Brown one day-White the next.

The mountain has been doing a pretty good job during the early season as a flip flopper between wanting to be either brown with vegetation or white with snow.  We’ve seen some good snow accumulations completely melt out and watched ice development come and go as we endured a very warm November and early December. Let’s hope with yesterday’s snow storm this is all behind us.  The summit picked up 9.1” (23cm) of snow melting to 1.22” (3cm) of water producing an average snow density of 13.4%.  Snow came in wet as it slowly transitioned from the 0.56” (1.4cm) of rain on Wednesday 12/7.  This transition generated snow a little heavier than the 13.4% average early on and certainly ended quite a bit lighter as temperatures fell to 5 degrees F near the storm’s conclusion.  Wind speeds ramped up during the event peaking at 117mph (188kph) from the NW as the system pushed out of the area during the early afternoon on Thursday the 8th.

Although this storm was great remember our winter wonderland is still an infant as the mountain was generally starting from a brown and grey hue 48 hours ago.  Therefore, any water ice is very thin and snow fields of any size are far and few between.  However it finally looks like a winter trend is settling into place with summit temperatures in the teens and falling to zero over the weekend.  Looking out over the next week it appears higher summit temperatures will stay below the mid twenties so the future is looking bright!

We still are not issuing advisories due to the lack of size-able base layers for new snow deposition to avalanche on.  Watch new snow accumulation closely as the nooks and crannies get filled in and expect some pockets of instability to be an issue soon.  As I have mentioned in the past we won’t start issuing advisories for the first 20’ by 40’ pocket of snow that develops on some early season mixed ice route or near the horizon of a gully or two, but will when some more widespread issues develop.  Pay attention and remember if it’s big enough to recreate on its big enough to avalanche.  We continue to monitor the situation daily and will issue a General Advisory or 5 Scale Forecast when needed.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience.
  • You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake Shelters, or the caretaker at the Harvard Cabin.

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

 

One step closer

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This is another early season check-in message, something to read while you’re digesting your turkey feast. We’re not yet issuing advisories, either General Advisories or 5-scale forecasts. If you’re heading into the mountains over the holiday weekend, you’ll be on your own for assessing the conditions. We’ve been keeping an eye on conditions, and have waited patiently for winter to make its grand entrance.

While I can’t say yesterday’s storm was the most spectacular entrance to winter ever seen on Mt. Washington, a respectable 10″ fell on the summit. Before you get all eager to swing your ice tools or carve the powder on your brand new skis, let me remind you that we’ve had a rather warm November. In fact, it was just a few days ago (Nov 19 & 20) that summit temperatures reached 32F or higher. Moreover, during 14 of the 23 days so far this month temperatures have risen above freezing on the summit, with many of these days reaching into the 40’sF. Prior to this storm, there really wasn’t much on the mountain for ice or early season snowfields. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing how and where to recreate. As winter conditions continue to take hold, remember to plan and equip yourself properly for early conditions. If you’ve only ever climbed here in January or skied here in March, you might be surprised by how different November can be. This can hold true even for those who have come numerous times in November. The mountain is just beginning to embrace winter.

We hope yesterday’s storm is only a prelude of what’s to come over the next few months. It’s only  a matter of time before we issue our first General Advisory. As the snowfields in the ravines grow, we’ll eventually move into using the 5-scale rating system. Keep an eye on our website in the coming weeks for these events, plus new photos and some other small changes currently in the works.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience.
  • You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

 

Get ready, winter’s on the way!!!

October 31st, 2011 2:00pm

It never fails.  Winter comes around before you know it and my youthful anticipations for the white season builds to a fervor right about the Hallows-eve.  As is typical for our high mountains in October we started picking up a bit more snow with every day in the high peaks.  The summit received 20.7 inches of snow in October, 16” coming over the past week and 10 of that falling in the last couple of days.  We seem to be in a nice building trend!  If you’re reading this there is good chance you live within a day’s drive of Mount Washington .  This in turn probably means you have snow on the ground as the region just got slapped with a record breaking early Nor’easter.  Before it melts use this as an awesome opportunity to get out and practice your beacon finding skills with a buddy.  These early season chances don’t come around often so go outside and practice your rescue techniques.  More importantly, refresh your avalanche knowledge as NOT getting caught is the main objective.  80+ people will be doing that this weekend at a full first annual Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop (ESAW), proceeds going to the White Mountain Avalanche Education Fund.   The fund is set up primarily to educate kids about avalanches across the Northeast.  Take a look on our website https://www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org/about/white-mountain-avalanche-education-fund for more information and the “donate” tab if you’re interested.

The other recent news has been the fantastic volunteer support we have seen from local groups to help us recover from Hurricane Irene on the mountain. This effort, spearheaded by the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, has helped us repair bridges which are getting close to being ready for the season.  This will help thousands of skiers this winter as the bridge from Hermit Lake to the Sherburne would likely not make it until spring without the sustained effort it has seen over the past couple of weekends.  Thanks so much for all your energy and help!

Well this isn’t an avalanche advisory, but more of a “hey get ready because they’re just around the corner” posting.  We will be working on a number of updates and annual preseason changes so expect some website updates over the next 2-3 weeks including pictures, avalanche courses providers, etc.   Keep coming back or follow us on twitter/facebook.   Watch new snow accumulation closely as the nooks and crannies get filled in and expect some pockets of instability to be an issue soon if the recent trend continues.  We won’t start issuing advisories for the first 20’ by 40’ pocket of snow that develops on some early season mixed ice route, but will when some more widespread issues develop.  Pay attention and remember if it’s big enough to recreate on its big enough to avalanche.  Talk to you soon and get psyched for the winter ahead.  Chris.

Please Remember: Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience.   You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel. For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

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