Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, December, 28, 2016

This advisory expires at midnight.

All forecast areas in Huntington and Tuckerman Ravine have LOW avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: The avalanche problem today will be developing Wind Slab. This morning, these are almost nonexistent. Depending on what snow falls today, we may see these wind slabs grow in size, but expect them to remain isolated and easy to avoid by staying on the melt-freeze crust that formed during yesterday’s warm spell. The potential for long, sliding falls will be more of a threat throughout the day. Crampons and an ice axe will be crucial to safe travel.

WEATHER: Monday night and Tuesday brought warm temperatures and rain to the mountain. Yesterday, temperatures steadily declined ending the day with a trace of new snow. West and NW winds today in the 45-60mph range will decrease slightly.  We may see up to 2” of new snow today from lingering moisture. The big story is the upcoming 48 hours and the developing Nor’easter. Several models are calling for 24” along with strong winds.

SNOWPACK: Our snowpack hit the reset button yesterday. A ¼” of water percolated into the snow. This fell lightly and over an extended period of time, allowing the snowpack time to adjust to a new load.  Yesterday’s drop in temperature created a very firm snow surface.  Keep in mind that this firm potentially slick surface will become a bed surface after Thursday’s storm.  Light snow today will form small pockets under terrain features, but these will be easy to identify when compared to the dirty old surface.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open and the most direct route to the summit from the east side of the mountain. The bridge that is still under construction on Tuckerman Ravine Trail now allows traffic making this the preferred hiking route to gain elevation from Pinkham. Please be careful of construction debris near the top crossover when descending the Sherburne Trail and be on the lookout for heavy equipment as work continues.

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 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 28, 2016. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Helon Hoffer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716