Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, 2-22-2012

This advisory expires at midnight Wednesday 2-22-2012

Tuckerman Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger.  The Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. The Lobster Claw, Right Gully, Left Gully, and Hillman’s Highway 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.

All forecast areas of Huntington Ravine have LOW avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features.

As a Snow Ranger I must say I’m a little embarrassed to be this excited about the next few days of snow, but it’s been so lean this season I should just let a little joy happen.  A trace to 2” today, 1-3” tonight, and 1-3” tomorrow may be followed by a whopping boot top 5” on Friday!  This doesn’t measure up to a hard hitting storm, however the day to day amounts can add up if we see the higher end of snow expectations.  Well…. back to today.  A trace to 2” (5cm) of snow is forecasted for daylight hours today delivered on W winds blowing at 45 to 60mph (72-97kph) gusting over 70mph (112kph) this afternoon.  In areas posted at Low you should expect isolated pockets of instability to develop in strong lee terrain features especially in east facing aspects and some other cross loaded locations.  As winds begin to peak this afternoon many of these locales in the direct lee will be hedging close to Moderate if we hit the 2” mark.  However, the Low definition stating “isolated terrain features” capture the developing pockets of instability fairly well.  Areas posted at Moderate yesterday continue to be labeled as such today due to the slabs already in place that we’ve been watching; and today’s new precipitation will effect the Sluice over to the Chute in Tuckerman more than other locations.  Upslope snow and a number of systems will give the higher summits a cloak of clouds and precipitation into the weekend.  Of course we’ll have to see how actual accumulations shake out, but don’t be surprised to see a mix of Moderate and Considerable danger ratings over the next few days.    

In addition to the development of avalanche conditions the other dominate hazard is the hard icy conditions that prevail in locations posted at Low.  Crampons, an ice ax and good self arrest skills are necessary for safe travel.  Many fall lines are peppered with rocks, brush and other unfortunate body stoppers so consider your travel routes well and think about who might fall above you this busy holiday week.   

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 8:25a.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

2012-02-22 Print Version