Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:00am Tuesday May 3, 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.

Balmy temperatures begin the day after a night with no dip below the freezing mark even at the summit.  The mercury is expected to hold steady with the ravines registering somewhere around 50F (10C) today.  Though the air will keep the upper layers of the snowpack soft, clouds and rain will lower the day’s score on the Mt Washington quality and enjoyment scale.  Wear your rain gear and be conservative when visibility is low.  The snowpack is going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards are becoming more widespread.  When clouds and fog limit your visibility it becomes more difficult to pick out the following:

  1. Falling Ice is a serious hazard on warm and rainy 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 of 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 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 and running water 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. The open section is better than hiking but is riddled with moguls, bare spots, rocks and ice.  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.

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

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