Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Valid Monday 5/9/2011 – Wednesday 5/11/2011

Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines are under a General Advisory. We have finished using the 5-scale danger rating system for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

Both ravines are now under a “General Advisory” for avalanche conditions; these advisories are in effect for three days or less. We’ll be keeping an eye on the weather, snowpack, and other hazards and updating the advisory if needed. As we would hope you do every day you’re in avalanche terrain, you will need to do your own snow stability assessments. These don’t need to be full depth data pits, but you should be at least thinking about the snowpack even if your assessment takes just a fraction of a second. Looking at the weather for Monday through Wednesday, I don’t see anything at this time that would affect the current snow stability.

Unless a significant weather event takes place, it is the other hazards that should be at the forefront of your mind when traveling into the ravines in late spring. The list of ways one can get seriously injured up here is long. Here are the top few that are unique to springtime conditions you will find in the ravines:

  1. Falling ice has injured and killed many people through the years. The largest ice in Tuckerman 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. Huntington also has icefall potential in numerous areas. Your best defense is to not spend time in areas where ice looms above.
  2. Crevasses have formed in many areas, the largest of these can be found in the Lip, Sluice, and Center Bowl. 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. Crevasse edges are often less stable than they appear, so steer clear of these unless you can safely evaluate their size.
  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 and keep a heads up at the bottom of gullies where the snowpack is thinnest.

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is now closed to all use. This section extends from Lunch Rocks to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail, and includes skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

The top third of the Sherburne Ski Trail is currently open.  This section is riddled with moguls, bare sections, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, take off your skis and walk down the hiking trail. Do not ski on the hiking trail, please.

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.

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

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