Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, April 20, 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: Snow stability in Tuckerman is generally quite good at this time. Other hazards such as falling ice and long falls should get your attention today. Read on for more details.

WEATHER: Today will be an incredible contrast to yesterday as far as weather is concerned. Winds will be about as calm as they get on the mountain due to high pressure passing by the area. Temperatures are forecast to rise above freezing at all elevations. Best of all, the sun will be out. For perspective, yesterday morning visibility ranged from 50 to 100 feet for many hours without a break, surfaces were rock solid ice with no hope of softening with temps below freezing.

SNOWPACK: The snowpack starting today is solidly locked into the freeze portion of a melt-freeze cycle. This will quickly change as sun and warmth begin to have their way with frozen layers. I expect all surfaces to become softened early, then maybe even become deeply wetted as the day moves on.

ICEFALL SEASON IS HERE. There is currently a large chunk perched threateningly over Lunch Rocks. This will almost certainly crash into the rocks if it were to fall today. There are many safer locations to relax between runs or hang out and watch the action…Lunch Rocks is not one of them. Icefall may occur from other locations as well, so stay aware of this potential.

CREVASSES AND HOLES IN THE SNOWPACK have been late in emerging this season. They will come out and become a problem at some point. Today might be the day. Ask if you have questions about where these typically open up because you’ll have a hard time seeing them until the snow gives way under your feet.

The best exit from the bowl is to hike down the trail. The Little Headwall is blown out completely for the season. The streambed has also deteriorated beyond what a reasonable person would call “skiable”. Trying to negotiate the trees on either side is difficult at best, dangerous at worst, and your judgment will be questioned by anyone on the hiking trail or the porch who happens to see you flailing in there.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. This is a steep icy trail. An ice axe, crampons, and the ability to use these tools effectively are highly recommended. Lightweight trail crampons lose their effectiveness in terrain this steep!

The John Sherburne Ski Trail remains open to the parking lot. Expect lots of bare patches, icy sections, and enormous bumps throughout 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.
  • Posted 7:00 a.m. 4-20-2014. 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

2014-04-20 Print Friendly