General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY FOR THE SEASON. HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST UNTIL COMPLETE MELTOUT SO PLEASE READ THIS FINAL ADVISORY BEFORE HEADING INTO THE RAVINES OR TO THE SUMMIT OF MT. WASHINGTON.

This General Advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this summer. The snow coverage that is left has settled out, been skier compacted, and is going through the late season melt-freeze process. However, the remaining large snowfields may make for a good sliding surface for late season avalanches. A June snowstorm is not an unheard of occurrence on Mt. Washington. Be prepared for the possibility of new snow instability if this occurs.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area. The trail will reopen after the last snow has melted off.  Check in with one of the local visitor centers to determine the status of the clousure before starting up.  If you use motorized access to the summit of Mount Washington it is NOT recommended that you descend any route through the Ravines.  You will not be aware of the hazards below you.  Many have attempted this over the years, often resulting in severe accidents.

BE AWARE OF FALLING ICE. Each year over 1000 tons of ice form on the steep slopes of Tuckerman Ravine. In the spring it all falls down, often in pieces larger than cars, and often over popular locations like Lunch Rocks and the Tuckerman Ravine trail in the bottom of the ravine. This hazard will persist until complete melt out. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to avoid spending time in the potential path of falling ice. CREVASSES AND UNDERMINED SNOW appear as the snow pack melts and separates from the ledges on the Headwall. These openings vary tremendously in size and include the many waterfalls on the Headwall.  Skiers and climbers need to pay attention to what is below at all times and constantly evaluate the potential outcome of a fall or slide.

We sincerely thank all the groups and individuals that helped us make it through the season successfully. We couldn’t do the job without the many volunteer hours spent carrying injured people down the mountain, giving out good information to visitors, and giving us financial support. Thanks for a great season and we’ll see you next winter. Joe, Jeff, Frank, and Chris.

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 Forest Service Androscoggin Ranger District, the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.  This is the last advisory of the 2013-2014 season.

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

2014-05-25. Last Advisory Print Friendly

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

Expires at 12:00 midnight, Sunday, May 25, 2014.

Tuckerman Ravine is under a General Advisory and will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.  General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.  We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Recent heavy rain has continued to melt snow cover in the ravines. Melting and undermining will continue as showers and, potentially, thunderstorms plague us this coming weekend. The unsettled weather will undoubtedly reduce visibility at times at higher elevations and make navigation more challenging.  Left Gully and Hillman’s Highway are both skiable but have obstacles to avoid and are no longer full length runs due to the shrinking snowpack at the top and bottom.

FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, and under the Lip-Center Bowl area. Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent.   Large rocks may provide some cover, but have proven to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility and should be avoided!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially deadly hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst being in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above and can be much deeper than you might expect. UNDERMINED SNOW is a close relative to crevasses. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause soft snow to refreeze into a slick alpine ice.  Always think about your fall line below and pick routes that minimize going over cliffs or into rocks. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. If the unexpected does occur, having the ability to use these tools effectively can save you from serious injury or worse.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

Attention aux randonneurs!  Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

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.
  • Posted 7:15 a.m. Friday, May 23. A new advisory will be issued no later than Monday, May 26.

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

2014-05-23 Print friendly

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

Expires at 12:00 midnight, Thursday, May 22, 2014.

Tuckerman Ravine is under a General Advisory and will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.  General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.  We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Conditions continue to change as the spring ski season winds down. Crevasses and holes continue to open up further, falling ice remains a concern, and yes, the summit did receive almost 7″ of snow on Monday! This was rain below about 5000′ elevation, so don’t expect face shots in Left Gully. Left Gully and Hillman’s continue to offer the best skiing conditions in the ravine. Hillman’s has some obstacles to avoid, so pay attention on your way up. The top of Left Gully is deteriorating, so be prepared to put your skis on before topping out if you don’t like the looks of what’s above you.

FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, and under the Lip-Center Bowl area. Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent.   Large rocks may provide some cover, but have proven to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility and should be avoided!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially deadly hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst being in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above and can be much deeper than you might expect. UNDERMINED SNOW is a close relative to crevasses. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause soft snow to refreeze into a slick alpine ice.  Always think about your fall line below and pick routes that minimize going over cliffs or into rocks. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. If the unexpected does occur, having the ability to use these tools effectively can save you from serious injury or worse.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

Attention aux randonneurs!  Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

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.
  • Posted 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 20. A new advisory will be issued no later than Friday, May 23.

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

2014-05-20 General Advisory

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

Expires at 12:00 midnight, Monday, May 19, 2014.

Tuckerman Ravine is under a General Advisory and will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.  General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.  We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Late spring conditions have taken hold in Tuckerman. The rain on and off this week and the heavy rain Saturday morning is certainly eating away at our snow coverage. The best ski conditions can be found on the left side of Tuckerman such as Left Gully. In addition to providing longer sections of uninterrupted skiing, it has less objective hazards than areas in the middle and right side of the ravine (see below.) Heavy rain on Saturday will dramatically increase the spring hazards listed below.  Expect large falling ice in the fog and clouds to be a significant and potentially deadly problem.  Fog will hamper your ability to see hazards above and below you.  Unsettled weather is expected on and off over next few days, so be sure to check the weather forecasts and pack accordingly.

FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, and under the Lip-Center Bowl area. Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent.   Large rocks may provide some cover, but have proven to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility and should be avoided!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially deadly hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst being in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above and can be much deeper than you might expect. UNDERMINED SNOW is  a close relative to crevasses. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause soft snow to refreeze into a slick alpine ice.  Always think about your fall line below and pick routes that minimize going over cliffs or into rocks. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. If the unexpected does occur, having the ability to use these tools effectively can save you from serious injury or worse.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

Attention aux randonneurs!  Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

The Lion Head Summer Trail is now open. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed.

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. Posted 750a.m. Saturday 5/17/14. A new advisory will be issued no later than Tues. 5/20

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

2014-05-17 Print Version

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

Expires at 12:00 midnight, Friday, May 16, 2014.

Tuckerman Ravine is under a General Advisory and will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.  General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.  We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Late spring conditions have taken hold in Tuckerman. Compared to recent years, we still have plenty of snow and some good skiing conditions when the weather is cooperative. The best ski conditions can be found on the left side of Tuckerman, such as Left Gully and Hillman’s Highway. In addition providing longer sections of uninterrupted skiing, they have less objective hazards than areas in the middle and right side of the ravine (see below.) Weather over the next few days looks to be unsettled, so be sure to check the weather forecasts and pack accordingly. Just because it’s 60F in the valley does not mean it will be comfortable and warm at 4000-5000′ elevations.

FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, and under the Lip-Center Bowl area. Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent. The best advice we can give is to not spend time underneath areas where ice may fall. Large rocks may provide some cover, but have proven to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility and should be avoided!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially deadly hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst being in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above and can be much deeper than you might expect.

UNDERMINED SNOW is related to the hazard above. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause soft snow to refreeze into a slick alpine ice.  Always think about your fall line below and pick routes that minimize going over cliffs or into rocks. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. If the unexpected does occur, having the ability to use these tools effectively can save you from serious injury or worse.

The Lion Head Summer Trail is now open.

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed.

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.
  • Posted 6:00 am.  May 14, 2014. A new advisory will be issued no later than Saturday, May 17.

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

2014-05-14 General Advisory

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

Expires at midnight, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

Tuckerman Ravine is under a General Advisory and will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.  General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.  We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The overall sense that spring has arrived is prevalent among Hermit Lake regulars. Brief periods of  heavy rain and temperatures pushing into the 50F range over the last couple of days have accelerated melting quite a bit. The Sherburne is closed now and the threat of icefall from Sluice and Center Bowl is a real menace as huge chunks of ice appear to defy gravity by clinging unsupported to the cliffs. Though rocks are appearing in Hillmans, Left Gully and Chute, skiing conditions are fine, just be sure to consider your trajectory if you fall when you are choosing your route. Traveling off trail is sketchy now with many folks punching through to their waist in unconsolidated snow when they left the packed footpaths or avalanche runouts. Wet feet, or much worse, can result from falling into these areas of undermined snow. Be sure to ask a ski patroller, caretaker or snow ranger for more info…they all want you to have a good but safe experience.  Upcoming weather looks to be warm and windy but be sure to check current weather forecasts so you are prepared. Below are some of the hazards you may face in Tuckerman Ravine.

FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, and under the Lip-Center Bowl area.   Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent. The best advice we can give is to not spend time underneath areas where ice may fall.   Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur.  Large rocks may provide some cover, but have proven to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility and should be avoided!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially deadly hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst being in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Many of these holes follow stream courses under the snowpack with rushing icy water.  Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above and can be much deeper than you might expect. Falling into these crevasses and holes has historically been lethal on many occasions.

UNDERMINED SNOW is related to the hazard above. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause soft snow to refreeze into a slick alpine ice.  Always think about your fall line below and pick routes that minimize going over cliffs or into rocks. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may not need them always, but if the unexpected does occur having them, with the ability to use them effectively, can save you from serious injury or worse.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. Bare ground, rocks and open water make it impassable. Please hike down the Tuckerman Ravine trail.

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.
  • Posted 715 am.  May 11, 2014. A new advisory will be issued no later than Wednesday, May 14.

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

2014-05-11 Print friendly

Spring hazards and trail closure…

Recent rain and warm weather have washed out snow bridges and melted long stretches of the Sherburne ski trail making it necessary to walk down from Hermiit Lake. Additionally, flowing water and sustained warm temperatures have finally brought our spring icefall and crevasse hazards into bloom.   Sluice Ice and the Center Bowl look ready to launch car-to-bus sized blocks of ice into Lunch Rocks and the floor of the Ravine. If you are bringing Mom up tomorrow, be sure to stay away from these hazards. We’ll be issuing an advisory in the morning and posting pictures tonight.

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

Expires at midnight, Saturday, May 10, 2014.  However a new advisory will be issued if warranted before expiration.

Tuckerman Ravine is under a General Advisory and will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.  General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.  We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Thursday is beginning gloriously with sun, yet below freezing on the higher summits.  Temperatures will rise dramatically with increasing clouds developing into the afternoon.  On Friday conditions will deteriorate with a frontal passage into a witch’s brew of rain showers, convective cells, scattered thunderstorms, periods of heavy rain, small hail, and possibly frequent lightning.  If you’re someone of atypical personality you may enjoy it, the rest of you will likely choose to avoid Friday in the mountains.  Saturday…well….doesn’t look all that great either, with 80% chance of rain showers forecasted for the valleys. The end of the weekend currently looks to be quite a bit nicer with some solar rays on Sunday.  Watch your favorite weather forecast resources for the higher terrain of northern New Hampshire closely.  Now that we are in a General Advisory we have finished our Friday afternoon “Weekend Update” postings for the season.  However, we will post a series of url links on the page that will bring you to some weather sources that we like so you can monitor atmospheric changes.

FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, and under the Lip-Center Bowl area.   Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent. The best advice we can give is to not spend time underneath areas where ice may fall.   Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur.  Large rocks may provide some cover, but have proven to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility and should be avoided!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially deadly hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst being in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Many of these holes follow stream courses under the snowpack with rushing icy water.  Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above and can be much deeper than you might expect. Falling into these crevasses and holes has historically been lethal on many occasions.

UNDERMINED SNOW is related to the hazard above. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause soft snow to refreeze into a slick alpine ice.  Always think about your fall line below and pick routes that minimize going over cliffs or into rocks. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may not need them always, but if the unexpected does occur having them, with the ability to use them effectively, can save you from serious injury or worse.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. The bottom two-thirds of the John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. Please cross over to the hiking trail at the closure rope and hike the rest of the way down to Pinkham.

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.
  • Posted 830 am.  May 8, 2014. A new advisory will be issued no later than Sunday, May 11.

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

2014-05-08 Print Version

General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight, Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines are under a late season General Avalanche Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain. General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.

Spring weather in the mountains can take many forms. Lately we have been seeing snow as the dominant precipitation type at upper elevations. On Sunday the summit Observatory reported 8″ of new snow, with another 1-3″ forecast through Monday. In mid-winter, weather like this could easily trigger numerous slab avalanches. At this time of the year, there are factors at play that can help keep the snow in place on the slopes (e.g. rough bed surfaces, temperatures), but these features can be quickly buried and negated by sufficient snow and wind. Snow stability can move quickly in either direction in this situation. This is where your ability to assess the snowpack and choose appropriate routes becomes paramount. Just because we are not putting a danger rating to the snow does not mean there is no avalanche potential. It’s not only slab avalanches you need to be thinking about, either. Expect the potential for loose snow avalanches over the next few days, either dry or wet.

FALLING ICE can kill people. The largest ice looms in the Sluice above Lunch Rocks, in the Center Bowl of Tuckerman, and throughout much of Huntington. Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent. The best advice we can give is to not spend time underneath areas where ice may fall. Large rocks may provide some cover, but in the past, they have proven themselves to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially lethal hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst are in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Many of these holes follow stream courses under the snowpack with icy water spraying around.

UNDERMINED SNOW is related to the hazard above. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are probably the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause the soft corn snow to refreeze into a slick and solid mass of ice. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may not need them always, but if the unexpected happens these tools, and the ability to use them effectively, can save you from serious injury or death.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. The bottom two-thirds of the John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. Please cross over to the hiking trail at the closure rope and hike the rest of the way down to Pinkham.

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.
  • Posted 7:45 am a.m. May 5, 2014. A new advisory will be issued by Thursday, May 8.

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

2014-05-05 General Advisory

General Advisory for Huntington and Tuckerman Ravines

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight, Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines are under a late season General Avalanche Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain. General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.

Unsettled weather continues to challenge the 9-5 working stiff who can’t seem to get a break lately with good weekend weather. The weak disturbances we are expecting through Sunday may not translate into much precipitation but before you plan a trip to the mountains, be sure to carefully check your favorite weather forecasting resources and be prepared to encounter any weather and precipitation type, including the frozen variety. Many of the hazards listed below can become more dangerous with weather changes so keep a close eye on these factors and consider the role that elevation gain and aspect changes have on temperatures, precipitation type, and the softness, or iciness, of the snow surface. Since temperatures on the summit will be near freezing at times over the weekend, be prepared to evaluate conditions after some new snow has blanketed crevasses or even formed some small storm or wind slabs, especially on Sunday. Freezing rain would make a summit hike particularly challenging.

FALLING ICE can kill people. The largest ice looms in the Sluice above Lunch Rocks, in the Center Bowl of Tuckerman, and throughout much of Huntington. Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent. The best advice we can give is to not spend time underneath areas where ice may fall. Large rocks may provide some cover, but in the past, they have proven themselves to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially lethal hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst are in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Many of these holes follow stream courses under the snowpack with icy water spraying around.

UNDERMINED SNOW is related to the hazard above. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are probably the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause the soft corn snow to refreeze into a slick and solid mass of ice. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may not need them always, but if the unexpected happens these tools, and the ability to use them effectively, can save you from serious injury or death.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. The bottom half of the John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. Please cross over to the hiking trail at the closure rope and hike the rest of the way down to Pinkham.

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.
  • Posted 6:45 am a.m. May 2, 2014. A new advisory will be issued by Monday, May 5.

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

2014-05-02 Print friendly

General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight, Thursday, April 30, 2014.

Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines are under a late season General Avalanche Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain. General Advisories are valid for no more than three days, but may be updated earlier as conditions warrant.

This is a late season General Advisory, which is different from advisories using the 5-scale danger rating system. It’s important for you to understand that there may be unstable snow while a GA is in effect. Instabilities may come in many forms, such as wind slab, wet slab, loose wet snow, etc. We most often use GAs late in the season after the snowpack has stabilized to the point where day-to-day weather changes are not going to drastically affect snow stability. But remember, you are ultimately responsible for making your own assessments of snow stability when using avalanche terrain.

This upcoming week we expect to see rain and generally unsettled weather over the mountain. Even in a springtime snowpack, rain can exacerbate a lot of problems. In addition to the annual spring hazards listed below, a heavy rain event can cause large destructive wet slab avalanches, particularly in the Lip. At this time of year, I would not personally recommend traveling into Tuckerman during a heavy rain event, due to the variety and magnitude of hazards present.

FALLING ICE is a very dangerous situation. The largest ice looms in the Sluice above Lunch Rocks, in the Center Bowl of Tuckerman, and throughout much of Huntington. Other areas pose this threat as well, though to a lesser extent. The best advice we can give is to not spend time underneath areas where ice may fall. Large rocks may provide some cover, but they have proven themselves in the past to be inadequate shields for people hiding behind them. Lunch Rocks is a hazardous location when icefall is a possibility!

CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES are another potentially lethal hazard. Each season these form in many areas, the worst are in the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Many of these holes follow stream courses under the snowpack with icy water spraying around. We anticipate these hazards to be increasing in magnitude throughout this week.

UNDERMINED SNOW is related to the hazard above. It occurs when streams have eroded away the snowpack from below, but left behind a bridge of snow. This bridge can collapse without warning under your weight, bringing you into the icy stream below. Give wide berth to areas that have already collapsed or show signs of sagging or cracking.

LONG SLIDING FALLS are probably the #1 cause of injury each spring. Cold temperatures cause the soft corn snow to refreeze into a slick and solid mass of ice. We always recommend an ice axe and crampons for travel in steep terrain. You may not need them always, but if the unexpected happens these tools, and the ability to use them effectively, can save you from serious injury or death.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. The bottom half of the John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. Please cross over to the hiking trail at the closure rope and hike the rest of the way down to Pinkham.

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.
  • Posted 7:15 a.m. April 29, 2014. A new advisory will be issued Friday, May 2.

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

2014-04-29 General Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, April 28, 2014

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Be prepared for increasing avalanche hazard if snow falls heavier than forecast.

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: Generally, snow stability in the ravine will be good today. There may be opportunities for loose wet sluffs to be a problem. Areas that see a lot of skier traffic will be less affected by this issue; get off the beaten track and you may see more of it.

WEATHER: 3” (7.8cm) of new snow fell Saturday through daybreak Sunday, this was followed by just a trace of snow during the day yesterday (reports were that it rained steadily in the valley, but all we saw was snow). Today will be cloudy, with the potential for fog to drop low enough into the ravines to obscure the visibility. Temperatures should warm above the freezing mark in the ravines, while winds will be on the light side for Washington. All in all, it won’t be too shabby of a day if you don’t mind the clouds.

SNOWPACK: Yesterday around noon, temperatures rose about 5 degrees in a short amount of time, bringing temperatures at ravine elevations above freezing. This warming helped moisten the new snow. After subsequent refreezing last night, the thin new layer is likely to be well-adhered to the older surfaces below. Rising temperatures today should allow surfaces to soften again. However, cloud cover may make this slower to happen than if it were a sunny day.

OTHER HAZARDS: ICEFALL is a possibility today. Not much ice has fallen yet this season, which means there is still a large amount of ice up in the headwall and in the Sluice above Lunch Rocks waiting to come crashing down. Don’t spend any more time than you need to in areas exposed to icefall hazard, such as at Lunch Rocks.

CREVASSES have been late in emerging this season. I expect that this week we will begin to see these cracks creep up to the surface. Remember that what you see at the surface is often much smaller than the hole beneath the snow. Approach crevasse prone areas (e.g. the Lip) with caution and choose your route carefully, or avoid these locations altogether.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. This is a steep icy trail. An ice axe, crampons, and the ability to use these tools effectively are highly recommended. Lightweight trail crampons lose their effectiveness in steep terrain!

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is open to about 1 mile from Pinkham and closed below this point. Expect lots of bare patches, icy sections, and enormous bumps throughout the trail.

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 or the AMC caretakers at Hermit Lake or staff at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted 6:55a.m. 4-28-2014. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2014-04-28 Print Friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, April 27, 2014

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for unstable snow in isolated terrain features.

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: The possibility of wind slabs developing during the day caught my attention and had initially driven up the danger rating for select areas. Then the fog in the ravine lifted momentarily and I was able to see that yesterday’s new snow did not blanket the old surfaces the way I was thinking they would have. This visual clue was a key factor in keeping danger ratings at Low today. However, you should be on the lookout for small pockets of wind slab in all areas regardless of the Low rating. The most likely locations for unstable slab to develop will have a S or SE aspect. This is due to winds shifting to the N and increasing in speeds late today.

WEATHER: Yesterday and overnight we received 3” (7.8cm) of new snow at Hermit Lake. This began to fall with winds 30-40mph from the S, then they lessened to 15-20mph and shifted to the NW as snow continued to fall. Today we expect an increase back up to 35-50mph and a further shift to the N. Additionally, we may receive a trace to 2” of additional accumulations today. Ravine temperatures today will only be hovering near freezing, so don’t be looking for soft spring snow. Visibility may be poor at times as fog comes and goes.

SNOWPACK: After hiking up to find 3” of new snow coating everything in sight, it was a bit of a surprise to see up into the Lip and Sluice while writing and easily see old surfaces showing through in more or less all areas. My impression of what happened is that the light winds were not able to transport the high density snow, so it just stayed in place wherever it fell instead of building into deeper drifts. Beneath the dusting is an icy surface that has been thoroughly stabilized by previous melt/freeze cycles. As winds ramp up, new wind slab development may take place today, especially if we get another 2” of snow. There are factors working in favor of keeping new slab from being unstable, such as the rough textured bed surfaces, high density snow, and relatively warm temperatures. Be watchful for thin weak layers beneath newly formed slabs.

OTHER HAZARDS: Long sliding falls are a potential hazard today snow surfaces stay frozen. An ice axe and crampons will help keep you safe, but knowing how to effectively use them is every bit as important. Practice before you put yourself into “no-fall” terrain. CREVASSES have been late in emerging this season. Currently they are mostly buried and not a problem. The most notable exception to this is in the Lip, other smaller holes exist in Sluice and elsewhere. There is also some undermined snow in Right Gully and Lobster Claw.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. This is a steep icy trail. An ice axe, crampons, and the ability to use these tools effectively are highly recommended. Lightweight trail crampons lose their effectiveness in steep terrain.

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is open to about 1 mile from Pinkham and closed below this point. Expect lots of bare patches, icy sections, and enormous bumps throughout the trail.

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 caretakers at Hermit Lake or Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted 8:35a.m. 4-27-2014. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

 2014-04-27 Print Friendly

 

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, April 26, 2014

This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Be prepared for increasing avalanche hazard if snow falls heavier than forecast.

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: Earlier this week we received a small amount of new snow, which was blown into S and E facing slopes as well as pockets just about everywhere else. Yesterday all of this new snow warmed and then was chopped up by numerous skiers and riders. This snow has since gone below freezing and provides the groundwork for what will come today. Today we are expecting new precipitation. If this comes as all snow, and if we exceed the upper range of what is forecast, avalanche danger may rise above today’s Low rating in some areas. With a roughly textured bed surface, the forecasted snow totals, and relatively light winds, I do not expect there will be enough slab development to become a widespread problem. As always though, you need to watch the actual weather yourself and be responsible for your own decisions based on your assessments!

WEATHER: The big question about the weather is this: At what elevation will the line be drawn between frozen precipitation and rain? We are almost certainly going to get some precipitation today, but whether this comes as snow, sleet, or rain will be something you will need to pay attention to. You should be expecting rain, between 0.2 and 0.3” (~1cm) at elevations with temperatures above freezing. This may translate to 1-3” (2.5-7.5cm) of snow where it falls as all snow. Winds will be from the S and decreasing to 10-25mph. Also be prepared for very limited visibility in the thick fog.

SNOWPACK: As mentioned, there is a mix of old surfaces and relatively new snow from earlier in the week. The new snow adhered well in locations where it had loaded, allowing many skiers to carve it up yesterday while it was warm. Both the old surface and the new snow have good stability.

OTHER HAZARDS: Long sliding falls are a potential hazard today snow surfaces stay frozen. An ice axe and crampons will help keep you safe, but knowing how to effectively use them is every bit as important. Practice before you put yourself into “no-fall” terrain. ICEFALL is a possibility today. Rain is often a trigger for falling ice. In low visibility you cannot see it coming at you. This hazard will be increasing if it warms or if we have rain. CREVASSES have been late in emerging this season. Currently they are mostly buried and not a problem. The most notable exception to this is in the Lip, other smaller holes exist in Sluice and elsewhere. There is also some undermined snow in Right Gully and Lobster Claw.

The Lion Head Winter Route is still open. This is a steep icy trail. An ice axe, crampons, and the ability to use these tools effectively are highly recommended. Lightweight trail crampons lose their effectiveness in terrain this steep!

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is open to about 1 mile from Pinkham and closed below this point. Expect lots of bare patches, icy sections, and enormous bumps throughout the trail.

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 caretakers at Hermit Lake or Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
  • Posted 7:15 a.m. 4-26-2014. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2014-04-26 Print Friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Friday April 25, 2014

This advisory expires at Midnight.  

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW and MODERATE avalanche danger.  The Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible.  All other areas have Low avalanche danger where natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. The Little Headwall is an open waterfall and has no rating.

Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. We are no longer monitoring conditions. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEMWind Slab is the main problem today due to Wednesday night and Thursday snow.  The summit is reporting 7.3″ of snow, melting to 1.27″ of water, in the last 36 hours.  Lower on the mountain, Hermit Lake received much less,  and Pinkham picked up nothing.  Later in the day, if enough solar gain occurs, anticipate the Wind Slab problem to mix in with Wet Loose and potentially Wet Slab problems.

WEATHER: Conditions have changed dramatically in the past 24 hours from socked in clouds, blowing snow, and winds peaking at 106 mph on Thursday to a beautiful morning with dropping winds.  Winds are expected to continue falling from around 50 to close to 20 mph today under mostly sunny skies.  As we move into the evening increasing clouds are expected in prelude to the precipitation forecasted for tonight and the weekend.  Lower on the mountain we will likely get mostly rain, the majority of which should come during the day on Saturday.  In the Ravines and Summit cone you can anticipate rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow. Some verglass glazing is  possible during this event making rocks up high very slick.  From tonight through Sunday morning the current models are predicting 0.6-0.75″ of water to hit our region.

SNOWPACK:  Very high winds on Thursday, exceeding 100 mph (160kph), scoured most areas back to the old hard melt freeze crust peppered with patches of new snow.  As temperatures rise today you may see this old surface move from very hard towards softening.  Expect the large patches of new snow in the areas forecasted at “Low” to have some cold elastic properties early in the day capable of producing a small human triggered avalanche.  A good example is the pocket above the narrows in the Chute. These could send you for a long fall that could be quite bad, but mostly wouldn’t bury you.  Other areas forecasted at Moderate, namely the Sluice through Center Bowl, were in the lee of N and NW winds and picked up more snow.  These area have thicker slabs capable of burying you.  As temperatures rise today, due to a high Spring sun and dropping winds, expect new snow in these areas to warm and initially begin stabilizing.  The big question is whether they heat up long enough to begin losing strength, and hedging towards wet sluffing and wet slab potential.  This is most probable on slopes that are most protected from winds and point directly south such as in the Sluice.  This is something to watch this afternoon.  It is possible these locales will creep up through the Moderate rating, bumping the ceiling of the definition.  Also consider falling ice as a potential trigger.

OTHER HAZARDS:  Icefall hazard will jump forward again as the lead spring hazard today as temperature warm again.  Keep this on your mind, particularly the Sluice ice that looms behind Lunch Rocks.  Ice fall has injured and killed numerous people of over the years as well as triggering avalanches.  Crevasses, that have begun to open up primarily in the Lip area and down towards Lunch Rocks, will likely be hidden by new snow making this hazard very difficult to assess.  The prudent traveler would avoid this areas due both to avalanche problems and crevasses.

Walking from the Bowl to Hermit Lake is the only option as the brook has blown out.  Expect bare spots and bumps on the Sherburne ski trail back to Pinkham.  The lower half of the trail is closed due to melt-out and mud.   Please cross to the hiking trail and walk the short distance to parking lot.

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.
  • Posted 845 a.m. 4-25-2014. 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

2014-04-25 Print