 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. Be prepared to handle steep, firm snow and fast, icy surfaces.

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 7:40 a.m. 4-13-2014. 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

2014-04-13 Print friendly