Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:15a.m., Friday, May 06, 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.

A light dusting of snow is all we got yesterday. The summit recorded 1.8″ (4.5cm) of new snow, which is barely enough to obscure some of the old surface around the ravine. Temperatures will rebound today, rising above the freezing mark during the day and staying there through tomorrow. Meanwhile, winds will decrease to 35-50mph (55-80kph). Looking at the forecasts, I would expect today to be a reasonable day to spend in the mountains, but Saturday rain showers are likely which will make staying comfortable a lot more challenging. If you are out today, expect surfaces to be very icy to start the day. A fall on the icy slopes can be a bad way to end your day. Be patient and you should be rewarded with softer surfaces to slide on.

The snowpack has been going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards have become more widespread.  This week the decay continued, albeit at a much less rapid pace than we’ve seen recently. With the return of warm sun today and rain tomorrow you’ll need to pay attention to the following springtime hazards:

  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, Sluice, and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. Other areas 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. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations where ice looms above. 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.

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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