Avalanche Advisory for Sunday April 28 2013

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche dangerNatural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Yesterday’s weather treated about 2500 people to beautiful day in the mountains.  I didn’t hear one complaint about the sun except forgetting suncreen as many red faces trotted out of the Ravine at the end of the day.  Today will be even nicer with expected summit temperatures climbing over 40 degrees F.  It should become a solar cooker in the Ravines today due to the high pressure firmly installed over the region.   Warmer days with low wind speeds elevate our concerns over the typical spring hazards discussed below.  Think hard about how to avoid all these issues by picking your hiking, sitting, and skiing/riding locations very carefully.  Staying hard to the climber’s left in Left Gully or hard right in Right Gully will not eliminate all risk, but will reduce it substantially from icefall, crevasses, and undermining.  These hazards are much more prevalent as you move towards the center of the Ravine from either side. “The Lip” is in the bullseye for having the most dangerous conditions, because of this it is strongly encouraged to avoid this area. Therefore, we recommend Right Gully, Left Gully, and Hillman’s Highway as locations with less overall risk from objective mountain hazards than others. We also highly suggest bringing an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may never even pull them out of your pack, but it’s easy to find yourself in a situation where they would be very helpful, if not critical to getting up or down a route safely.

This will likely be one of the warmest days of the season so most of our attention is focused on a high potential for falling ice. Falling ice is an increasingly common occurrence at this point in the season. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by icefall in Tuckerman, while countless others have had close calls. It’s hard to truly appreciate the seemingly random, unpredictable power of this hazard until you’ve seen it firsthand. Take our advice: Minimize the time you spend in areas where ice may fall from above you, such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks. DESPITE ITS POPULARITY, LUNCH ROCKS IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO SIT AND WATCH THE ACTION. 

Crevasses are opening up in many areas. The worst of these can be found in the Lip area and Center Bowl. Some are are very deep resulting in dire consequences if you fall in.  Many have icy running water  splashing through them, and some are hidden from view by rollovers or a thin bridge of snow. Hillman’s Highway has some undermined snow and an open hole to watch out for. The best way to avoid this hazard is to know where the holes are located, and avoid these areas. You can do this by climbing up what you plan to descend.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at the half way point. At the rope, you need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. Do not walk or attempt to ski down this muddy trail below the rope. The Lion Head Winter Route remains open and offers the most direct access to the summit of Mt. Washington from the east. This is a very steep route and is often more challenging in spring conditions. An ice axe and crampons are highly recommended for this route. The Lion Head summer trail is still closed.

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 Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted at 7:45 a.m., April 28, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713  TTY (603) 466-2856

2013-04-28 Print Version