Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:00 a.m., Friday, April 15, 2011

All forecast areas of Tuckerman Ravine have 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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

From a distance it looks like a beautiful sunny spring-like day, and for the most part that’s true. The weather forecast does include sunny skies and decreasing wind speeds. However, beware of the icy crust! At the start of the day all surfaces will begin as a hard and very slick ice crust. Temperatures will be a little bit chillier than what’s required to soften up the snow surfaces all around the ravine. If we’re lucky enough, south-facing aspects such as Lobster Claw and Right Gully will get enough solar radiation to penetrate the first couple inches of the snowpack. This is one of those borderline days where the possibility of warmth exists, but you’ll need to play the aspects carefully and conservatively, and always expect the next turn to be icier than the last. It will also be important today to have crampons and an ice axe and be skilled in their use. Long sliding falls should be in the forefront of your mind today.

Two other things we want you to be aware of today are the waterfall hole and how to best descend from the Bowl. Every year when the waterfall hole opens up, we see people skiing dangerously close to it. Occasionally someone falls in. Historically most people who fall into this hole don’t get rescued, they get “recovered”. You risk death or severe hypothermia by approaching too closely to this hole. Do yourself a favor and give it a wide berth, especially since you will have a hard time stopping a sliding fall. Remember to assess what’s in your fall line regardless of where you are; most areas have something or other below them you wouldn’t want to slide into.

Exiting the Bowl is no longer possible to do without taking off your skis for at least a short distance above the cache. Below the rescue cache the streambed has snow for a short stretch, the you’ll need to head off into the trees to avoid the open water sections of the brook and Little Headwall. Use caution if you choose to descend on skis rather than on the hiking trail. If you have questions, please ask someone who works here, such as a Snow Ranger or caretaker. The Sherburne has almost complete coverage. There are some bare spots here there, as well as some large spring moguls to navigate. Later today check our website for the Weekend Update.

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. 
  • This advisory expires at midnight. 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