Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:20 a.m., Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger today. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Once again today’s weather is expected to deteriorate as the day progresses due to convective cells moving into the area. This scenario, as it transpired yesterday, is reminiscent of the classic mid-summer sunny start followed by building thunderheads in the afternoon. There is an increasing threat of rain as we move into the afternoon before it begins to clear out again tonight with the approaching high pressure for Friday. Slopes endured warm temperatures yesterday, particularly south facing aspects, as the sun peaked in and out of the clouds under light winds. Lower wind speeds allowed snow surface warming to climb rapidly during periods of sunshine only to drop again as dark clouds moved in and out of the higher summits. Expect snow left over from the weekend to be a sluffing concern today especially in locations that are still untouched by skiers and riders. If convective cells do develop the mountain may see a quick blast of water which has the potential to clean steep slopes of left over weekend snow causing loose snow avalanches. Not only will it be quite uncomfortable as thundershowers above treeline are usually pretty heavy and cold, but sluffing, if not managed well, could bring you into a crevasses or over cliff bands. Know where these hazards are and avoid them.

There are many existing crevasses around the mountain and the number is growing. The most prominent locations where crevasses are likely to be encountered are in the Lip and in the Headwall below the cliffs and ice. The Lip area has crevasses that encroach from both sides making it a poor choice for travel. Icefall potential will continue to rise today and you should be aware that there are still significant amounts of ice around the Ravine, with the largest being in the Sluice and Headwall. For this reason I would stay well away from Lunch Rocks. If you do decide to sit in this shooting gallery you need to be very vigilant to watch for icefall and plant yourself on the downhill side of a very large rock for protection. Have a plan in mind for when icefall does occur. Due to melting and undermining, there is no longer a route out of the Ravine. Plan to take off your skis or board and walk down to Hermit Lake where you can rejoin the Sherburne for the trip downhill. Other areas, such as Hillman’s Highway, also have undermined snow but recent snow has obscured some of the open holes. Use caution around rocks, holes and sagging areas of snow. And lastly, lots of rocks have begun to melt out from the lower and middle sections of popular runs and there are numerous pieces of ice littering the floor of the Ravine. Take a good look at what will be in your runout before dropping into any line.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open. The upper two thirds of the John Sherburne is open with big bumps and thin cover. The bottom third is closed so cross over to the hiking trail when you come to the rope. To stay out of the mud and help prevent erosion please do not walk on the closed ski trail. For the safety of those hiking up the Tuckerman Ravine trail from Pinkham do not ski on the hiking trail.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

 

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

 

Posted: 7:47 a.m., Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger today. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Today’s weather is expected to deteriorate as the day progresses but we’re starting out beautifully. Yesterday we were treated to warm sunny skies and a snowpack that if anything had gotten too much sun! Sun-rollers and sloughing were widespread but south-facing slopes were riddled with this type of warmth-induced activity from the early morning hours. Although we have no way of knowing for sure, it certainly seems like the ravine stayed above freezing for the last two nights. The summit stayed below freezing during this period but Hermit Lake remained on the warm side of the freezing mark. Field observations yesterday showed that warmth had infiltrated the snowpack on all aspects but south-facing slopes had been cooked into a heavy batch of mashed potatoes. Even the old rain-hardened surface had been baked by the sun. A good cycle of freezing nights and warm days will be needed to magically turn the potatoes into the spring corn that so many are seeking. Today we expect to see more cooking in the Ravine as winds will be virtually nonexistent and the summit is supposed to reach the mid 30’s F (2C). Clouds will increse through the day and there is a chance that we’ll see some rain and thunderstorms. Between the prolonged warmth and the rain I would expect to see conditions and snow cover change rapidly as the day moves along. If we attract a sizeable convective cell we may get a quick blast of water that causes even more wet, loose snow avalanches. If getting soaked to the bone weren’t bad enough these sloughs may have the mass to push you into crevasses or over cliff bands. Keep a heads up!

There are many existing crevasses around the mountain and the number is growing. The most prominent locations where crevasses are likely to be encountered are in the Lip and in the Headwall below the cliffs and ice. The Lip area has crevasses that encroach from both sides making it a poor choice for travel. Icefall will continue today and you should be aware that there are still significant amounts of ice around the Ravine, with the largest being in the Sluice and Headwall. For this reason I would stay well away from Lunch Rocks unless you maintain vigilance and plant your butt on the downhill side of a big rock for protection. Have a plan in mind for when icefall does occur. Due to the amount of melting and undermining, the riverbed and Little Headwall no longer provide a good route out of the Ravine. Plan to take off your skis or board and walk down to Hermit Lake where you can rejoin the Sherburne for the trip downhill. Other areas, such as Hillman’s Highway, also have undermined snow but recent snow has obscured some of the open holes. Use caution around rocks, holes and sagging areas of snow. And lastly, lots of rocks have begun to melt out from the lower and middle sections of popular runs and there are numerous pieces of ice littering the floor of the Ravine. Take a good look at what will be in your runout before dropping into any line.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open. The upper two thirds of the John Sherburne is open with big bumps and thin cover. The bottom third is closed so cross over to the hiking trail when you come to the rope. For the sake of safety and resource protection please do not walk on the closed ski trail or ski on the hiking trail.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

 

Justin Preisendorfer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856
 
This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:49 a.m., Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has HIGH avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely. Travel in and around avalanche terrain is not recommended. The only exception to the High rating are the Lower Snowfields which have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are probable. Be increasingly cautious around steeper terrain.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Over the last few days more than 15″ (38cm) of snow has fallen on the summit. Winds remained fairly light through the course of the snowfall and the majority of the time they blew out of the SW. A shift to the NW occurred Saturday night but speeds remained relatively low and yesterday averaged only 26mph (42kph). Today we will see wind speeds of 55mph (86kph) with higher gusts and you can bet there will be snow blowing through the air. Snow showers may add to the mix but with plenty of snow available for transport above treeline another inch won’t make a big difference. The wind will blow out of the NNW for most of the day but we expect to see it shift to both the N and NW before the sun sets. These conditions are ideal for direct loading of the right side of the ravine. Avalanche danger will be increasing as the day progresses, with naturally triggered avalanches being likely in most areas by the end of the day. I would expect to see avalanche activity begin in Right Gully, the Sluice and Lip before continuing to the other forecast areas. The Lower Snowfields will see the least amount of new loading today, but they carry the additional risk of avalanches from the slopes above them. Windslab will develop on a variety of surfaces today from ski-chopped bumps to rain hardened old surface to smooth deep windslab. Adhesion of new slabs will be dependent on surface texture and in some areas we will likely see failure within existing windslab. With all of this said, today is not a good day to walk into the floor of the ravine to take a look. By the time that you can see the slopes through the blowing snow you will be in the bottom of multiple avalanche tracks and at risk of burial.

In addition to avalanche concerns, blowing snow will obscure existing crevasses around the mountain. The most prominent locations where crevasses are likely to be hidden are in the Lip and in the Headwall below the cliffs and ice. Icefall will take a back seat to the other hazards today, but you should be aware that there are still significant amounts of ice around the Ravine, with the largest being in the Sluice and Headwall. Low visibility will make any falling ice hard to see. Due to melting and undermining, the Little Headwall is not a good route out of the Ravine. Plan to take off your skis or board and walk down to Hermit Lake where you can rejoin the Sherburne for the trip downhill. Other areas, such as Hillman’s Highway, also have undermined snow but the clues that will help you avoid these areas will be obscured by blowing snow. And lastly, lots of rocks have begun to melt out and there are numerous pieces of ice littering the floor of the Ravine. With poor visibility today these will be difficult to see.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open. The upper two thirds of the John Sherburne is open with big bumps and thin cover. The bottom third will remain open for today, but it has very thin cover, so consider switching to the hiking trail near the bottom.

Please Remember:
• Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.

• You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.

• For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:59 a.m., Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has MODERATE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Use caution around steeper terrain. The only exception to this is the Lower Snowfields which have Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.Yesterday turned out to be a pretty decent day on the mountain though the Son of the Inferno race was postponed until today due to the weather. The weather forecast changed fairly early in the day and incoming precipitation amounts were lowered. As the snowfall came to a halt the summit staff tallied just over a foot of new moderate density snow from the storm. We expect to see a little bit more as the day moves along but it shouldn’t be enough to play prominently in today’s forecast. The big story though was the wind or lack thereof. The shift to the NW didn’t occur until after dark and as the wind speeds increased this morning the Observatory began to record blowing snow in their hourly observations. With all things considered most areas struggled to reach their forecasted ratings. We’re dropping all areas one rating today based on a wind forecast that shouldn’t provide a big change to our current stability. Realize that almost all areas are on the upper end of the Moderate rating and if winds exceed their forecast we will move back into the Considerable rating where human triggered avalanches are probable. In the meantime you can definitely find areas of cold windslab with the stored elastic energy. During the day yesterday we were able to observe shooting cracks in some of these slabs. Winds are expected to stay out of the NW through the day today with speeds up to 35mph (56kph). Though you won’t likely have an anemometer in your pack to check the forecast’s accuracy a simple look around is the best way to determine if the wind is causing more issues with stability. Blowing snow equals wind transport which is akin to windslab development and decreasing stability. Be your own forecaster. Within the areas forecasted at Moderate today there is a wide range with some areas pushing the upper end of the rating and others just squeaking in. Additionally you will find a variety of conditions within a single forecast area with old surface in one spot and 2″ (60cm) deep windslab only a stone’s throw away. Due to the SW winds that ushered in most of the snow the areas of most concern include the upper parts of Left Gully and Hillman’s as well as the middle part of the Chute. Aspects that were less protected from a SW wind like Right Gully and Lobster Claw currently have some old surface showing as a result of wind scouring and represent the lower end of the Moderate ratings. This would change if winds start to transport an appreciable amount of snow out of the NW.In addition to avalanche concerns, new snow has obscured some of the existing crevasses around the mountain. The most prominent locations where crevasses are likely to be hidden are in the Lip and in the Headwall below the cliffs and ice. Crevasses come very close to spanning the entire width of the Lip, offering very little in the way of quality skiing or riding in this area. Icefall will take a back seat to the other hazards today, but you should be aware that there are still significant amounts of ice around the Ravine, with the largest being in the Sluice and Headwall. Due to melting and undermining, the Little Headwall is not a good route out of the Ravine. Plan to take off your skis or board and walk down to Hermit Lake where you can rejoin the Sherburne for the trip downhill. Other areas, such as Hillman’s Highway, also have some undermined snow so be careful if hiking or making turns near open water and rocks. And lastly, lots of rocks have begun to melt out and there are numerous pieces of ice littering the floor of the Ravine. With cloudy conditions forecasted for the day these may be difficult to see, so plan your routes carefully and continually assess the hazards. As always it is highly recommended that you climb up whatever you plan on skiing or riding so that you can assess the hazards at a more leisurely pace.The Lion Head Winter Route is open. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is open all the way to the parking lot but the bottom half has many places with thin cover. The bottom portion was closed and free of snow a week ago so using your rock skis is the best option. Use caution as some hazards may be hidden and the ski leg of the Son of the Inferno race is going to be held on the ski trail. The rope will likely be back up at the half way point within a few days.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

Justin Preisendorfer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856
 
This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:58 a.m., Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are probable. Be increasing cautious in and under steeper terrain. The only exception to this is the Lower Snowfields which has Moderate avalanche danger Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Use caution in steeper terrain.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Spring usually generates thoughts of sun, birds chirping and flowers,…but not in our neck of the woods. Mount Washington is giving us it’s usual winter sucker punch when our guard is down. The weather event that we’ve been expecting through the later half of the week is moving slower and is colder than initially forecasted. The summit picked up 9.5″ (24cm) of 12-13 percent density snow as of 7am this morning. An additional 3-6″ (7.5-15cm) of snow is expected today in the high mountains followed by another 2-4″ (5-10cm) tonight and tomorrow which in total may add up to over 1.5 feet (45cm) by the end of the weekend. These amounts and Mount Washington’s average winds typically give us substantial loading, but this storm is a bit trickier to deal with due to low winds. Wind speeds have been fairly light from a S to WSW direction peaking at 29mph (48kph). Over the past 3 hours they have held from the WSW and should begin their march to the NW late by in the day. Wind velocities should be upwards of 20-25 mph (32-40kph) during the majority of today’s snowfall, which is expected mostly this morning into the early afternoon, before subsiding. These wind speeds coupled with a shifting direction will generate some light loading in the start zones and in strong protected lee areas which will produce a cohesive slab. However snow loading into some of these deposition zones may be almost imperceptible until winds really pick up tomorrow. I would be most cautious under steep slopes where some light sluffing has occurred loading the terrain below with deeper slabs. By later this afternoon we should have received a foot plus (30+cm) on the mountain since snow began Friday morning.

Because of all these concerns a “Considerable” forecast is most appropriate on slopes with a northerly facing component and under steep slopes where sluffing has occurred. I believe we are currently moving out of a Moderate rating and into Considerable through the morning as snowfall continues. Today’s rating is taking into account what snow is still expected to fall as the day ticks along. A “Considerable” rating begins to elevate the concern for the possibility of natural avalanches and the probability for human triggers which will both be a building potential as snowfall increases. I don’t think this probability is equal across the Ravine, but a weekend day often brings a sizable crowd to the mountain’s eastern flanks. This means lots of triggers skiing and riding about looking for any potential snow slab weaknesses. Therefore be increasingly cautious in and under steeper terrain today keeping an eye on what others may be doing. This will be challenging because of limited visibility making them difficult to make out through the obscuring snow. Also anticipate a degree of variability from a little bit of old surface to slab in excess of a foot and a half (45cm). Areas on the northern side of the Ravine facing the south have a more consistent blanket of new snow due to less direct loading. Some cross loading may occur in Right Gully and the Lobster Claw as winds shift to the west, but due to light winds this should be minimal. Avalanche potential will increase tomorrow as NW wind gusts approach 60mph (96kph).

In addition to avalanche concerns, new snow today will work to further obscure some of the existing crevasses around the mountain. The most prominent locations where crevasses are likely to be hidden by weak bridges of new snow are in the Lip and in the Headwall below the cliffs and ice. The crevasses come very close to spanning the entire width of the Lip, offering very little in the way of quality skiing while at the same time offering you a very quick, easy, and potentially painful viewing of the inside of a crevasse. Icefall will take a back seat to the other hazards today, but you should be aware that there are still significant amounts of ice around the Ravine, with the largest being in the Sluice and Headwall. Due to melting and undermining, the Little Headwall is not a good route out of the Ravine. Plan to take off your skis or boards and walk down to Hermit Lake where you can rejoin the Sherburne for the trip downhill. Other areas, such as Hillman’s Highway, also have some undermined snow. Be careful if hiking up near open water and rocks. And lastly, lots of rocks have begun to melt out and there are numerous pieces of ice littering the floor of the Ravine. With clouds and snow blowing around these may be difficult to see, so plan your routes carefully and continually assess the hazards.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open. The John Sherburne Ski Trail has picked up at least 6″ all the way to the parking lot so we have reopened the entire trail. Realize from about the halfway point that wet turf existed as of Thursday so although it is “skiable” new snow is covering some rocks and other ski grabbers. Rock skis would be best and use caution as some hazards may be hidden. The rope will likely be back up at the half way point within a few days.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:31 a.m., Friday, April 16, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has MODERATE and LOW avalanche danger. Hillman’s Highway, Left Gully, The Bowl, and Headwall will have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Use caution in steeper terrain. The Lower Snowfields, The Lip, and Right Gully have Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely EXCEPT in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Just when you thought our mountains lay waiting for inevitable late spring and summer the roar of winter returns yet again. Snow is falling from the 800ft level in the valleys all the way to Washington’s 6288 ft high point. This will continue into the afternoon when a wintry mix should ensue perhaps giving us slight glazing of freezing rain. Summit temperatures are currently at 17F (C), but should climb to a high of approximately 25F (C) before nightfall brings mercury back into the teens. Preceding the wintry mix changeover we are expecting 2-4″ (5-10cm) of snow on winds from the SSW at 15-30mph with higher gusts. These wind speeds should be high enough at times to load new snow into slopes with an E and N facing component primarily high in the start zones. If snowfall accumulations are near or over the 4″ mark I would expect enough loading in strong lee areas to hold some unstable slabs. As a changeover to sleet, freezing rain, and perhaps rain occurs an upside down snowpack situation will be in place creating increasing instabilities. If mixing and warm air advection is limited expect more snowfall than forecasted as the melted water predictions would give us another couple of inches. If either of these scenarios take place expect forecasted aspects in the direct lee to be at the upper end of the “Moderate” rating and hedging towards “Considerable”. Very late in the day as temperatures fall mixing is expected to change back to all snow for the overnight and through Saturday for an additional 3-6″ (7.5-15cm). If this comes to fruition we will receive 5-10″ over the next 36 hours. Then there’s still Sunday to contend with as the weather system lingers into the work week.

If we are on the lighter side of expected snowfall totals and endure a longer freezing rain event today we will be challenged to make it into the “Moderate” rating. A number of anchors and terrain interruptions such are rocks, moguls, and deep runnels exist in many start zones due to recent heat and skier traffic. In addition, current snow surfaces are highly textured and rough which will encourage new snow bonding. This will all help a lower snowfall rate stay put, but may become overwhelmed in areas if we reach the 4-6″ range today. For tonight and tomorrow weather models and forecasts are in reasonable agreement for precipitation totals however they differ in wind direction and temperatures. We may have a better handle on these factors in the Weekend Update later this afternoon and in tomorrow morning’s advisory. Most arrows are pointing to at least some aspects containing new snow instabilities for the weekend. This will drive the forecasted avalanche danger rating above Low in most areas. Depending on how the exact totals and loading winds pan out we may have increasing concerns about natural avalanche activity leading us to a “Considerable” forecast for some areas.

In addition to avalanche concerns, new snow today will work to further obscure some of the existing crevasses around the mountain. The most prominent locations where crevasses are likely to be hidden by weak bridges of new snow are in the Lip and in the Headwall below the cliffs and ice. Although the Lip has a Low avalanche danger rating today, it is not a recommended ski route. The crevasses come very close to spanning the entire width of this area, offering very little in the way of quality skiing while at the same time offering you a very quick, easy, and potentially painful viewing of the inside of a crevasse. Your best bet to avoid crevasse hazards today would be to stick to Right Gully and Lobster Claw; these have the added advantage of not being as favorable for the aforementioned wind loading. Icefall will take a back seat to the other hazards today, but you should be aware that there are still significant amounts of ice around the Ravine, with the largest being in the Sluice and Headwall. Should temperatures warm sufficiently this afternoon and rain begins to fall on the ice, expect icefall hazard to increase. Due to melting and undermining, the Little Headwall is not a good route out of the Ravine. Plan to take off your skis or boards and walk down to Hermit Lake where you can rejoin the Sherburne for the trip downhill. Other areas, such as Hillman’s Highway, also have some undermined snow. Be careful if hiking up near open water and rocks. One last thought: you should be thinking about your runout today. I’m not talking about the avalanche path runout (although that is always a good idea too), rather I’m referring to the fall line of your climbing or skiing route. Lots of rocks have begun to melt out and there are numerous pieces of ice littering the floor of the Ravine. With clouds and snow blowing around these may be difficult to see, so plan your routes carefully and continually assess the hazards.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as are the top sections of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom third of the trail is closed to all use, and from about halfway to the closure point the trail is in rough shape. I would expect to walk a few short sections even if you’re using your rock skis. Rainfall will quickly end up moving the closed rope uphill so stay tuned. Please stay off the closed sections to protect the trail from erosion and don’t endanger others’ lives by skiing on the hiking trail.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

 

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:39 a.m., Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely EXCEPT in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

It appears today will be the last day to get your vitamin D from sunny skies for a while. Clear conditions should prevail for most of the day until clouds filter in late, associated with diminishing winds. The summit’s current temperature of 19F (-7.2C) with wind velocities gusting to 63mph (101kph) will keep snow surfaces hard through the morning hours. However the potential for some softening exists for a brief window on south aspects sheltered from NW winds. The slow moving weather system will move in very late in the day bringing precipitation during the overnight. Moisture in all forms will fall in the mountains and continue for as long as 5 days. In the short term snow, sleet, and freezing rain should all be seen on Friday and Saturday. On the high side models are suggesting we may get 0.75″ (1.9cm) of melted water equivalent by Saturday evening. All this translates into a difficult avalanche forecasting scenario with temperature regimes flirting around the freezing mark producing all precipitation forms. For trip planning expect the potential for some areas in Tuckerman to move above a “Low” rating on Friday and Saturday. One thing is assured however, wet conditions, so be ready with plenty of dry clothes and quality rain gear. It’s become pretty clear rain will occur between the parking lot and the summit.

If you do come up today keep a number of potential hazards in mind. Expect a number of slope aspects to remain hard so realize the potential for uncontrolled slides on steep icy slopes on your ascent and descent. These are particularly hazardous when cliffs or large heavy objects like rocks and ice are in your runout. Quite a bit of icefall has occurred and the floor of the Ravine is littered with numerous large chunks in addition to rocks that have melted out. Today’s sunny skies will keep icefall a real possibility. There is a lot of new smaller ice from the current cold snap but there are also a number of pieces that are larger than the vehicle you drove to Pinkham. Don’t linger below ice in steep places and make sure you have a plan in case it does come down. Lunch Rocks is a poor place to sit based on the icefall danger from the Headwall and Sluice. Although staying on the downhill side of a large boulder will provide some protection it isn’t absolute security. Sitting further away from the Headwall as you come into the Ravine is a better choice.

Crevasses may be hidden by the small of amount of fresh snow that can be found high in the ravine. The biggest crevasses are in the Lip and Headwall, but other areas such as the Lower Snowfields have cracks opening up as well. The Lip is nearing the point where crevasses fully encroach from both sides. I would avoid this area entirely since falling into a crevasse is one of those life experiences I hope to never have as it could be my last one. You will also find moats or crevasses where the snow has melted away from dark rock especially on south-facing slopes. It may be a tempting place to click into your skis but be careful or you’ll lose one of your planks down into the abyss. Undermined snow refers to areas where running water below the snowpack has hollowed out a channel that you cannot see from above. The floor of the ravine has one large sinkhole reminding visitors that a river runs below. The brook leading out of the ravine is not recommended for travel due to open water and lots of undermined snow. Hillman’s Highway also has several spots of open water that hint at the flow beneath the surface. Additionally we have stopped forecasting for the Little Headwall because it is nothing but a waterfall at this point. Use your head and walk from the ravine down to Hermit Lake so that you don’t go swimming. As always it is wise to climb up the way you plan on descending so you can assess the hazards at a leisurely pace. If you can’t safely climb through the area do you really want to ski or ride it?

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as are the top sections of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom third of the trail is closed to all use, and from about halfway to the closure point the trail is in rough shape. I would expect to walk a few short sections even if you’re using your rock skis. Rainfall will quickly end up moving the closed rope uphill so stay tuned. Please stay off the closed sections to protect the trail from erosion and don’t endanger others’ lives by skiing on the hiking trail.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

 

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 6:43 a.m., Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Yesterday’s combination of sun, moderate temperatures and light wind speeds made for enjoyable conditions for the handful of visitors who came to sample the mountain’s offerings. Today looks to be pretty similar except for the winds. They’re currently blowing out of the NW at 35mph (56kph) but will climb through the day to around 60mph (97kph) with higher gusts. This will likely negate solar gain on those slopes high on the mountain that are exposed to the wind. Protected areas should have an easier time softening as summit temperatures are expected to reach the mid 20’s F (-4C) and will be slightly warmer down in the Ravine. Enjoy the sun while you can because it looks like we’ll be in or under the clouds for a long stretch starting Thursday night. This low pressure system may very well deliver snow to the mountains so keep checking back if you’re thinking of heading this way for the Patriot’s Day Weekend.

In addition to selecting your line of descent based on exposure to the wind you’ll also want to think about how it relates to the cornucopia of springtime hazards that currently exist. With conditions right on the cusp of freezing it will be important to keep an eye on the creeping shadowline of the afternoon so you don’t get caught on the wrong side of a steep slope that quickly returns to alpine ice. Uncontrolled slides on steep icy slopes are no fun especially when there are cliffs or large heavy objects in your runout. Quite a bit of icefall has occurred and the floor of the Ravine is littered with numerous large chunks in addition to rocks that have melted out. Today’s sunny skies will keep icefall a real possibility. There is a lot of new smaller ice from the last cold snap but there are also a number of pieces that are larger than the vehicle you drove to Pinkham in. Don’t linger below ice in steep places and make sure you have a plan in case it does come down. Lunch Rocks is a poor place to sit based on the icefall danger unless you stay on the downhill side of a large boulder with adequate protection.

Crevasses may be hidden by the small of amount of fresh snow that can be found high in the ravine. The biggest crevasses are in the Lip and Headwall, but other areas such as the Lower Snowfields have cracks opening up as well. The Lip is nearing the point where crevasses fully encroach from both sides. I would avoid this area entirely since falling into a crevasse is one of those life experiences I hope to never have. You will also find moats or crevasses where the snow has melted away from dark rock especially on south-facing slopes. It may be a tempting place to click into your skies but be careful or you’ll lose one of your planks down into the abyss. Undermined snow refers to areas where running water below the snowpack has hollowed out a channel that you cannot see from above. The floor of the ravine has one large sinkhole reminding visitors that a river runs below. The brook leading out of the ravine is not recommended for travel due to open water and lots of undermined snow. Hillman’s Highway also has several spots of open water that hint at the flow beneath the surface. Additionally we have stopped forecasting for the Little Headwall because it is nothing but a waterfall at this point. Use your head and walk from the ravine down to Hermit Lake so that you don’t go swimming. As always it is wise to climb up the way you plan on descending so you can assess the hazards at a leisurely pace. If you can’t safely climb through the area do you really want to ski or ride it?

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as are the top sections of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom third of the ski trail is closed to all use, and from about halfway to the closure point the trail is in rough shape. I would expect to walk a few short sections even if you’re using your rock skis. Please stay off the closed sections to protect the trail from erosion and don’t endanger others’ lives by skiing on the hiking trail.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

 

Justin Preisendorfer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856
 
This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4) 

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 6:59 a.m., Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely EXCEPT in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Today marks the start of what looks to be a three-day run of bluebird days. Summit temperatures are expected to push above yesterday’s high of 21F (-6C) but are unlikely to move above the freezing mark. Down in the ravine you can expect temps that are slightly warmer especially in the Bowl’s lower reaches where we should push above freezing. Winds are expected to be light especially in the later part of the day and this combination seems to bode well for those seeking springtime turns. I’d recommend planning your runs strategically based on the current hazards and where the sun is best able to do its magic. Today will be one of those days where it will be important to keep an eye on the creeping shadowline of the afternoon so you don’t get caught on the wrong side of a steep slope that quickly returns to alpine ice.

When I mention choosing your intended line of descent based on the current hazards I mean more than just how steep it is. It may be mid April but a season of below-average snowfall has made the conditions in the ravine deteriorate rapidly. If you last visited two weeks ago you’ll be amazed to see how different things look today. If you’re planning a visit for this weekend look for new pictures on the website later today and check back in the coming days as a wintery system looks to be moving in by late Friday. The typical springtime hazards of Tucks are now in full swing. Quite a bit of icefall has occurred and the floor of the ravine is littered with numerous large chunks in addition to rocks that have melted out. We’ve had a reprieve from icefall over the last few days but sunny skies will begin to cut pieces loose again today. There is a lot of new smaller ice from the last cold snap but there are also a number of pieces that are larger than the vehicle you drove to Pinkham in. Don’t linger below ice in steep places and make sure you have a plan in case it does come down. Lunch Rocks is a poor place to sit based on the icefall danger unless you stay on the downhill side of a large boulder with adequate protection.

Uncontrolled slides on steep icy slopes are a hazard today especially early and late in the day. If an area is in the shadows you will likely want an ice axe and crampons to safely negotiate your way through Then again if you need crampons to climb it why the heck would you want to ski or ride it? Crevasses may be hidden by the small of amount of fresh snow that can be found high in the ravine. The biggest crevasses are in the Lip and Headwall, but other areas such as the Lower Snowfields have cracks opening up as well. The Lip is nearing the point where crevasses fully encroach from both sides. I would avoid this area entirely since falling into a crevasse is one of those life experiences I hope to never have. You will also find moats or crevasses where the snow has melted away from dark rock especially on south-facing slopes. It may be a tempting place to click into your skies but be careful or you’ll lose one of your planks down into the abyss. Undermined snow refers to areas where running water below the snowpack has hollowed out a channel that you cannot see from above. The floor of the ravine has one large sinkhole reminding visitors that a river runs below. The brook leading out of the ravine is not recommended for travel due to open water and lots of undermined snow. Hillman’s Highway also has several spots of open water that hint at the flow beneath the surface. Additionally we have stopped forecasting for the Little Headwall because it is nothing but a waterfall at this point. Use your head and walk from the ravine down to Hermit Lake so that you don’t go swimming.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as are the top sections of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom third of the trail is closed to all use, and from about halfway to the closure point the trail is in rough shape. I would expect to walk a few short sections before we move the rope up to the halfway point by the weekend. Please stay off the closed sections to protect the trail from erosion and don’t endanger others’ lives by skiing on the hiking trail.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

 

Justin Preisendorfer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856
 
This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:07 a.m., Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. The Little Headwall and brook leading out of the Ravine are not recommended for travel due to open water and undermined snow conditions.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

If you dream of skiing steep corn snow on a bright and warm spring day, and lounging around the floor of the ravine soaking in the sunshine and social atmosphere, this past weekend would have left you feeling unfulfilled. Those conditions might be coming in a couple days, but for today we’ll have conditions similar to yesterday. You can expect cloudy, breezy, and cold weather to start the day with some clearing and decreasing winds in the afternoon. Temperatures on the Summit will max out around 20F (-6.7C) so don’t expect much softening to take place even after the clouds depart. Surfaces are a mix of old gray crust and patches of newer snow. The older crust is slick and you won’t want to fall on it with any bit of speed, but people have been able to get their edges into it more than I would have expected. The patches of new snow yesterday were providing some people with short sections of enjoyable turns before transitioning into the crust again. This was happening mostly on the right side of Tuckerman. As you move into the most sheltered locations, such as high up under the Headwall ice or in the Lip, expect these patches of snow to be deeper. There is a chance you’ll find instabilities within layers of the new snow, but the more important thing to know is that these areas are the very same ones that harbor the most crevasse danger. It will be very difficult to see these hazards or to assess how widespread they are, so travel very carefully through here, or better yet head somewhere else. Low avalanche danger does accurately describe the conditions around the Ravine, but remember that it does not mean there is zero chance of unstable snow. So while you won’t likely get buried by avalanche debris you might get knocked off your feet and sent for a more rapid descent than you’d hoped for.

The past couple weeks have dramatically changed the landscape in Tuckerman Ravine. It looks more like a typical May than late April. The changes brought a rapid development of springtime hazards that you’ll want to be aware of when heading into the Ravine. Crevasses and undermined snow are two hazards that may be hidden by new snow and can be difficult to see. The biggest crevasses are in the Lip and Headwall, but other areas such as the Lower Snowfields are opening up as well. The Lip is nearing the point where crevasses fully encroach from both sides. I would avoid this area entirely since falling into a crevasse is one of those life experiences I hope to never have. Falling ice is also a concern; although cold weather will help keep it attached to the cliffs today much of it has been severely weakened and is precariously perched up high. There are also plenty of chunks of ice littering the floor of the Ravine from previous icefall. Be sure to take a good look at your intended route and think of how you will manage the icefall hazard. The upcoming week has a lot of sunshine in the forecast and cold nights as well. If you’re planning a trip up here this week it’s recommended that you bring an ice axe and crampons to safely negotiate steep icy slopes. This is a good idea even if you only plan to be on the hill during the warmer hours…you never know when unforeseen circumstances will change your plans.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as are the top sections of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom third of the trail is closed to all use, and from about halfway to the closure point the trail is in rough shape. I would expect that by the weekend we’ll need to close it to the halfway point. Please stay off the closed sections to protect the trail from erosion.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:49 a.m., Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely EXCEPT IN ISOLATED POCKETS. UNDERSTAND THESE POCKETS ABSOLUTELY DO EXIST. READ ON. The Little Headwall and brook leading out of the Ravine are not recommended for travel due to open water and undermined snow conditions.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Yesterday morning started out a little gnarly for folks with summit temperatures in the low teens F and winds gusting to 96mph (153kph). The new icy precipitation acted like a ceramic bead blaster offering a free exfoliation facial for those without good covering. Between the weather, hard old surfaces and new snow instabilities it was a challenge for visitors to get a nice spring ski experience. Today will be a bit of a reprieve from Saturday’s harsh winter conditions, but will carry a similar theme. New snow over the past 36+ hours has given the summit about 3.5″ (8.9cm) of new snow associated with high transporting winds. Field observations during some clearing yesterday afternoon showed a patchy network of new snow across the majority of the Bowl, Headwall, Lip, and Sluice. Some of these areas are likely to be in excess of 2 feet (60cm) deep as I found a number of 18″ (45cm) pockets way down low in protected locations. Some of the largest pockets encompass a fairly large piece of ground under the Headwall ice, Lip and Sluice. I think if someone was really hunting to trigger a pocket they could find enough weakness in some of these pillows, even under the “Low” rating. We have moved from Moderate to Low because of the number of the patches being broken up by many sections of old hard gray surfaces. The roughness of the terrain, areas of moguls, deep runnels, crevasses, etc. are acting both as anchors and terrain features stopping any propagation of slab failure. Because of these factors it is most appropriate for the Ravine to be at a Low rating based on the distribution of the issues, but understand Low does not mean none! Triggering a pocket may be very problematic depending on your location (i.e. above rocks, a cliff band, or crevasses) however the failing slab should remain small relative to each forecast area’s average potential. New snow is also hiding some of the dangerous crevasses and holes particularly high under the greater Lip area. Because of all these issues I would avoid the Headwall and Lip entirely. Although instabilities won’t be on the same scale as the aforementioned locations, pockets of instability do exist near the top climber’s right of the Chute, Left Gully, and Hillman’s Highway as well. New snow is forecasted to accumulate as much as another inch (2.5cm) today which should not be enough to bump the ratings up but there may be some strong lee areas pushing the ceiling of the “Low” definition.

Once again it will be cold and windy today with current summit temperatures at about 20F(-7C) and blowing at 40mph (65kph). Velocities will increase through the day with expected gusts close to 80mph (128kph) this afternoon. This will keep surface conditions very similar to yesterday, hard and icy! Skiers and boarders struggled to ascend steep terrain, many falling before reaching a platform to attach their skis and boards. In order to travel safely in steep terrain, you need to have an ice axe, real crampons, and the ability to know how to use them effectively on icy surfaces. LONG SLIDING FALLS until you hit the flats or rocks are a significant reality today. The old surface is very slick so it will be critical to self arrest immediately with your ice axe or expect an ugly warp speed descent.

Icefall is a concern due to all the weakening that has occurred as of late but the hazard has subsided because of cold temperatures. We did have a fair amount of icefall this week which now peppers the floor obscured by a foggy flat light. Large sections of ice still hover on the Headwall and in the Sluice. Therefore, I wouldn’t put icefall out of your mind completely but avalanches, weather, crevasses and undermining are the bigger issues today. Although temperatures have strengthened the snow around holes and crevasses a fall above them would be very unfortunate. It’s likely you won’t stop until you’re into the bottom of them so it is extremely important to select your fall lines VERY CAREFULLY!! Rocks, crevasses, holes, running water in your descent line is a poor choice. The waterfalls and crevasses near the Headwall and Lip should be avoided.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as is most of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom section of the trail is now closed and you’ll need to watch for bare spots up to that point. Cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the rope and walk the short section to the parking lot. This will be better for you and protect the ski trail from erosion. The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season leaving Hermit Lake Shelters as the only camping option on the east side of Mt Washington.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:18 a.m., Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has MODERATE avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Use caution in steep terrain. The only exceptions to this are the Lower Snowfields and Little Headwall which have Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. The Little Headwall and brook leading out of the Ravine is not recommended for travel due to open water and undermined snow conditions.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Snow stability discussions have been virtually absent from our Avalanche Advisories for a while now, but if you’re heading up into avalanche terrain today you should be paying attention to the current situation rather than what the past couple weeks have been like. New snow has fallen on the mountain, beginning overnight and continuing through this morning. Expected totals by lunchtime are in the 3.5-4″ (8.9-10cm) range. About 2.7″ (7cm) of this has already fallen as of 7am. The rest is going to be a result of wraparound moisture from a departing low pressure system creating upslope snow until early afternoon. WNW winds ramped up overnight from 14mph (23kph) at 6 last night to 95mph (153kph) at 7:30 this morning, and are forecasted to remain strong throughout the day. When subjected to these winds, 3.5-4″ (8.9-10cm) of snow can create some impressive wind slabs. The locations most likely to develop unstable slabs are the strongly sheltered lee areas with a E or SE aspect, such as the greater Headwall, Lip, Sluice and Right Gully areas. These locations pose the greatest threat and could easily reach into the upper end of the MODERATE RATING HEDGING TOWARDS CONSIDERABLE. Other forecast areas rated at Moderate also have the potential for wind loading, although it won’t be on the same scale as the aforementioned locations. Depending in large part on how much snow falls between now and the afternoon, areas such as Left Gully and Hillman’s may just move out of the Low definition’s “isolated pockets” to a more widespread new snow instability problem. The difference between Low and Moderate often is determined by the size and distribution of potential instabilities. Although isolated pockets may be easy to avoid by staying on old surfaces it does not mean they don’t harbor weaknesses. So this presents an interesting challenge to backcountry skiers: the surface conditions for skiing and riding will be very icy and challenging if you avoid the new snow, but any area of new snow should be treated as potentially unstable. Your ability and experience with determining snow stability should guide your decision making today. Don’t think that just because someone else has put tracks on a slope then the snowpack is stable. They may have been ignorant to snow stability issues, very bold, or just gotten lucky.

Putting aside snow stability for a few moments, there are other things that should be running through your head today. First is the weather. IT IS COLD AND WINDY TODAY. THINK JANUARY, NOT APRIL. The summit is currently at 13F (-10.5C) with wind gusts to almost 100mph (160kph) The rain followed by cold has turned all the snow and lots of the rocks into a slippery icy mass. In order to travel safely in steep terrain, you need to have an ice axe, real crampons, and the ability to know how to use them effectively on icy surfaces. LONG SLIDING FALLS until you hit the flats or rocks are a significant reality today. The old surface is very slick so it will be critical to self arrest immediately with your ice axe or expect an ugly warp speed descent.

Icefall is a concern due to all the weakening that has occurred as of late but the hazard has subsided because of cold temperatures. I wouldn’t put icefall out of your mind completely but avalanches, weather, crevasses and undermining are the bigger issues today. Although temperatures have strengthened the snow around holes and crevasses a fall above them would be very unfortunate. It’s likely you won’t stop until you’re into the bottom of them so it is extremely important to select your fall lines VERY CAREFULLY!! Rocks, crevasses, holes, running water in your descent line is a poor choice. The waterfalls and crevasses near the Headwall and Lip should be avoided.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as is most of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom section of the trail is now closed and you’ll need to watch for bare spots up to that point. Cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the rope and walk the short section to the parking lot. This will be better for you and protect the ski trail from erosion. The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season leaving Hermit Lake Shelters as the only camping option on the east side of Mt Washington.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:08 a.m., Friday, April 9, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Rain and possible thunderstorms will continue today bringing localized heavy rain to isolated locations. As the cold front passes today temperatures will plummet and freeze surfaces and change rain to snow. Mercury is expected to fall to 10F (-12C) tonight and rebound slightly on Saturday, but increasing winds will dominate the weather tomorrow as max wind gusts approach 100mph (160kph). Compared to some of the weather we’ve been seeing over the past couple of weeks this weekend will be a return to full winter. Expect hard icy surfaces with pockets of new snow. You will likely see a return of new snow avalanche problems in our discussions over the next couple of days. As this occurs we will have a concern for every major hazard the mountain can throw at us during the spring season (I.e. avalanches, icefall, crevasses, undermining, and dangerous weather). Be sure to see our Weekend updater late this afternoon for more discussion on Saturday and Sunday’s projected conditions.

If you’ve been reading our advisories through the week the spring hazard discussion for today hasn’t changed very much. ICEFALL A tremendous amount of ice still hangs in the Sluice as well as in the Center Headwall, so don’t linger below this looming hazard. At this point in the season Lunch Rocks is one of the most likely places to get hurt or killed by falling ice as it’s in the direct run out of both the Headwall and the Sluice. As temperatures freeze tonight icefall potential should subside, but based on the weakening that has already occurred you should continue to be weary of this hazard. CREVASSES have emerged so you’ll need to keep a watchful eye for them as you hike up your intended line of descent. The Lip and Headwall area have the greatest number of large cracks opening up. What you see on the surface is often much smaller than the opening underneath the snow, so give them plenty of space and travel carefully around the edges to avoid punching through. Knowing where they are in relation to your fall line is critical as hard surfaces will make the falling potential while skiing much higher this weekend than it has been. UNDERMINED SNOW increased dramatically over the past week as temperatures stayed above freezing for a full 7-8 days before dipping briefly below the freezing mark. Trying to ski/ride from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake is pretty futile due to considerable melting this week. By far the best way down from the Bowl to Hermit Lake is to walk down the hiking trail the same way you came up. There are still plenty of turns to be had on the mountain but visitors need to be on high alert for the springtime hazards that have killed and injured many people over the years. When choosing your lines or your resting spots make sure you assess which hazards you face and develop a plan for dealing appropriately. As you change locations through the day continue to constantly assess the new problems you may be facing. Never stop looking for the objective hazards the mountain may be throwing your way. Realize this may be difficult during times of fog and low visibility. Personally I would stay clear of icefall runouts, which is most of both Ravines, if I cannot see the ice coming due to fog. There is likely nothing worse than hearing a loud thundering crack and smashing of ice heading in your direction and not being able to see it.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as is most of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom section of the trail is now closed and you’ll need to watch for bare spots up to that point. Cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the rope to avoid deep mud and water on the ski trail and walk the short section to the parking lot. This will be better for you and protect the ski trail from erosion. The trail has been changing daily and it is possible we may be melted back to the half way point by the weekend. The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season leaving Hermit Lake Shelters as the only camping option on the east side of Mt Washington.

Please Remember:
•   Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
 
•   You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
 
•   For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

 

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 6:30 a.m., Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

A theme of rain, brief clearing, back to fog, and possible thunderstorms continue. A bit over a half an inch of rain over the past 48 hours coupled with warm temperatures is increasing the snow and ice melting process. This rain-thunder potential is anticipated to be with us over the next 36 hours with heaviest precipitation likely occurring tonight. As colder air comes in tomorrow the potential of up to 2″ (5cm) of new snow could fall Friday evening. We’ll talk more about Friday night and Saturday in tomorrow morning’s advisory and the weekend update in the afternoon.

If you’ve been reading our advisories through the week the spring hazard discussion isn’t changing very much. Of the big five spring problems, (avalanches, icefall, crevasses, undermining, and weather) avalanches potential is the only concern that is low on the list. Icefall has been a huge concern and will continue over the next few days as warm temperatures and rain help send large chunks of ice to the floor of the Bowl. A tremendous amount of ice still hangs in the Sluice as well as in the Center Headwall, so don’t linger below this looming hazard. At this point in the season Lunch Rocks is one of the most likely places to get hurt or killed by falling ice as it’s in the direct run out of both the Headwall and the Sluice. Crevasses have also begun to emerge and you’ll need to keep a watchful eye for them as you hike up your intended line of descent. The Lip and Headwall area have the greatest number of cracks opening up. What you see on the surface is often much smaller than the opening underneath the snow, so give them plenty of space and travel carefully around the edges to avoid punching through. Undermined snow increased dramatically over the past week as temperatures stayed above freezing for a full 7-8 days before dipping briefly below the freezing mark. We are heading back into around the clock melting as the next 36 hours should remain above 32F (0C) all the way to the higher summits. Trying to ski/ride from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake is now akin to gambling with your life. Large sections of snow have been collapsing into the river. This has been exacerbated by 0.5″ (1.25cm) of rain in the last couple of days with more on the way. This past Saturday one lucky skier went for a cold swim and was able to be pulled out by another person, and this was just trying to walk back through the woods to Hermit Lake. Do yourself a favor and walk down to Hermit Lake when leaving the Bowl. There are still plenty of turns to be had on the mountain but visitors need to be on high alert for the springtime hazards that have killed and injured many people over the years. When choosing your lines or your resting spots make sure you assess which hazards you face and develop a plan for dealing appropriately. As you change locations through the day continue to constantly assess the new problems you may be facing. Never stop looking for the objective hazards the mountain may be throwing your way. Realize this may be difficult during times of fog and low visibility. Personally I would stay clear of icefall runouts, which is most of both Ravines, if I cannot see the ice coming due to fog. There is likely nothing worse than hearing a loud thundering crack and smashing of ice heading in your direction and not being able to see it.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as is most of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom section of the trail is now closed and you’ll need to watch for bare spots up to that point. Cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the rope to avoid deep mud and water on the ski trail and walk the short section to the parking lot. This will be better for you and protect the ski trail from erosion. The trail has been changing daily and it is possible we may be melted back to the half way point by the weekend. The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season leaving Hermit Lake Shelters as the only camping option on the east side of Mt Washington.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)

Avalanche Advisory Archives.

United States Avalanche Danger Descriptions.

Échelle Canadienne de risque d’avalanche.

Back to the Mount Washington Avalanche Center Homepage

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Thunderstorms and rain showers during the overnight will continue on and off for the mountains today. Weather forecasts are expecting thunderstorm potential and precipitation to continue through Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. Adding to these pleasantries wind velocities are gusting over 60mph (95kph) this morning with temperatures hovering around 40F (4.4C). Unfortunately, there is nothing in the weather forecasts to indicate a return of sunny weather any time soon.

Today, as well as through the week, springtime hazards will continue to flourish and get worse. These have grown substantially in the past week, with conditions changing dramatically from day to day. Icefall has been a huge concern and will continue over the next few days as warm temperatures and rain help send large chunks of ice to the floor of the Bowl. A tremendous amount of ice still hangs in the Sluice as well as in the Center Headwall, so don’t linger below this looming hazard. At this point in the season Lunch Rocks is one of the most likely places to get hurt or killed by falling ice as it is in the direct run out of both the Headwall and the Sluice. Crevasses have also begun to emerge and you’ll need to keep a watchful eye for them as you hike up your intended line of descent. The Lip and Headwall area have the greatest number of cracks opening up. What you see on the surface is often much smaller than the opening underneath the snow, so give them plenty of space and travel carefully around the edges to avoid punching through. Undermined snow increased dramatically over the past week as temperatures stayed above freezing for a full 7-8 days before dipping briefly below the freezing mark. We are heading back into around the clock melting as the next 48 hours will remain above 32F (0C) all the way to the higher summits. Trying to ski/ride from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake is now akin to gambling with your life. Large sections of snow have been collapsing into the river. On Saturday one lucky skier went for a cold swim and was able to be pulled out by another person, and this was just trying to walk back through the woods to Hermit Lake. Do yourself a favor and walk down to Hermit Lake when leaving the Bowl. There are still plenty of turns to be had on the mountain but visitors need to be on high alert for the springtime hazards that have killed and injured many people over the years. When choosing your lines or your resting spots make sure you assess which hazards you face and develop a plan for dealing appropriately. As you change locations through the day continue to constantly assess the new problems you may be facing. Never stop looking for the objective hazards the mountain may be throwing your way. Realize this may be difficult during times of fog and low visibility. Personally I would stay clear of icefall runouts, which is most of both Ravines, if I cannot see the ice coming due to fog. There is likely nothing worse than hearing a loud thundering crack and smashing of ice heading in your direction and not being able to see it.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as is most of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom section of the trail is now closed and you’ll need to watch for bare spots up to that point. Cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the rope to avoid deep mud and water on the ski trail and walk the short section to the parking lot. This will be better for you and protect the ski trail from erosion. The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season leaving Hermit Lake Shelters as the only camping option on the east side of Mt Washington.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)