General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine; Sunday, May 17, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine until complete melt out in early summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new General Advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the Ravine has melted a lot recently and Saturday night’s thunderstorm with half an inch of rain didn’t help. High pressure should make for mostly warm, sunny conditions before the next round of unsettled weather begins Monday night. Currently, Left Gully and Hillman’s are the longest runs and also hold the least nasty spring-time hazards. Other gullies are melted at the top and bottom and make for a short run that, in the case of Right Gully, end abruptly in a pile of boulders.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS 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.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS 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, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice that has not yet fallen. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES continue to grow; the most dangerous are in the 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. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. You may encounter this problem anywhere that water is flowing beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies, or where the snowpack is thinning near emerging boulders. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening creates very dense snow and alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Snow surfaces can be hard and icy enough to make arresting a fall difficult, if not impossible, on a steep slope. Good terrain choices, careful climbing as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. In addition to the Lip, the area beneath the Headwall and Lunch Rocks are threatened by enormous blocks of ice which may be more likely to release during a period of rain. There are a number of other, safer routes that take you to Pinkham Notch and avoid this closed area.

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 Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2015-05-17 general

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine; Saturday, May 16, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine until complete melt out in early summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new General Advisory (GA) will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the Ravine has melted considerably over the last couple weeks. Crevasses and icefall are at their peak threat right now. Expect a cloudy day with rain showers and temperatures in the 40’s, definitely not a classic bluebird day to enjoy the action in the Bowl.  Weather conditions are expected to improve on Sunday.  Be sure to get the latest weather forecast before heading uphill. If you do try to ski today, Hillman’s Highway or Left Gully offer the longest runs with the least danger of icefall and crevasses. Beware of loose rocks exposed near the tops of these gullies as the snow recedes.

AS OF TODAY, A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS 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.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS 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, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice hanging waiting to fall. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations; the most dangerous are in the 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. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. It is most prominent in places where there is flowing water beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening can create very dense alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Snow surfaces become very hard and icy, making a slip, trip, or fall a very serious situation. Good terrain choices, as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. In addition to the Lip, the area beneath the Headwall and Lunch Rocks are threatened by enormous blocks of ice which may be more likely to release during a period of rain. There are a number of other, safer routes that take you to Pinkham Notch that avoid this closed area.

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 Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

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

2015-05-16 print version

General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine, Friday May 15, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine until complete melt out in early summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new General Advisory (GA) will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the Ravine has melted considerably over the last couple weeks. Crevasses and icefall are at their peak threat right now. A warm front is moving into the mountains which will produce mountain fog Friday night and rain showers on and off through the day on Saturday. Weather conditions are expected to improve on Sunday.  Be sure to get the latest weather forecast before heading uphill.

AS OF SATURDAY MAY 16TH A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL WILL BE 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! SAMEDI, MAI 16TH. 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.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS 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, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice hanging waiting to fall. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations; the most dangerous are in the 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. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. It is most prominent in places where there is flowing water beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening can create very dense alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Snow surfaces become very hard and icy, making a slip, trip, or fall a very serious situation. Good terrain choices, as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. Travel in or near this area is not recommended. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. We will be closing this area Friday afternoon as we do annually discussed above.  The Tuckerman Ravine Summer Trail runs right through The Lip closing both simultaneously.

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 Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, 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

2015-05-15 Print Friendly

General Advisory for Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A General Advisory for Tuckerman will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The snowpack in the bowl has melted considerably over the last couple weeks, exacerbating many of the springtime hazards while the snow stability has become very good. There appears to be a mix of weather conditions during the period of this advisory, including thunderstorms, mixed precipitation, freezing temperatures, and maybe even some sunshine. Be sure to get the latest weather forecast before heading uphill.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS 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, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice hanging waiting to fall. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations; the most dangerous are in the 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. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. It is most prominent in places where there is flowing water beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Snow surfaces become very hard and icy, making a slip, trip, or fall a very serious situation. Good terrain choices, as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. Travel in this area is not recommended. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. We expect to be closing this area and this section of the Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail through the ravine very soon. This is an annual closure due to the unique hazards posed to hikers and skiers. When the closure happens, we will let you know through signage and in the advisory.

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 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

2015-05-12

Avalanche Advisory for Monday, May 11, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory  you will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: We are into a period of time with a very stable snowpack. Avalanche problems take distant a back seat to the hazards below.

WEATHER: Expect a dreary day on the mountain. Rain and drizzle, thick fog, and temperatures falling in the afternoon would be enough to make me think about rescheduling my ski day or summit hike. Don’t forget that there will also be a chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. See the Mt. Washington Observatory’s full forecast here for more information.

FALLING ICE: Falling ice remains a substantial and imminent hazard. We are at peak ice fall season. Massive blocks still cling to the headwall cliffs as well as on the cliffs directly above Lunch Rocks. Avoiding Lunch Rocks will dramatically reduce your overall icefall risk. If fog obscures the ravine today, the chances of seeing falling ice before it is too late become much less. If you must be in the ravine today, your best bets will be to go to locations with lower risk of icefall, such as Hillman’s or Left Gully.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard develops where the snowpack has a stream or river of meltwater running beneath. In general, areas with the largest volume of flowing water will create the most undermining with a weak snow bridge above. The main waterfall hole to the climber’s left of the Lip has grown considerably with recent melting. A fall into this waterfall hole or other areas with undermined snow can be fatal. Give a wide berth to this and other holes in the snowpack!

CREVASSES: Crevasses are growing in many locations. The number and size of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, but other locations have these slots opening up as well (e.g. the upper part of Chute). These can be covered by hidden breakable snow bridges. Many of these are wide enough to fall into and they are probably much deeper than you think.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully are the longest continuous snow slopes and have lesser objective hazard than the Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute. The opportunities for skiing down out of the bowl or on the Sherburne are gone. The Little Headwall is fully melted out and the Sherburne is now closed.  Please do not walk on the ski trail. Doing so contributes to erosion of soil off the trail and will leave your boots caked with mud.

We will be opening the Lion Head summer trail this week. This trail does traverse a steep snow slope and has many patches of ice, so come prepared.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:25 a.m., Monday, May 11, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-11

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday May 10th, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Continue to manage your sluff, especially if you are above terrain hazards like cliffs and crevasses or on seldom skied lines. The four threats of the big five (Avalanches, Weather, Ice Fall, Crevasses, and Undermining) discussed below should be a greater focus over avalanche potential today.

WEATHER:  The potential for showers and thunderstorms will grow through the day and are likely this afternoon. Some weather models are hinting that a few thunderstorms maybe severe so be prepared for periods of heavy rain, small hail, and strong gusty winds in alpine zones. Thunder equals lightning so avoid being high on the mountain or ridges when this comes in today.  Getting down to lower elevations and staying far away from higher terrain features will be important.  High buttresses, Lion’s Head, Boott Spur, and The Three Stooges near Dodge’s Drop are several examples of places to avoid based on being good lightning targets.

FALLING ICE: Falling ice remains a substantial and imminent hazard.  This is proven by some very large ice fall already this morning.  We are right in the middle of peak ice fall season! Massive blocks still cling to the Center Headwall cliffs as well as in the Sluice, directly above Lunch Rocks. Avoiding this area, otherwise known as “Icefall Rocks”, will dramatically reduce your overall Icefall risk.  Reducing time spent in areas below ice while on skis also limits your exposure to this threat. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Many people have been seriously injured or killed from falling ice in Tuckerman Ravine. There are no specific warning signs outside of general warm weather and melting.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard develops where the snowpack has a stream or river of meltwater running beneath. In general, areas where you might expect the largest volume of flowing water will create the most undermining with a thinning snow bridge above. The main waterfall hole to the climber’s left of the Lip has grown considerably with the increasing flow due to melting. If you go into this waterfall hole it is likely that you will not come out and has been the cause of past fatalities. Give a wide berth to this and other holes in the snowpack!

CREVASSES: The number of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, but other locations have these slots opening up as well. These can be covered by hidden breakable snow bridges. Many of these are wide enough to fall into and they are probably much deeper than you think. The largest concentration of these slots in Lip and Sluice is best avoided, especially when traveling on foot.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Areas offering the largest snow filled gullies with the least amount of risk from icefall and crevasses are found either on the climbers hard right or left edges of the Ravine.  On the right side, Right gully or the thinner Lobster Claw offer reasonable options, but expect some undermining. Among the left side options, Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully are the longest runs and avoid the higher level of risk and potential grim outcomes found in the Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl and Chute.  But again, expect some undermining.  The Little Headwall has melted out and is a raging waterfall.  Your only option is to walk down the trail to Hermit Lake from the floor of the Ravine. From there, the Sherburne Ski Trail is open for about 2/3’s of a mile for the last day.  You’ll have to click out about 5 times this morning, maybe more this afternoon, to make it to the rope. From there, walk the Tuckerman Ravine Trail back down to Pinkham. Call your Mother today or you’ll be in trouble.  Happy Mother’s Day, thanks for all you do!

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:55 a.m., Sunday, May 10, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-10

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, May 9, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Continue to manage your sluff, especially if you are above terrain hazards like cliffs and crevasses or on seldom skied lines. Warm temperatures last night at Ravine elevations made the threat of the following hazards grow worse in most locations:

FALLING ICE: Falling ice remains a big potential problem. Massive blocks still cling to the center headwall cliffs as well as the Sluice, directly above Lunch Rocks. Reduce time spent in areas with ice above and you will reduce this threat. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Many people have been seriously injured or killed from falling ice in Tuckerman Ravine. There are no warning signs for falling ice. Only one big chunk might fall in a day but that could be the piece that hits you.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard develops where the snowpack has a stream of meltwater running beneath. Typical areas include Hillman’s Highway, Right Gully, Lobster Claw, and the exit from the bowl. In general, areas where you might expect the largest volume of flowing water will create the most undermining with a thinning snow bridge above. The main waterfall hole left of the Lip has grown considerably with the increasing flow due to melting. Give a wide berth to this and other holes in the snowpack!

CREVASSES: The number of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, but other locations may have cracks opening up as well. These can be covered by breakable snow bridges. Some of these are wide enough to fall into and they are probably much deeper than you think due to the turn downslope that they make at the bottom. The largest concentration of these slots in Lip and Sluice is best avoided, especially when traveling on foot.

The Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. People are still trying to find their way toward the Lower Snowfields in hopes of keeping their boards on as long as possible. If you try this, you are in for a bushwhack on the south side of the stream crossing if you avoid falling in. We recommend walking down the trail to Hermit Lake from the floor of the Ravine. From there, the Sherburne Ski Trail is open for skiing to the uppermost crossover. From there, walk the Tuckerman Ravine Trail back down to Pinkham.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Temperatures at the 4,000’ level are around 60F at 6:30 this morning with high thin clouds. Expect easily carvable snow on every aspect with sloppier, knee twisting snow on less travelled areas. Lobster Claw and Right Gully are still skiable but watch and listen for undermining on your ascent. Generally speaking, the left side of Tuckerman’s has fewer and less severe hazards from icefall, undermining and crevasses. Among the left side options, Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully are also the longest runs and are probably your best bet for good riding as well as avoiding a grim outcome due to an encounter with one of the hazards listed above. Be prepared for possible thunderstorm activity this afternoon.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:25 a.m., Saturday, May 9, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-09 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, May 8, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

 AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Continue to manage your sluff, especially if you are above terrain hazards like cliffs and crevasses. That said, wet sluffs are small potatoes compared to the following hazards:

FALLING ICE: Falling ice remains a big potential problem. Massive blocks still sit on the center headwall cliffs and in the Sluice, directly above Lunch Rocks. Reduce time spent in areas with ice above and you will reduce this threat. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Many people have been seriously injured or killed from falling ice in Tuckerman Ravine.

CREVASSES: The number of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, but other locations may have cracks opening up as well. These can be covered by breakable snow bridges. Some of these are wide enough to fall into and they are probably much deeper than you think due to the turn downslope that they make at the bottom. The largest concentration of these slots in Lip and Sluice is best avoided, especially when traveling on foot.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard develops where the snowpack has a stream of meltwater running beneath. Typical areas include Hillman’s Highway, Right Gully, Lobster Claw, and the exit from the bowl. In general, areas where you might expect the largest volume of flowing water will create the most undermining with a thinning snow bridge above. The main waterfall hole left of the Lip has grown considerably with the increasing flow due to melting. Give a wide berth to this and other holes in the snowpack!

The Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. Many people try to find their way toward the Lower Snowfields in hopes of keeping their boards on as long as possible. While it may be possible to do this, it is not easy nor without hazards. We recommend walking down the trail to Hermit Lake from the floor of the Ravine. From there, the Sherburne Ski Trail is open for skiing to the uppermost crossover. There you will need to walk the Tuckerman Ravine Trail back down to Pinkham Notch.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Expect warm and sunny conditions today to continue making heavy, wet and slushy skiing. Shadier aspects on the left will offer drier, firmer snow that’s better for riding. They also have fewer and less severe hazards from icefall, undermining and crevasses. Among the left side options, Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully are also the longest runs and are probably your best bet for good riding as well as avoiding a grim outcome due to an encounter with one of the hazards listed above.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 6:55 a.m., Friday, May 8, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-08 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Thursday, May 7, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: Continue to manage your sluff when above terrain hazards like cliffs and crevasses. Overall, snow stability is very good but other springtime hazards are growing like wildfire.

FALLING ICE: The threat of falling ice remains high today. Massive blocks still sit on the center headwall cliffs and in the Sluice, directly above Lunch Rocks. We recommend reducing time spent in areas with ice above. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Many people have been seriously injured or killed from falling ice.

CREVASSES: The threat of crevasses is greatest in the Lip and Sluice, but other locations may have cracks opening up as well. Some of these are wide enough to fall into and they are probably much deeper than you think due to the turn downslope that they make at the bottom. The largest concentration of these slots in Lip and Sluice is best avoided, especially when traveling on foot.

UNDERMINED SNOW: This hazard develops where the snowpack has a stream of meltwater running beneath. Typical areas include Hillman’s Highway, Right Gully, and Lobster Claw, but in general, areas where you might expect the largest volume of water will create the most undermining and a thin snow bridge above. A near miss occurred yesterday when a skier fell head first into a hole while exiting the bowl towards the Little Headwall.  He disappeared under the snow and was rescued from certain drowning or hypothermia at the last moment by someone passing by. Give a wide berth to holes in the snowpack!

The Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. Many people try to find their way toward the Lower Snowfields in hopes of keeping their skis on as long as possible. While it may be possible to do this, it is not easy nor without hazards. We recommend walking down the trail to Hermit Lake from the floor of the Ravine. From there, the Sherburne Ski Trail is open for skiing to the uppermost crossover. There you will need to walk the Tuckerman Ravine Trail back down to Pinkham Notch.

WEATHER: Summit temperatures will push into the high 40’s again today with some high clouds to break up the monotony. Winds may be blustery to start the day, especially above treeline, but will diminish later. Looks like the spell of nice weather will continue through tomorrow with a threat of thunderstorms over the weekend as unsettled weather develops in the wake of the departing high.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:00 a.m., Thursday, May 7, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-07 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington. A danger of falling ice exists, and will persist until it all comes down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 6, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-06

Avalanche Advisory for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on 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 snow stability is generally very good at this time. Avalanches are a lesser concern than other hazards that you will need to pay attention to if traveling in Tuckerman Ravine. Looking at the water flowing down the waterfall adjacent to the Lip, I can’t help but wonder about the potential for a wet slab avalanche. Currently it appears as though the water is draining well and the chances of a wet avalanche remain unlikely. However, unusual events do happen. On April 19, 2013, a chunk of ice plugged the drainage channel and unexpectedly triggered a wet slab. The pre-existing conditions then were not all that different from what we have today, but historically, these events have been rare. I am keeping the rating today at Low danger, but remember that you are the one responsible for the decisions for where you travel, and our standing recommendation is to treat avalanche terrain with respect, even when danger is low.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: The Great Mt. Washington Melt-out has begun in earnest. The prolonged melting is bringing the usual springtime hazards to the forefront. These include:

FALLING ICE – There is still an incredible amount of ice in the Sluice and Center Bowl area. You do not want to be below these locations when the ice breaks off. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Reduce your time spent in Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl and you will reduce your risk of injury or death due to this hazard.

CREVASSES AND UNDERMINED SNOW – The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip and Sluice area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses above longer slopes. These glide cracks are getting larger by the day as the huge mass of snow melts and creeps downhill. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to reduce the risk of a fall into one of these holes. Aside from the prominent stream under the Lip area, most gullies in Tuckerman also have running water under the snow. Through the years we have seen the most incidents of people punching through into these smaller streams in Hillman’s, the Sluice, and Right Gully.

 WEATHER: Today will be another warm day on the mountain. Last night temperatures did not fall below freezing for most of the mountain, additionally, there was a warm front that passed through late last night bringing 0.19″ of rain to the summit. Fog appears to be burning off already, which will allow sunshine to hasten the melting process today. This is all creating a lot of melt water and saturated snow.

For all practical purposes, the Little Headwall has fully collapsed and is unskiable. The best descent alternative is to hike back down to Hermit Lake, where you can choose to rejoin the John Sherburne ski trail. The Sherburne trail is disintegrating rapidly and is currently closed at the #7 crossover, 2 miles up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 8:45 a.m., Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-05

Avalanche Advisory for May 4, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on 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: Relatively slow moving but dense and heavy Wet Loose avalanches will flow from steep terrain today. These slides can be dangerous if they push you into a terrain trap, crevasse or over a cliff. A lot of loose surface snow was cleaned off of our forecast areas yesterday but warm temperatures last night and baking temperatures today will loosen the surface snow and set the stage for more sluffing.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: It is next to impossible to predict but really easy to mitigate the risk of icefall in Tuckerman Ravine. Reduce your time spent beneath frozen waterfalls in Lunch Rocks, Center Bowl and elsewhere and you will reduce your risk of injury or death due to this hazard. Don’t underestimate the speed and random trajectory of chunks of falling ice. Beware of crevasses and undermined snow. The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip and Sluice area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses above longer slopes. These glide cracks are getting larger by the day as the huge mass of snow melts and creeps downhill. The main waterfall beside the Lip is also growing rapidly which is a sure sign that the channel beneath the slope growing and melting the snow above. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to reduce the risk of a fall into one of these holes.

 WEATHER and SNOWPACK: Sunshine and warm temperatures will turn slopes to mush and saturate the snowpack with water today. Temperatures will hit 50F (10C) on the summit with breezy and increasing winds and gathering clouds in the afternoon as a cold front approaches. Soft conditions are setting the stage for further erosion of the snowpack as sluff channels develop from flowing wet, loose snow and moguls develop on heavily trafficked slopes. Today’s soft snow will once again create ideal conditions for various lower leg musculoskeletal injuries. Don’t forget to develop a preplan for handling an emergency and step up to help others if necessary. It is remarkable how fast a warm, bluebird day can turn on you when you are lying in the snow unable to walk the 3.5 miles to the road.

The Little Headwall has open holes over the waterfall and undermined snow in the drainage above and below. It was virtually unrideable on Sunday and is easily assessed on the hiking trail from Hermit Lake. A better descent alternative is to hike back down to Hermit Lake and rejoin the John Sherburne ski trail there. The trail is disintegrating rapidly and is currently closed at the #7 crossover, 2 miles up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:30 a.m., Monday, May 4, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-04 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Sunday, May 3, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on 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: We have built strength due to settling, consolidation, and skier compaction from 2000 people on Saturday.  Some steep untracked slopes could still produce dense and heavy skier induced Wet Loose sluff avalanches today, but these should be minimal. A number of these occurred yesterday until slopes were fully tracked. These slides can be dangerous if they push you into a terrain trap or over cliffs so use sluff management techniques and have a preplan. Think about this if going to other less used Ravines and Gulfs. There is a remote possibility of a Wet Slab avalanche in the coming days with intense heating, around the clock melting and percolating of freewater deep into the snowpack hunting for an impermeable layer to lubricate.  This may be exacerbated by afternoon thunderstorm potential through tomorrow.  We will trend away from this Wet Slab potential in several days. Stay tuned.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: ICEFALL IS OUR PRIMARY HAZARD TODAY. It is next to impossible to predict, but really easy to mitigate the risk of icefall in Tuckerman Ravine.  Avoid hanging out under the most probable fall lines from the Center Headwall and the Sluice and the risk of injury or fatality diminishes greatly.  LUNCH ROCKS IS A DANGEROUS PLACE TO SIT AND IS NOT RECOMMENDED. Of all places, although traditional, this place gets hit with a lot of ice and has the distinction of producing the most icefall injuries in the Ravine. A set of rocks further away would be better for setting up as your base for the day.  Hot sun today will continue weakening large automobile sized chunks.  I would not want to be beneath the Sluice or Center Bowl ice when either loses the battle with gravity.

Be aware of crevasses hidden beneath wet and weak snow bridges. The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses.  These will grow today, and all week, with warm temperatures and round-the-clock melting. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to eliminate the risk of a fall into one of these slots. Just because other people are skiing somewhere it doesn’t mean it is a safe, hazard free area.  As an example, the most heavily used Lip has more hazards than other gently used locations areas like the Lobster Claw, Right Gully, Left Gully and Hillman’s Highway.

WEATHER and SNOWPACK: Today an increasing cloud trend will occur with the potential for afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  Temperatures will shoot up into the upper forties on the summit and is already there at mid-elevation on the mountain.  These factors will continue to produce heavy, slushy riding conditions. I would not want to be caught above treeline during a lightning event, especially with a saturated snowpack.

The Little Headwall has open holes of water undermined snow, and has become more hazardous over the past 24 hours. Collapsing around open holes occurred overnight evidenced by some cracks visible this morning. Based on this continued decay we can no longer recommend a ski descent and believe the walk out is a vastly safer option. The John Sherburne ski trail is disintegrating rapidly and the majority is currently closed.  At the rope, please avoid a slippery and muddy descent down the ski trail and cross to the hiking trail to walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 8:15 a.m., Sunday, May 3, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-03 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Saturday, May 2, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely. Watch for small avalanches on 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: Relatively slow moving but dense and heavy Wet Loose avalanches will flow from steep untracked terrain today. These slides can be dangerous if they push you into a terrain trap or over cliffs. There is a remote possibility of a Wet Slab avalanche from Sluice or Center Bowl/Lip area as heat penetrates further into recent new snow or if the waterfalls begin to run between and lubricate deeper layers. Due to the risk of both types of avalanches plus the potential for falling ice, Lunch Rocks and the floor of the Ravine, close to the base of the Headwall, are not safe places to hang out. Reduce your exposure to these threats by gathering well away from the fall line of these areas. Wet debris has virtually no pore space for air to flow through. People have died under just a few inches of this type of debris so consider this when evaluating these seemingly benign threats.

 OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: Be aware of crevasses hidden underneath the recent snow. The focus of the deepest slots is in the Lip area with others located directly beneath rock buttresses above longer slopes. These glide cracks are getting larger as the huge mass of snow moves downhill. Choosing a boot pack to ascend that avoids these hazards is a great way to eliminate the risk of a fall into one of these slots. It is next to impossible to predict but really easy to mitigate the risk of icefall in Tuckerman Ravine. I’ve watched with curiosity over the past several weeks as the 30 foot high pillar of ice on the roadcut on Rt. 16 as it delaminated from the cliff then slowly leaned to one side. The big pile of ice on the ground yesterday morning was evidence that gravity finally won, as it always does. I would not want to be beneath Sluice or Center Bowl ice when either lose the battle with gravity.

WEATHER and SNOWPACK: Light winds and a high temperature in the mid 40’s F on the summit with some afternoon clouds and possible rain showers are on tap for today. These weather conditions will further saturate the upper snowpack and create heavy, slushy riding conditions. Slopes such as Hillman’s Highway, Left and Right Gully, have seen the most ski traffic and will be more raked off, providing easier conditions for making turns. The past two weeks brought a foot of snow which accumulated much more deeply in the strong lee areas such as Sluice through Chute. The upper right side of Left Gully also has a large area of wind-loaded mush as well. Plenty of loose, untracked snow exists so expect lots of sluffing today. People with water skiing or wake boarding skills will be most comfortable with the turns and speed required to manage this slushy snow.

The Little Headwall has open holes of water and undermined snow, but it continues to be a skiable option for descending from the Bowl. Use extreme caution if choosing this route. Another alternative is to hike down to Hermit Lake or to leave the Little Headwall at its top and thread your way through the trees towards the Lower Snowfields.  The John Sherburne ski trail is disintegrating rapidly.  It’s currently closed at the #5 crossover, 1 mile up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 7:00 a.m., Saturday, May 2, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-02 print friendly

Avalanche Advisory for Friday, May 1st, 2015

This advisory expires tonight at 12:00 midnight.

Tuckerman Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger. The Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible. Lobster Claw, Right Gully, Left Gully, Hillman’s Highway, the Lower Snowfields, and the Little Headwall have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely in these locations. Huntington Ravine is under a General Advisory. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain in Huntington.

AVALANCHE PROBLEM: We have been continuing a slow moving trend towards more snow stability with temperatures above freezing during the day and below at night. Our field time today will focus on deep digging to conclude how the expected warm up over the next few days will effect wet slab and deep wet slab potential. Deeper areas of the newest snow from earlier in the week are rated Moderate due to concerns that further heating today, coupled with a slight chance of precipitation, continues the remote potential for Wet Slab avalanches.

OTHER PROBLEMS/HAZARDS: Be aware of the potential for crevasses to be hidden underneath the recent snow and the potential for falling ice. These issues will grow in intensity over the next several days due to the expected warming trend.  Although crevasses have been limited, they will grow in number and size quickly in the coming days.  These slots have already grabbed some people this week.

WEATHER: Fourteen days in a row of new snow has kept visibility low and intermittent as well as some avalanche conditions lingering on Mount Washington.  As unsettled weather tries to push out today, a clearing trend is expected which will feel like hot weather compared to the winterish April that concluded yesterday.  The prolonged period of low pressure systems that have plagued the higher terrain should give way to clear skies over the next 24 hours.  A chance of mixed precipitation once again exists today with a mix of clouds and sun. Temperatures will be in the mid thirties with a N wind, falling into the 10 mph range from a current of 25mph.

SNOWPACK:  New snow from early in the week has gone through some nice consolidation and sintering due diurnal swings above and below freezing. Today’s warm up will do more of the same, but will start a long period of around the clock melting with no nightly freeze up likely.  This has us thinking about meltwater percolating deeper than it has yet, bringing heat, more melting, and weakening into the week old snow that is quite deep in places.  This may increase the chance of wet slab avalanche problems in several isolated areas.  Our field time today will focus on this question and hopefully answer some of the nagging concerns regarding, “what will happen when it really gets hot out?”  The greatest concerns linger from the Sluice through the Left Center Headwall, with the bullseye being in the steepest open terrain from the Lip to the Center Bowl.  Continue to consider this hazard and your risk exposure in your field decisions and travel choices.  We are hoping for clear sky conditions to get a number of pictures up later today and don’t forget to look for the Weekend Update this afternoon.  We will provide an update based on what our field time tells us today.

The Little Headwall has open holes of water and undermined snow, but it continues to be a skiable option for descending from the Bowl. Expect this to change rapidly and may not be a good option by mid-weekend! Use extreme caution if choosing this route. Another alternative is to hike down to Hermit Lake, although expect an icy trail making microspikes and ski poles handy.  The John Sherburne ski trail will disintegrate rapidly so expect to hike more as the days get warm and be pleasantly surprised if you get to ski.  It’s currently closed at the #5 crossover, 1 mile up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from the parking lot. At the rope, please avoid the muddy descent and cross to the hiking trail and walk down. Do not ski on the hiking 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 at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 8:15 a.m., Friday, May 1, 2015. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

2015-05-01