Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:15a.m., Monday, January 17, 2011

Tuckerman Ravine: Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully have LOW avalanche danger.  Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely in these areas but you’ll need to watch for pockets of instability on isolated terrain features.  All other forecast areas in Tuckerman have MODERATE avalanche danger.  Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible.  Evaluate the snow and terrain carefully if venturing out into these areas. The Lower Snowfields and Little Headwall are not posted due to a lack of snow.

Huntington Ravine: Central Gully has MODERATE avalanche danger.  Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible. All other forecast areas in Huntington have Low avalanche danger.  Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely in these areas but you’ll need to watch for pockets of instability on isolated terrain features.  The Escape Hatch is not posted due to a lack of a snow.

Despite being in the clouds and blowing snow for all of yesterday the mountain picked up very little accumulation.  Less than 1” (2.5cm) fell in most locations but steady winds relocated much of the older snow that had been hanging around semi-protected areas above treeline.  Winds blew out of the W for much of the past 24 hours and blowing snow was reported at the summit during all hourly observations until early this morning.  Yesterday’s average wind speed was 53mph (85kph) but we’re now on the decline and expecting a drop to 30mph (48kph) as the day rolls along and winds hold out of the WNW.  Bluebird skies are allowing us to pick out some good visual clues and I’ve been watching a steady stream of low blowing snow pour into the start zones of the Lip and Sluice.  These areas create the most concern today and their smooth surface is indicative of recent windloading.  Just beside the Lip, the Center Bowl provides clues that less loading has occurred in the area even though it was in the direct lee of W winds.  While the Lip is on the upper end of the Moderate rating the Center Bowl is on the lower end.  Farther around the Bowl, Left Gully got blasted by the wind in the top of the gully but the bottom half has wind pillows that I’d keep an eye on.  Huntington is very similar to Left Gully in that most areas were scoured or received stabilizing benefits from recent winds.  Although most areas are rated as Low today you’ll still need to be alert for isolated instabilities such as below the ice in Pinnacle Gully.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is loving life after the last round of snow.  Many visitors have been enjoying its offerings but keep an eye out for buried hazards.  Things were grim before the storm so think light thoughts and graceful turns.  If you’re thinking of heading to the summit in the coming days keep an eye on the advisory as we’ll soon be switching to the Lion Head Winter Route and we’ll keep you posted.

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 or the Harvard Cabin.

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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