Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

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 traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Snow stability will remain very good today. You’ll need to pay attention to other hazards today in order to play it safe.

FALLING ICE: The threat of falling ice remains high today. Massive blocks still sit on the center headwall cliffs and above Lunch Rocks, in the Sluice. We do not recommend spending time beneath areas with ice overhead. Many people have been seriously injured or killed in the past from falling ice.

CREVASSES: The threat of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, other locations may have cracks opening up as well. Some of these are deep and wide, so a 200lb human with skis or a board who happens upon the wrong spot might easily fall into the depths of the snowpack. While it can be very easy to fall in, getting out is going to be a whole lot more challenging, even if you are uninjured from the fall. Your best bet is to avoid areas with the greatest crevasse hazards such as the Lip and the bootpack ascending this route.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard is a problem where the snowpack has a stream of meltwater running underneath it. Typical areas include Hillman’s Highway, Right Gully, and Lobster Claw, although you will also face significantly undermined areas if you attempt to ride down the streambed in the direction of the Little Headwall.

The Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. Many people try to find their way toward the Lower Snowfields in hopes of not taking their skis off any earlier than necessary. While it may be possible to do this, it is not easy nor without hazards. You will find it much quicker and enjoyable to remove your skis at the bottom of your run and walk the hiking trail down to Hermit Lake. From there, the Sherburne Ski Trail is open to the uppermost crossover. You’ll need to walk the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from there down to Pinkham. Yes, it’s that time of year when you might as well just pack up your skis for the day at the floor of Tuckerman.

WEATHER: Yawn. Can winter come back soon, please? This stretch of warm sunny weather is growing old already. Overnight low temperatures have not been below freezing for several days at the ravine elevations and below. Today will be another warm day, well above freezing in the ravine. Don’t expect the clouds to shade your eyes or block the UV rays. Bring your helmet with visor, sunglasses, and heavy duty sunscreen.

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 Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 6, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713