General Advisory for Monday, May 28, 2012

This is the final advisory for the 2011-2012 season. This General Advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this summer. Certain hazards will persist in the ravine until complete melt out; please read below if you are heading into Tuckerman Ravine. The potential consequences can range from minor to severe, but remember that even a minor injury in a backcountry location can be a big problem 

The melting snowpack creates very dangerous undermined snow and crevasses. Be aware that some features, such as snow bridges and the edges of the snowpack, may be much weaker than they appear. There is no good way to know just how strong the snow is, so we recommend staying away from the edges and sticking to firmly supported, thick snow. 

Falling rock and ice continues to take place, even though most of the winter ice has already fallen. Always pay attention to what is above you and be thinking about what you would do if a chunk were to fall above you. This is true even for hikers on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, where you will be hiking just downhill of a couple large blocks of snow sitting in steep terrain. 

Late season snowstorms are not uncommon. If we get a significant snow event, unstable snow may exist on the remaining patches of old snow in the ravine. Be prepared to assess stability yourself if this should happen. 

The entire Tuckerman Ravine Trail is now open. Each year a section through the ravine is closed due to dangerous snow conditions, usually lasting until late June or early July. Thin winter snow coverage and warm spring temperatures have allowed us to open the trail earlier than usual.

The Mount Washington Avalanche Center would like to sincerely thank all the groups who have helped us in various ways throughout the season. The Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol deserves special recognition for the amount of time they have given to help keep visitors well-informed and safe. We will begin forecasting again next fall, when the mountain is once again covered in snow and ice.

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.
  • For more information contact the U.S. Forest Service, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2012-05-28 Print Friendly

General Advisory for Saturday, May 26, 2012

Unless updated this advisory expires at midnight, Monday, 5-28-2012.

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. 

Be aware that conditions in Tuckerman Ravine at this time of the year are changing rapidly, and through this transition season there are numerous hazards you should be aware of. Take a few moments here to get to know these problems, and you’ll be much less likely to fall victim to one. The potential consequences can range from minor to severe, but remember that even a minor injury in a backcountry location can be a big problem.

  •  Undermined snow is very dangerous, particularly in the bottom of Tuckerman Ravine. Numerous streams and water channels run underneath the snowpack, and the snow bridges over the top of them are very thin in some places. A prominent example of this is in the floor of Tuckerman, as you approach Lunch Rocks. Below an eggshell of snow might be a 10 foot drop into a rocky streambed, so pay attention to where you’re walking and if you must walk on snow, stay on thick, strong snow.
  • Crevasses have opened up in a lot of locations. This hazard will mostly affect people heading into steeper snow-covered terrain. The majority of these are in the Center Bowl, Lip, and Sluice areas. Falling into one of these can be fatal, so again, pay attention to where you’re climbing or skiing.
  • Falling ice and rock has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do when something falls from above. The main icefall issues can be found from the center and left side of the Headwall.
  • Long sliding falls on steep snow are also common in late spring. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common ways people hurt themselves. If you’re climbing steep snow, be sure you have the equipment and skill necessary to stop your fall if you should slip.

 Tuckerman Ravine Trail Closure

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use. The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and includes the Lip area.  The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out and the severity of consequences should you fall. The Lion Head Trail is one alternative route to the summit. If you use motorized access to the summit of Mt. Washington, attempting to descend into the ravine through any route is not recommended. You will not be aware of the hazards below. 

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 caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

General Advisory for Wednesday, 5-23-2012

Unless updated this advisory expires at midnight, Friday 5-25-2012

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer.

Snow conditions in Tuckerman Ravine at this time of the year are changing rapidly.  Through this transition season towards summer there are numerous hazards you should be aware of so you can avoid them.  The potential consequences to these hazards can range from minor to severe, but remember that even a minor injury in a backcountry location can be a big problem.  Assure you have read the latest summit weather forecast before heading up the mountain.

Undermined snow is very dangerous, particularly in the bottom of Tuckerman Ravine. Numerous streams and water channels run underneath the snowpack, and the snow bridges over the top of them are very thin in some places. A prominent example of this is in the floor of Tuckerman, as you approach Lunch Rocks. Below an eggshell of snow might be a 10 foot drop into a rocky streambed, so pay attention to where you’re walking and if you must walk on snow, stay on thick, strong snow.

Crevasses have opened up in a lot of locations. This hazard will mostly affect people heading into steeper snow-covered terrain. The majority of these are in the Center Bowl, Lip, and Sluice areas. Falling into one of these can result in the severest of consequences. Pay attention to where you’re climbing or skiing.

Falling ice and rock has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do when something falls from above. The main icefall issues can be found from the center and left side of the Headwall.

Long sliding falls on steep snow are also common in late spring. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common ways people hurt themselves. If you’re climbing steep snow, be sure you have the equipment and skill necessary to stop your fall if you should slip.

Tuckerman Ravine Trail Closure

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use. The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and includes the Lip area. The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out and the severity of consequences should you fall. The Lion Head Trail is one alternative route to the summit. If you use motorized access to the summit of Mt. Washington, attempting to descend into the ravine through any route is not recommended. You will not be aware of the hazards below.

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 caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest

5-23-2012 Print Version

General Advisory for Sunday, 5-20-2012

Unless updated, this advisory expires at 12:00 midnight Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. 

Be aware that conditions in Tuckerman Ravine at this time of the year are changing rapidly, and through this transition season there are numerous hazards you should be aware of. Take a few moments here to get to know these problems, and you’ll be much less likely to fall victim to one. The potential consequences can range from minor to severe, but remember that even a minor injury in a backcountry location can be a big problem.

  •  Undermined snow is very dangerous, particularly in the bottom of Tuckerman Ravine. Numerous streams and water channels run underneath the snowpack, and the snow bridges over the top of them are very thin in some places. A prominent example of this is in the floor of Tuckerman, as you approach Lunch Rocks. Below an eggshell of snow might be a 10 foot drop into a rocky streambed, so pay attention to where you’re walking and if you must walk on snow, stay on thick, strong snow.
  • Crevasses have opened up in a lot of locations. This hazard will mostly affect people heading into steeper snow-covered terrain. The majority of these are in the Center Bowl, Lip, and Sluice areas. Falling into one of these can be fatal, so again, pay attention to where you’re climbing or skiing.
  • Falling ice and rock has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do when something falls from above. The main icefall issues can be found from the center and left side of the Headwall.
  • Long sliding falls on steep snow are also common in late spring. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common ways people hurt themselves. If you’re climbing steep snow, be sure you have the equipment and skill necessary to stop your fall if you should slip.

 Tuckerman Ravine Trail Closure

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use. The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and includes the Lip area.  The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out and the severity of consequences should you fall. The Lion Head Trail is one alternative route to the summit. If you use motorized access to the summit of Mt. Washington, attempting to descend into the ravine through any route is not recommended. You will not be aware of the hazards below. 

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 caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

  2012-05-20 print friendly

 

General Advisory for Saturday 5-19-2012

A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours.  Unless updated this advisory expires at midnight Monday, 5-21-2012.

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer.

A sunny weekend is forecasted for the region which should make most mountain activities quite enjoyable.  Being a vacation weekend for our neighbors to the north, we expect many travelers in the alpine zone on Saturday and Sunday.  Although the weather may tempt you to carry a fairly light pack, be prepared for the unexpected with the needed gear for a safe mountain day.  Overall, snow conditions continue to deteriorate, but there is still some skiable snow in a few areas. Left Gully is one such location; it has the longest continuous snowfield at this time, but expect to do some bush-whacking. The lower Sluice area is another option. The usual late season hazards are prominent in the ravine. Be aware of these, and take appropriate measures to keep yourself safe.  The most common springtime hazards include:

*Crevasses. Since crevasses are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above give them plenty of room. Snow bridges at the edges of crevasses and over other undermined areas are also going to be weak, so there is potential for falling through into a hole.

*Undermined Snow. In locations where water runs underneath the snow, the surface snow may be thinner than you’d expect, and more likely to collapse under your weight.  The flats of the Ravine floor and up towards Lunch Rocks are a good example of this.  As you transition to the snow from the trail, watch for numerous thin areas and holes.  The consequences of undermining around the Ravine range from minor, such as a wet foot to more severe injuries or worse if you plunge through in the wrong location.

*Falling ice and rock. This hazard has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do if and when something falls from above. The main icefall issues can be found from the center and left side of the Headwall.

*Long sliding falls. The month of May often brings warm days and cold nights, which can change the surface conditions of the snow very quickly from soft to icy hard. Even on warm days age hardening can make random locations very firm.  At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common mechanisms of injury.

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use.  The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and includes the Lip area.  The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out and the severity of consequences should you fall. The Lion Head Trail is one alternative route to the summit.

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 caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2012-05-19 Print Version

General Advisory for Wednesday 5-16-2012

A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrent or within 72 hours.  Unless updated this advisory expires at midnight Friday, 5-18-2012.

 This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer.

Wednesday should be the last day of wet weather this week, but it will likely be the most severe.  Showers and some thunder can be expected particularly in the afternoon.  As the cold front approaches later on Wednesday some hail, heavy bursts of rain and some lightning is possible.  A clearing trend with sunny skies will then commence on Thursday and through the weekend.  Overall snow conditions continue to deteriorate, but there is still some skiable snow in a small handful of areas. Left Gully is one such location; it has the longest continuous snowfield at this time. The lower Sluice area is another option. The usual late season hazards are currently very prominent in the ravine. Be aware of these, and take appropriate measures to keep yourself safe. The most common springtime hazards include:

*Crevasses. These have grown very large many numerous locations. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Snow bridges at the edges of crevasses and over other undermined areas are also going to be weak, so there is potential for falling through into a hole.

*Undermined Snow. In location where water runs underneath the snow, the surface snow may be thinner than you’d expect, and more likely to collapse under your weight. The consequences here range from minor, such as a wet foot to more severe injuries or worse if you plunge through in the wrong location.

*Falling ice and rock. This hazard has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do if and when something falls from above. The greatest ice hazard is currently from the center and left side of the Headwall.

*Long sliding falls. The month of May often brings warm days and cold nights, which can change the surface conditions of the snow very quickly from soft to icy hard. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common mechanisms of injury.

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use.  The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and includes the Lip area.  The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out and the severity of consequences should you fall. The Lion Head Trail is one alternative route to the summit.

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 caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger USDA Forest Service White Mountain National Forest

5-16-2012 Print Version

General Advisory for Sunday, 5-13-2012

A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. Unless updated this advisory expires at 12:00 midnight Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer.

The weather forecast for the next few days doesn’t look promising. Rain showers and fog will begin on Sunday afternoon and persist throughout the early part of the week. Be prepared for low visibility, and if going above treeline, don’t forget your map and compass. Overall snow conditions are continuing to deteriorate, but there is still skiable snow in a small handful of areas. Left Gully is one such location; it has the longest continuous snowfield at this time. The lower Sluice area is another option. The usual late season hazards are currently very prominent in the ravine. Be aware of these, and take appropriate measures to keep yourself safe.

The most common springtime hazards include:

  • Crevasses. These have grown very large many numerous locations. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Snow bridges at the edges of crevasses and over other undermined areas are also going to be weak, so there is potential for falling through into a hole.
  • Undermined Snow. In location where water runs underneath the snow, the surface snow may be thinner than you’d expect, and more likely to collapse under your weight. The consequences here range from minor, such as a wet foot and maybe some embarrassment, to more severe injuries or even death if you plunge through in the wrong location.
  • Falling ice and rock. This hazard has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do if and when something falls from above. The greatest ice hazard is currently from the center and left side of the Headwall.
  • Long sliding falls. The month of May often brings warm days and cold nights, which can change the surface conditions of the snow very quickly from soft to icy hard. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common mechanisms of injury.

A section of Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use. The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail, and includes the Lip area. The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out and the severity of consequences should you fall. The Lion Head Trail is one alternative route to the summit.

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 caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2012-05-13 print friendly

 Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

General Advisory for Saturday, 5-12-2011

A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. Unless updated this advisory expires at 12:00 midnight Sunday, May 13, 2012.

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer.

Rain, snow, and fog one day…clear, sunny, and warm the next. Yes, the month of May is clearly one of change. And, on Mt. Washington, the weather and snow conditions can change rapidly and frequently during this inconstant month. It’s been a wet rainy week in the ravines, with a small amount of wet snow falling on Thursday night. Overall conditions are continuing to deteriorate, but there is still skiable snow in a small handful of areas. Left Gully is one such location; it has the longest continuous snow at this time. The usual late season hazards are currently very prominent in the ravine. Be aware of these, and take appropriate measures to keep yourself safe. The most common springtime hazards include:

  • Crevasses. These have grown very large many numerous locations. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Snow bridges at the edges of crevasses and over other undermined areas are also going to be weak, so there is potential for falling through into a hole.
  • Falling ice and rock. This hazard has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do if and when something falls from above. The greatest ice hazard is currently from the center and left side of the Headwall.
  • Long sliding falls. The month of May often brings warm days and cold nights, which can change the surface conditions of the snow very quickly from soft to icy hard. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common mechanisms of injury.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail, where it climbs through the ravine, is closed to all use. The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail, and includes the Lip area. Only this section of trail is closed. The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. 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. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail. 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, or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2012-05-12 print friendly

General Advisory for Friday 5-11-2012

A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. Unless updated this advisory expires at 12:00 midnight Sunday, May 13, 2012.

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer.

Rain, snow, and fog one day…clear, sunny, and warm the next. Yes, the month of May is clearly one of change. And, on Mt. Washington, the weather and snow conditions can change rapidly and frequently during this inconstant month. It’s been a wet rainy week in the ravines, with a small amount of wet snow falling on Thursday night. Overall conditions are continuing to deteriorate, but there is still skiable snow in a small handful of areas. Left Gully is one such location. The usual late season hazards are currently very prominent in the ravine. Be aware of these, and take appropriate measures to keep yourself safe. The most common springtime hazards include:

  • Crevasses. These have grown very large many numerous locations. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Snow bridges at the edges of crevasses and over other undermined areas are also going to be weak, so there is potential for falling through into a hole.
  • Falling ice and rock. This hazard has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do if and when something falls from above. The greatest ice hazard is currently from the center and left side of the Headwall.
  • Long sliding falls. The month of May often brings warm days and cold nights, which can change the surface conditions of the snow very quickly from soft to icy hard. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common mechanisms of injury.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail, where it climbs through the ravine, is closed to all use. The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail, and includes the Lip area. Only this section of trail is closed. The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. 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. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail. 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, or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2012-05-11 print friendly

General Advisory for 5-8-2012

A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. Unless updated this advisory expires at 12:00 midnight Thursday, May 10, 2012.

This is a late-season General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain under a general advisory. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer.

Overall conditions in Tuckerman Ravine are deteriorating, and the rain falling today and through the rest of the week certainly won’t help preserve what’s left. The snowpack that remains has settled out and is quite stable; however, late season snow may still create new stability problems where it falls onto larger snowfields. In addition to any new snow that falls, heavy rains may overload drainage channels, blow out running water from beneath the snow, and cause a wet snow avalanche. The weather for this week is not looking pretty. Rain and fog can be expected throughout the next few days. These conditions will make the springtime hazards worse, and the low visibility may prevent you from getting a good look at the hazard potential. The most prominent spring hazards include:

  • Crevasses. These have grown very large many numerous locations. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above. Snow bridges at the edges of crevasses and over other undermined areas are also going to be weak, so there is potential for falling through into a hole.
  • Falling ice and rock. This hazard has seriously injured and killed many people over the years. You will want to always be alert to what is above you, and have a plan in mind for what you’ll do if and when something falls from above. The greatest ice hazard is currently from the center and left side of the Headwall.
  • Long sliding falls. The month of May often brings warm days and cold nights, which can change the surface conditions of the snow very quickly from soft to icy hard. At this point in the season, there are no steep snow surfaces without obstacles in the fall line. Sliding into rocks, ice chunks, trees, crevasses, etc. all are common mechanisms of injury.

A section of Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use. The closed area spans from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail, and includes the Lip area. The trail is open from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine, and from the summit down to the Alpine Garden Trail. 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. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail. 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, or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2012-05-08

 

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday 5-06-2012

A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrent or within 72 hours. Unless updated this advisory expires at 12:00 midnight Tuesady, May 8, 2012.

We are done using the U.S. 5 scale danger rating system for the remainder of the season. The 5 scale (low thru extreme) system will be reinstated next season when needed. A GENERAL ADVISORY will be in effect for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines until complete melt out later this spring/summer.  A new advisory will be issued when needed or within 72 hours of the last issuance.  This is due to very little change in conditions from day to day on the mountain.  The snow coverage that is left has settled out, been skier compacted, and is going thru the late season melt-freeze process. However, the numerous large snowfields may make for a good sliding surface for late season snow.  May snowstorms are not an unheard of occurrence on Mt. Washington. Be prepared for the possibility of new snow instability if this occurs. Also watch for the possibility of sustained warm weather and/or heavy rain to blow out running water from beneath the snow. This has caused wet slush avalanches in Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines in the past. You will need to put your avalanche skills to work for these late season hazards. Be prepared to do your own snow stability assessments if entering avalanche terrain on Mount Washington.

After sun dominating the weather on Sunday and Monday the week looks generally wet.   Beginning Tuesday, a day in the mountains will require being prepared for rain.  Summit temperatures getting below freezing may occasionally trigger either mixed precipitation or some snow.  Fog will likely be an issue as well, which increases your risk to objective hazards.  You won’t be able to see ice coming or recognize all the crevasse and terrain issues you should identify before attempting a run.   

Spring weather has increased the deterioration rate of hanging ice, snow bridges near crevasses, and the edges near waterfall holes. Everything from undermined snow on the floor of the Ravine, crevasses across the Ravine walls and falling ice is causing a threat.   The greatest ice hazard is from the Center and Left Headwall, but smaller ice has come from other places as well.  A very large set of rocks to hide behind will mitigate ice risk if you plan on sitting or resting for a while.  The interior sections of Lunch Rocks have become a reasonable place to be since the vast majority of the ice above has fallen.  A plan to ski or ride on the hard left in the southern end of the Ravine near Left gully or hard right in the Sluice towards the upper Lunch Rocks will keep you further away from more objective hazards in the Center Bowl.  Hillman’s Highway is getting very thin with numerous breaks in snow continuity and rocks poking through the surface.   As melt out continues, an increasing hazard is more terrain features and rocks to collide with in case of a fall.  With these objects being exposed, constrictions being narrower, and run outs ending on 30-40 degree slopes a fall into these immoveable structures is more likely.  Late in the season, skier falls into the rocks are our most common injury maker.  

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. 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 trail from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine is open, as is the section above the Ravine from the Alpine Garden Trail junction to the summit. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail.  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, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.  A new advisory will be issued when warranted.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest

2012-05-06

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday 5-5-2012

This advisory expires at midnight, Saturday 5-5-2012

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. 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.   After the weekend we will be moving to a General Advisory for both Ravines which will be valid for up to 3 days per issuance.  Advisories will then discuss general hazards and conditions, but not daily specifics.  You will need to do your own snow stability assessments and daily weather investigation when this begins.

The incoming high pressure is giving the moist air a slow nudge to move out this morning. Yesterday the summit received an inch (2.54cm) of rain from this departing weather maker. Fog and the potential for a shower or two will linger through the a.m. hours before we witness clearing conditions later today.  This limited visibility, created by the fog, will exacerbate the spring hazard problems in the Ravine.  You won’t be able to see ice coming or recognize all the crevasse and terrain issues you should identify before attempting a run.  Take any clearing weather opportunities to give the Ravine’s terrain some focused attention.  Quickly try to determine where ice is hanging, where open holes loom, and where crevasses are located before fog rolls back in.  A plan to stay hard left in the southern end of the Ravine near Left gully will offer the least amount of these objective hazards.  Eventually today, clear visibility will offer you the ability to do a good terrain, crevasse, and hanging ice analysis.  Use this opportunity to evaluate everything you might encounter in your intended run.  As melt out continues an increasing hazard is more terrain features and rocks to collide with in case of a fall.  With these objects being exposed, constrictions being narrower, and run outs ending on 30-40 degree slopes a fall into these immoveable structures is more likely.  So think through your activity, visualize the different potential outcomes if things don’t go as planned and make changes to your travel route appropriately. 

Rain and above freezing temperatures this week has increased the deterioration rate and rotting of any leftover hanging ice, snow bridges near crevasses, and the edges of holes. You won’t be able to see most of these threats in the fog this morning, so your best bet is to avoid the areas where these problems dominate such as in Center Bowl over to the Sluice.  Again, warmth will create ideal conditions for falling ice! For the most continuous snow coverage and the fewest objective hazards, head to Left Gully. From the Chute across to the Sluice you’ll be dealing with increased icefall potential and crevasses. Hillman’s Highway is getting thinner with numerous breaks and rocks poking through.  The lowest portion has become discontinuous due to melt out and undermining.

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. 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 trail from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine is open, as is the section above the Ravine from the Alpine Garden Trail junction to the summit. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail.  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, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin.  A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest

5-5-2012 Print Friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, 5-4-2012

This advisory expires at midnight, Friday 5-4-2012

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. 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.   After the weekend we will be moving to a General Advisory for both Ravines which will be valid for up to 3 days per issuance.  Advisories will then discuss general hazards and conditions, but not daily specifics.  You will need to do your own snow stability assessments and daily weather investigation when this begins.

Well it looks like rain will dominate our existence on the mountain for another day.  A rumble or two of thunder is expected today with between 0.7” and 1.0” of rain delivered mostly through the morning and early afternoon.  A high pressure system will start to poke at the low pressure rain bully that has taken over the neighborhood beginning tonight.  Overnight rain will dissipate to showers with some clearing developing tomorrow offering only a slight chance of showers before the second half of the weekend brightens with the sun.  The high pressure should bring in cooler temperatures with the upper elevations dropping back into the 30’s F, adding a brisk feel to the May air.  In addition to the typical spring hazards discussed below being exacerbated by rain, anticipate fog to hinder your ability to recognize them.  Be very conservative if visibility is limited.  I would consider avoiding the Ravine as seeing crevasses, and particularly falling ice, is nearly impossible if the fog is thick and the light is flat.   Take any clearing weather opportunities to give the Ravine’s terrain some focused attention.  Quickly try to determine where ice is hanging, where open holes loom, and where crevasses are located before fog rolls back in.  Check out the Weekend Update this afternoon where we’ll get into some weekend weather details after another model run cycles through at noon today.

Rain all week has increased the deterioration rate increasing the rotting of any leftover hanging ice, snow bridges near crevasses, and the edges of holes. You won’t be able to see most of these in the fog before it’s too late, so your best bet is to altogether avoid the areas where you can find them.  Again, warmth and rain will create ideal conditions for falling ice! For the most continuous snow coverage and the fewest objective hazards, head to Left Gully. From the Chute across to the Sluice you’ll be dealing with increased icefall potential and crevasses. Hillman’s Highway is getting thinner with numerous breaks and rocks poking through.  The lowest portion has become discontinuous due to melt out and undermining.

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. 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 trail from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine is open, as is the section above the Ravine from the Alpine Garden Trail junction to the summit. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail.  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 or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest

5-4-2012 Print Version

Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, 5-03-2012

This advisory expires at midnight, Thursday 5-03-2012

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. 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.

Precipitation potential will increase this afternoon as the next weather maker moves into our region turning fog, drizzle, and some showers into a more consistent rain event.  Depending how you blend the weather model predications, somewhere around an inch (2.5cm) of rain should fall over the next 36 hours.  I’m a little reluctant to say much definitive about Saturday’s precipitation right now because the speed and track of this system has vacillated a bit over the past day.  However, weather on Saturday will improve from the 80-90% chance of rain later today and tomorrow.  All indications point to continued moisture in some form over the next 72 hours before some better weather on Sunday as a high pressure slips in briefly for a pleasant Monday.  In addition to the typical spring hazards discussed below being exacerbated by rain, anticipate fog to hinder your ability to recognize them.  Be very conservative if visibility is limited.  I would consider avoiding the Ravine as seeing crevasses, and particularly falling ice, is nearly impossible if the fog is thick and the light is flat.  Fog should be a more consistent problem tomorrow, but be ready for changing conditions today as the cloud deck may move up and down.  Take any clearing weather opportunities to give the Ravine’s terrain some focused attention.  Quickly try to determine where ice is hanging, where open holes loom, and where crevasses are located before fog rolls back in.  We’ll try to give some better weekend weather news to you in tomorrow’s advisory and weekend update Friday afternoon.  Until then be ready for rain with good mountain shells and dry clothing to swap out.  40 degrees F and rain can be worse than a dry cold midwinter day to cause hypothermia.

Expect the continuation of our typical springtime hazards such as icefall, crevasses and undermined snow as liquid precipitation accelerates melting. You won’t be able to see any of these before it’s too late, so your best bet is to altogether avoid the areas where you can find them. Warmth and rain will create ideal conditions for falling ice! For the most continuous snow coverage and the fewest objective hazards, head to Left Gully. From the Chute across to the Sluice you’ll be dealing with a lot of icefall potential and crevasses. Hillman’s Highway also has reasonable snow coverage, but the lowest portion has become discontinuous due to melt out and undermining.

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. 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 trail from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine is open, as is the section above the Ravine from the Alpine Garden Trail junction to the summit. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail.  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 or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest

5-3-2012 Print Version

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, 5-02-2012

This advisory expires at midnight, Wednesday 5-02-2012

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features. 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.

April, quickly being ancient history, became our most impressive snowfall month of the winter with a tad over 40”.  Yes very sad, but the bright side is the numbers show once again that it isn’t over till it’s over.  Another screwy fact is the average temperature in April was just a hair over the March mercury and only several days ago the summit broke a daily low record that stood for the past 65 years.  We say it often, but I just love the unpredictable nature of our New England mountain weather!  So looking forward into May-the good news?  If you enjoy solitude the Ravine should be pretty quiet over the next 72 hours.  The less than pleasant news?  Everything in the weather data appears to be pointing to continued moisture and dreariness over the next few days.  Higher summits may get some mixed precipitation, but the vast majority of terrain will see H2O’s liquid form.  Yesterday, the summit of Washington started the month off right with just under an inch of snow in addition to freezing rain.  Just enough for a reminder to be prepared in the mountains with the right gear.  Milder air will move in slowly bringing the upper elevations into the 40’s with light winds by tomorrow.  Overall forecasts are expecting a general drizzle and occasional shower today and tomorrow before picking up into Friday as another system moves in.  How does this affect avalanches? As discussed yesterday we could envision a scenario where small pockets of relatively new snow from last Friday and yesterday sluff off of steep terrain with additional warming and rain.  Yesterday’s weather had this potential higher than today, but it can’t be completely ruled out as of yet.  Our danger ratings are primarily focused on discussing slab avalanche potential as they are far more dangerous, fast, and destructive, but point release sluffs can be quite harmful if you become entrained in the wrong place.

Expect the continuation of our typical springtime hazards such as icefall, crevasses and undermined snow as liquid precipitation returns. You won’t be able to see any of these before it’s too late, so your best bet is to altogether avoid the areas where you can find them. Warmth and rain will create ideal conditions for falling ice! For the most continuous snow coverage and the fewest objective hazards, head to Left Gully. From the Chute across to the Sluice you’ll be dealing with a lot of icefall potential and crevasses. Hillman’s Highway also has reasonable snow coverage, but the lowest portion has become discontinuous due to melt out and undermining.

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. 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 trail from Pinkham Notch to the floor of the ravine is open, as is the section above the Ravine from the Alpine Garden Trail junction to the summit. Use an alternate route to circumvent this closed section, such as the commonly used Lion Head trail.  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 or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest

5-2-2012 Print Version