Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, 4-24-2012

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight, April 24, 2012

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. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

Once again the mountain shrouded in thick fog. Yesterday’s rain was pretty incredible, with local rivers seeing their highest levels since Tropical Storm Irene last summer. At one point during the morning I saw an entire tree floating down the Peabody River near Dolly Copp Campground. The difference in today’s weather is that the upper elevations have gone below freezing, which will make for some hard icy conditions wherever there is snow. Good mountaineering skills and equipment are highly recommended for travel on steep snow. Current weather will prevent you from being able to see the hazards in your runout, so a long sliding fall is to be avoided at all costs. It’s amazing how disorienting the fog can be above treeline, so bring your map and compass and be prepared for some orienteering challenges to stay on route.

ICEFALL will continue to be a significant issue until it has all come down. Many people have been injured or killed through the years by falling ice. A number of people had some very close calls earlier this week. Although we often think of the worst case scenario of Lunch Rocks being blasted by a school bus size chunk, it’s worth remembering that even a small piece of ice impacting you at high speed can cause a lot of damage. Ice and rock has been falling from a variety of locations, including the less common areas such as Left Gully, the Chute, and Right Gully. You don’t need to go far to be at risk. Presently, if you’ve reached the snow line in the floor, you’re within striking distance of icefall!

CREVASSES AND UNDERMINED SNOW exist in many areas. These were made worse by the hefty rainfall over the past couple days. Always climb up what you plan on descending so you can assess the hazards at a more leisurely pace.  The Lip and Headwall have the largest crevasses but smaller slots have grown in the Sluice, Left Headwall, and the Chute. Undermining or running water has increased the collapse hazards near holes, rock and crevasses as well.  The lower sections of Hillman’s Highway have become discontinuous due the snowpack collapsing near the exposed rocks.

THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS CLOSED TO ALL USE FROM LUNCH ROCKS TO THE JUNCTION WITH THE ALPINE GARDEN TRAIL. This includes the Lip area as well as this section of the hiking trail. The trail to the floor of the ravine is open, as is the section from the summit down to the Alpine Garden junction. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. The John Sherburne Ski trail is also closed to all use.

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, the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • 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

2012-04-24 Print friendly