Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 7:40a.m., Thursday, May 05, 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.

Just because it’s snowing on the mountain this morning doesn’t mean you should drop everything and jump in the car. Nope, today actually has a nasty raw feeling to it, kind of like a cold November day. If you’re heading up this way, be sure to check the weather forecast for the higher summits and pack and plan accordingly. Temperatures are falling into the 20sF (-6C), meanwhile winds will be picking up through the day reaching around 40mph (64kph) by dusk. Throw some wet snow into the thick fog and you can imagine what the conditions will be like. Snow accumulations today might be limited to around an inch (2.5cm), or they might get as deep as 4” (10cm). This won’t be enough to break the streak of Low danger ratings today, but it might be just enough for the unwelcome “dust on crust” scenario to unfold. With temperatures as low as they are, expect the snow surfaces to be very icy and slick. Long sliding or tumbling falls are a real threat today. Poor visibility will limit your ability to see all the hazards, such as the large crevasse or rocks that might be in your fall line.

The snowpack has been going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards have become more widespread.  When clouds, fog, and snow limit your visibility it becomes more important to choose your routes carefully:

  1. 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. We expect this closure will take effect near the start of this weekend.
  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 often hides running water below and it can quickly ruin your day if you break through. Avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Falling Ice is a serious hazard each season, but will be put on the back burner until temperatures heat up again later in the weekend.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is currently open a little farther than halfway down. The open section is riddled with moguls, bare spots, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, please walk down the hiking 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.
  • 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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