Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, 2-14-2012

This advisory expires at midnight, Tuesday 2-14-2012 

Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines have LOW avalanche danger.  Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. The Lower Snowfields and the Little Headwall are not posted due to an overall lack of snow. Forecasts for these locations will begin when conditions warrant.

 After 5 days of very limited snow and high winds we have a generally stable snowpack.  Although there are some isolated pockets to give a second look while you’re traveling in avalanche terrain you will have many good options to enjoy the hills.  Maximum winds of 118 mph yesterday have been the dominate player in beating the slopes into submission, setting up overall hard surface conditions.  A nice day ahead will deliver partly sunny skies and a diminishing wind from the W dropping to 25-40mph (40-65kph).   Later today increasing clouds will begin the chance of snow showers overnight and into tomorrow. These showers are expected to give the high mountains 1-2” (2.5-5cm) by the time they shut down.  The rest of the week ahead will be rather mild and potentially bleak for lovers of winter.   Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all have a chance for moisture with evening temperatures going below freezing at all elevations; and days likely going above freezing, at least in lower avalanche terrain.  We are hoping for the best, but I have to say it, we will be flirting with rain. Valley temperatures will be in the mid forties each day with the high summits in the mid twenties Fahrenheit.  The flipside potential to the rain scenario is picking up a little snow each day as models seem to show a steep temperature gradient between the lowlands and the upper peaks of the Presidentials.  Cross your fingers and be ready for a slight rise in avalanche danger and snow instabilities.

Expect foot travel to be a mixed bag of staying on top due to hard crusts and steel slab styrofoam, or breaking through the surface down in the trees or in protected lee areas that were protected from high winds.  Expect the Sherburne ski trail to be a bit rugged this week with some rain and freezing nights.  In addition, although we put it off as long as we could, we needed to do some supply hauling for all facilities on the mountain, which has forced us onto the ski trail with our snowcat.  We typically wait and travel on the hiking trail but we are so far from being able to do this, due to thin cover, we can no longer hedge our bets.  We picked a grim week with hard conditions so we wouldn’t make much of an impact on skiing quality.  This resupply may occur at random in the near future, but we will always be thinking about the impact on “good skiing” if it actually returns.                              

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.  
  • Posted 8:45a.m. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2012-02-14 Print Version