Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, February 6, 2014

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and MODERATE avalanche danger.  Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding and conservative decision making essential.  Lobsterclaw, Right Gully, the Lower Snowfields and the Little Headwall which have Moderate avalanche danger.  Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible.

Huntington Ravine has CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger.  Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely.  Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding and conservative decision making essential.

AVALANCHE PROBLEMS: Wind slab is the primary hazard today. Many crown lines exist due to recent natural avalanche activity with debris piles in or under Yale, Central, Center Bowl, Left and Hillman’s. Though our snow slopes and gullies are not fully developed this season, areas of new wind slabs capable of generating a significant avalanche still exist in certain locations today. Light density sluffs or dry loose avalanches also piled into slabs beneath the steepest slopes and pitches of ice.

WEATHER: Bluebird skies, light winds and cold, but tolerable temperatures are playing a siren song today for snow starved backcountry skiers. Single digits above treeline and mid teens below will keep cooling options open for those outside working up a sweat. Northwest winds will gust to 45 mph or higher on the summit with 20-30 mph lower down with a shift to the west happening later in the afternoon or evening.

SNOWPACK: Yesterday’s snow storm delivered 10″ (26 cm) of snow averaging 5.5% water content to Hermit Lake while the summit recorded 12.7″. Generally light winds wrapped from the WSW through the E and finally settling in to blow from the NW through the night. Wind speeds were generally 30-50 mph, gusting into the 60’s for a short period, for 12 hours from 5pm till early this morning. These wind speeds moved the snow around without the typical hammering our snow often gets. As a result, existing wind slabs will more than likely be on the touchy side. That said, many areas have avalanched already and other areas are slowly stabilizing through the day. As a result, some areas are on the lower end of Considerable or even trending toward Moderate. It is conceivable that a human triggered avalanche today could step down into the old persistent slab that is scattered around resulting in a larger, and harder, slab pulling out.

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 8:30 a.m. 2-6-2014. 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

2014-02-06 Print friendly