Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, March 13, 2016

Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines have LOW avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Lobster Claw, The Lower Snowfields and Little Headwall are not posted due to a lack of snow in these areas.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Considering our current spring like conditions, the likelihood of being caught in an avalanche diminishes substantially and is reserved for unusual circumstances like waterfalls changing course into the snowpack or icefall impacting the snow. These things certainly happen, but wet loose avalanches are the most likely problem today. Cool temperatures today make even this threat low.
WEATHER: Temperatures fell from a high of 30F yesterday afternoon to a low of 19F at 5a.m. this morning. NW winds will be high (60-80mph) early this morning but should drop off quickly and allow morning sun to warm the snowpack. Summit temperatures will reach the mid-20’s F with N winds at 25-40mph on the summit midday and high cloud cover in the afternoon. Low wind speeds and high thin clouds filtering the sun in the afternoon may allow some shady aspects to heat up enough to soften a bit but be prepared for icy snow surface conditions in the shade until you are sure.
SNOWPACK: Rain last week, followed by a hard freeze overnight on Friday, reset our snowpack. Deeper weak layer concerns have diminished due to the copious rain and strong refrozen surface layers. Our isothermal snowpack has moved falling ice, undermined snow and crevasses to the top of the list of things that could injure or kill you. Timing is everything this time of year as sunlight and air temperatures soften snow, weaken ice, and loosen rocks that are frozen in the snow. Reduce your exposure to these hazards by choosing your route carefully and reducing time spent in the fall line, near Lunch Rocks, the floor or beneath other skiers and climbers. Waterfall holes have opened up in the already thin snowpack in the Lip/Center Bowl area, creating a significant hazard and making the terrain above a no fall zone.
The Lion Head Winter Route is now closed. The Lion Head Summer Trail is the most direct and safer route to reach the summit from the east side. The Tuckerman Ravine trail traverses a very steep snow slope directly above crevasses and a waterfall hole and is not recommended.
New snow that fell last week has melted off the Tuckerman Ravine Trail leaving ice in its place up to the Huntington Ravine Fire Road elevation. Those without microspikes or crampons are struggling to stay on their feet. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed below #2 hill (about 2/3 mile from the parking lot). Please respect the closure by walking over to the Tucks trail at the rope to reduce erosion on 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 or the Harvard Cabin.
  • Posted 7:00a.m., Sunday, March 13, 2016. 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