Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 7:10am Monday May 2, 2011

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

Today’s weather will start as a repeat of yesterday, with warm sun and clear skies. Eventually the summits will become obscured in fog, but probably not until later in the afternoon. It’s a good day to be the early bird in the ravine. The recent changes in our snowpack have quickly exacerbated the traditional springtime hazards you’ll face:

  1. Falling Ice is a serious hazard on warm days like today. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations that are subject to falling ice. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. There are better locations to park yourself farther down in the ravine. If you are in the Center Bowl area, you’d be wise to keep moving and not linger long in any location where ice can fall in your direction. Over the years we’ve seen far too many serious injuries from falling ice; you don’t want firsthand experience of how this feels!
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. The Sluice and Chute also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow with running water underneath can ruin your day if you break through. Snow bridges will be further weakened by the warm weather today, so avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the open waterfall and very large crevasses. Each season the Tuckerman Ravine trail through this area is closed due to the unique nature of these objective hazards. This week we’ll continue to have more warm weather and rain, so we may reach the point where this closure will take effect before next weekend.

The Sherburne Trail is open a little farther than halfway down. After the closure rope, please walk down the hiking trail for 1 mile to the parking lot.

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

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