Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:00a.m., Sunday, May 08, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the best information available. That’s what we all did yesterday when looking at the weather forecasts. The actual weather turned out much better than expected: a few spits of rain from the sky and numerous breaks of sunshine throughout the day. So although we prepared for mostly cloudy and rainy weather, it actually turned into a nice day overall. It’s never a bad idea to hope for the best while being prepared for the worst. Today the weather is starting out quite nice again, but the forecasts are calling for increasing clouds in the afternoon and a slight chance of a late day shower. Getting an early start will help you stay out of the clouds, but be prepared for decreasing visibility if you’re out on the mountain late.

The snowpack has been going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards have become more widespread.  This week’s ravine is much less attractive than last week’s and the following hazards deserve special attention:

  1. Falling Ice is a serious hazard and has injured and killed many people through the years. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both of these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. Your best defense is to not spend time in areas where ice looms above.
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas, the largest of these can be found in the Lip, Sluice, and Center Bowl. Other areas also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace. Crevasse edges are often less stable than they appear, so steer clear of these unless you can safely evaluate their size.
  3. Undermined Snow often hides running water below and it can quickly ruin your day if you break through. Avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water and keep a heads up at the bottom of gullies where the snowpack is thinnest.

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is now closed to all use. This section extends from Lunch Rocks to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail, and includes skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.

The top third of the Sherburne Ski Trail is currently open.  This section is riddled with moguls, bare sections, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, please walk down the hiking trail. The hike down from Hermit Lake to where the ski trail is closed is roughly 15 minutes, so you might want to consider walking all the way.

Please Remember:

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

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

Printable Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:00a.m., Saturday, May 07, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

A number of folks showed genuine excitement yesterday because they heard we got snow.  Rooster tails of champagne powder filled their dreams but the reality was much different.  A dusting of snow was about what we received in the ravines and all it really did was temporarily obscure some of the smaller crevasses.  To fill in the larger crevasses you’d need a fleet of dump trucks and access to a pile of snow like you’d see in a Walmart parking lot during the late winter.  In the absence of the big May dump we’re working with pretty typical late spring conditions.  Rain on Wednesday drenched the snowpack and immediately following, temperatures dropped below freezing where they’ve hung for much of the last three days.  An ice ax and the ability to self arrest will be key to safe travel when snow conditions are icy.  It is now above freezing at Hermit Lake so I think soft snow will soon be a reality.

The snowpack has been going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards have become more widespread.  This week’s ravine is much less attractive than last week’s and the following hazards deserve special attention:

  1. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the open waterfall and very large crevasses. A slip in this area would be disastrous so show everyone how smart you are and find someplace else to make turns.
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip, Sluice, and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. Other areas also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow often hides running water below and it can quickly ruin your day if you break through. Avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water and keep a heads up at the bottom of gullies where the snowpack is thinnest.
  4. Falling Ice is a serious hazard. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations where ice looms above. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both of these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. There are better locations to park yourself farther down in the ravine.

The top third of the Sherburne Ski Trail is currently open.  This section is riddled with moguls, bare spots, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, please walk down 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 AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • This advisory expires at midnight. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

Printable Advisory

 

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:15a.m., Friday, May 06, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

A light dusting of snow is all we got yesterday. The summit recorded 1.8″ (4.5cm) of new snow, which is barely enough to obscure some of the old surface around the ravine. Temperatures will rebound today, rising above the freezing mark during the day and staying there through tomorrow. Meanwhile, winds will decrease to 35-50mph (55-80kph). Looking at the forecasts, I would expect today to be a reasonable day to spend in the mountains, but Saturday rain showers are likely which will make staying comfortable a lot more challenging. If you are out today, expect surfaces to be very icy to start the day. A fall on the icy slopes can be a bad way to end your day. Be patient and you should be rewarded with softer surfaces to slide on.

The snowpack has been going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards have become more widespread.  This week the decay continued, albeit at a much less rapid pace than we’ve seen recently. With the return of warm sun today and rain tomorrow you’ll need to pay attention to the following springtime hazards:

  1. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the open waterfall and very large crevasses. Each season the Tuckerman Ravine Trail through this area is closed due to the unique nature of these objective hazards. We expect this closure will take effect near the start of this weekend.
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip, Sluice, and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. Other areas also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow often hides running water below and it can quickly ruin your day if you break through. Avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Falling Ice is a serious hazard. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations where ice looms above. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both of these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. There are better locations to park yourself farther down in the ravine.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is currently open a little farther than halfway down. The open section is riddled with moguls, bare spots, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, please walk down 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 AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • This advisory expires at midnight. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

Printable Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 7:40a.m., Thursday, May 05, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Just because it’s snowing on the mountain this morning doesn’t mean you should drop everything and jump in the car. Nope, today actually has a nasty raw feeling to it, kind of like a cold November day. If you’re heading up this way, be sure to check the weather forecast for the higher summits and pack and plan accordingly. Temperatures are falling into the 20sF (-6C), meanwhile winds will be picking up through the day reaching around 40mph (64kph) by dusk. Throw some wet snow into the thick fog and you can imagine what the conditions will be like. Snow accumulations today might be limited to around an inch (2.5cm), or they might get as deep as 4” (10cm). This won’t be enough to break the streak of Low danger ratings today, but it might be just enough for the unwelcome “dust on crust” scenario to unfold. With temperatures as low as they are, expect the snow surfaces to be very icy and slick. Long sliding or tumbling falls are a real threat today. Poor visibility will limit your ability to see all the hazards, such as the large crevasse or rocks that might be in your fall line.

The snowpack has been going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards have become more widespread.  When clouds, fog, and snow limit your visibility it becomes more important to choose your routes carefully:

  1. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the open waterfall and very large crevasses. Each season the Tuckerman Ravine Trail through this area is closed due to the unique nature of these objective hazards. We expect this closure will take effect near the start of this weekend.
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. The Sluice and Chute also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow often hides running water below and it can quickly ruin your day if you break through. Avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Falling Ice is a serious hazard each season, but will be put on the back burner until temperatures heat up again later in the weekend.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is currently open a little farther than halfway down. The open section is riddled with moguls, bare spots, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, please walk down 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 AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • This advisory expires at midnight. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

Printable Advisory

 

 

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:00am Wednesday May 4, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

There are days when I’d rather not look at the weather forecasts, especially those with icons that represent each day’s expected weather for the coming week.  Today is one of those stick-your-head-in-the-sand type days.  I won’t dwell on the unsettled weather forecasted for the next 5-7 days but let’s talk about today.  There is currently a Flood Watch in effect for northern NH and we’re expected to see up to 1″ (2.5cm) of rain.  A passing cold front will be largely responsible for triggering the rain and as it marches through temperatures will fall.  Tonight they are expected to dip below freezing on the summit for the first time since Sunday morning.  You might be hoping that the drop in temps will change the rain over to snow and you’re sort of in luck.  We are expecting a transition to snow but unfortunately I think it’s going to be accompanied by sleet and freezing rain.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for pure snow but it’s good to stay grounded in reality.  In my opinion today will be a pretty miserable day to be in the mountains.  Rain and falling temps is a recipe for hypothermia.  If you do decide to visit wear your rain gear and be conservative in your decision-making.  The snowpack is going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards are becoming more widespread.  When clouds and fog limit your visibility it becomes more difficult to pick out the following:

  1. Falling Ice is a serious hazard. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations where ice looms above. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both of these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. There are better locations to park yourself farther down in the ravine.
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. The Sluice and Chute also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow often hides running water below and it can quickly ruin your day if you break through. Snow bridges will be further weakened by the increased water levels today, so avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the open waterfall and very large crevasses. Each season the Tuckerman Ravine Trail through this area is closed due to the unique nature of these objective hazards. This week we’ll continue to have more warm weather and rain, so we may reach the point where this closure will take effect before next weekend.

 The Sherburne Ski Trail is open a little farther than halfway down. The open section is better than hiking but is riddled with moguls, bare spots, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, please walk down 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 AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • This advisory expires at midnight. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

Printable Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:00am Tuesday May 3, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Balmy temperatures begin the day after a night with no dip below the freezing mark even at the summit.  The mercury is expected to hold steady with the ravines registering somewhere around 50F (10C) today.  Though the air will keep the upper layers of the snowpack soft, clouds and rain will lower the day’s score on the Mt Washington quality and enjoyment scale.  Wear your rain gear and be conservative when visibility is low.  The snowpack is going through its annual springtime deterioration and the regular hazards are becoming more widespread.  When clouds and fog limit your visibility it becomes more difficult to pick out the following:

  1. Falling Ice is a serious hazard on warm and rainy days like today. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations that are subject to falling ice. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both of these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. There are better locations to park yourself farther down in the ravine. If you are in the Center Bowl area, you’d be wise to keep moving and not linger in any location where ice can fall in your direction. Over the years we’ve seen far too many serious injuries from falling ice; you don’t want firsthand experience of how this feels!
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. The Sluice and Chute also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow with running water underneath can ruin your day if you break through. Snow bridges will be further weakened by the warm weather and running water today, so avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the open waterfall and very large crevasses. Each season the Tuckerman Ravine Trail through this area is closed due to the unique nature of these objective hazards. This week we’ll continue to have more warm weather and rain, so we may reach the point where this closure will take effect before next weekend.

 The Sherburne Trail is open a little farther than halfway down. The open section is better than hiking but is riddled with moguls, bare spots, rocks and ice.  After the closure rope, please walk down the hiking trail for 1 mile to the parking lot. 

 

Please Remember:

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

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

Printable Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 7:10am Monday May 2, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Today’s weather will start as a repeat of yesterday, with warm sun and clear skies. Eventually the summits will become obscured in fog, but probably not until later in the afternoon. It’s a good day to be the early bird in the ravine. The recent changes in our snowpack have quickly exacerbated the traditional springtime hazards you’ll face:

  1. Falling Ice is a serious hazard on warm days like today. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations that are subject to falling ice. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. There are better locations to park yourself farther down in the ravine. If you are in the Center Bowl area, you’d be wise to keep moving and not linger long in any location where ice can fall in your direction. Over the years we’ve seen far too many serious injuries from falling ice; you don’t want firsthand experience of how this feels!
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. The Sluice and Chute also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess these hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow with running water underneath can ruin your day if you break through. Snow bridges will be further weakened by the warm weather today, so avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED due to the open waterfall and very large crevasses. Each season the Tuckerman Ravine trail through this area is closed due to the unique nature of these objective hazards. This week we’ll continue to have more warm weather and rain, so we may reach the point where this closure will take effect before next weekend.

The Sherburne Trail is open a little farther than halfway down. After the closure rope, please walk down the hiking trail for 1 mile to the parking lot.

Please Remember:

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

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

Printable Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:00am Sunday May 1, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

There’s not much to talk about for weather today; it’s going to be a near perfect spring day with temperatures hitting the upper 30’s at the summit, sunny skies all day, and winds diminishing to nearly nothing. We’re starting the day with ravine temperatures below freezing, so surfaces will start icy before turning soft. The rapid changes in our snowpack have exacerbated the traditional springtime hazards you’ll face:

  1. Falling Ice is a serious hazard on warm days like today. You can’t know for sure when it will fall, so do your best not to spend time in locations that are subject to falling ice. The largest ice in the ravine is in the Center Bowl and up on the cliffs above Lunch Rocks. Both these areas send ice into Lunch Rocks. For this reason, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND LUNCH ROCKS AS A SAFE PLACE TO SIT. There are better locations to park yourself farther down in the ravine. If you are in the Center Bowl area, you’d be wise to keep moving and not linger long in any location where ice can fall in your direction. Over the years we’ve seen far too many serious injuries from falling ice; you don’t want firsthand experience of how this feels!
  2. Crevasses have formed in numerous areas. The Lip and Center Bowl have the largest and deepest of these. The Sluice and Chute also have smaller crevasses growing. We recommend you hike up the route you plan to descend so you can assess the hazards at a leisurely pace.
  3. Undermined Snow with running water underneath can ruin your day if you break through. Snow bridges will be further weakened by the warm weather today, so avoid traveling over streambeds and areas of running water.
  4. Traveling through the Lip area is NOT RECOMMENDED. All three of the above hazards are in play here. This location has the largest crevasses in the ravine, the snow bridges over them are narrow and weakening, and you’ll be subject to icefall hazard during the climb. On top of these, the waterfall adds an added level of risk. There are numerous better locations to ski or ride today.

In our opinion, the best ski routes in Tuckerman today will be Left Gully and Hillman’s. Not only do these offer the longest top to bottom runs, but they have the fewest objective hazards to worry about, such as the aforementioned icefall, crevasses, and undermined snow. Lobster Claw, Right Gully, and the Chute also offer good options today.

Skiing down from the Ravine is not an option. You’ll need to walk from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake. The lower Sherburne is bare ground. From the closure rope, please take off your skis and walk the hiking trail down the Pinkham Notch. The trail is open about 1.5 miles to ski down and a 1 mile hike to the parking lot.

Please Remember:

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

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

Printable Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:15am Saturday 4-30-2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

A wintry start to Saturday is revealing itself this morning with light snow and fog from Hermit Lake up to the summit.  The summit collected 0.5” of new snow with up to another 0.5” on the way.  Clouds will be the dominate weather feature on the mountain until a high pressure system pushes them out later today setting the stage for clear conditions overnight and Sunday.  Summit temperatures are currently 23.5F (-5C) while at the Hermit Lake cabins we are just above freezing at 33F (1C).  The mercury will rise in the higher terrain to about 30 F (-1C) later today with winds increasing from the NW to 35-50+ (55-80kph).  The temperatures and clouds will translate into 2 significant problems for you this morning.  First clouds and some light snow will diminish visibility which is critical to being able to see all the spring hazards that threaten you. Seeing where crevasses are, where rocks in your run out are and putting your eagle eyes on falling ice is all very important and will be hampered today.  And second the temperatures and the sun blocking clouds will keep snow conditions fairly hard for a good portion of the day.  This will translate into skier falls on icy surfaces and depending on the fall line you’ve chosen you could be sent into a crevasse or rock. Crampons, an ice ax, and the skills to use them are required to travel safely in hard frozen conditions.  Right Gully and the Lobster Claw have the best chance of softening as they are south facing and eventually clouds should lift allowing some sun in the afternoon.  This is not an absolute, but we’ll hope for some softer snow conditions.  Consider these points in your decisions today:

  • The Lip and Center Headwall is NOT RECOMMENDED.  They are riddled with large crevasses that are up to 6 to 8 feet wide and quite long.  The main waterfall hole also exists in this location which has become very large due to this week’s melting and rain.  Due to the severe consequences and so much good skiing and challenge in other locations there is really no good reason to use this area.
  • Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully have the longest runs with the least amount of objective hazards, such as falling ice and crevasses, and are therefore two of the best choices.

There are some other spring hazards to watch out for as well.  Besides the aforementioned CREVASSES they have opened up in the climber’s left Headwall, Sluice and Chute as well.  Climb up what you plan to descend so that you can identify these hazards and make a plan for avoiding them. Think about your fall line carefully and assure these crevasses are not below you. UNDERMINED SNOW is when the snow bridges are eroded away from running water below and weakened by warm weather from above. It is often difficult to assess due to its hidden nature, but is most prevalent over streambeds, near rocks, cliffs, brush, turf, and crevasses.  ICEFALL has recently become a significant hazard. Some large ice has already fallen, but the majority has yet to come crashing down. Do your best to avoid spending time underneath ice. If you must, use a natural barrier like a very large boulder as a shield and formulate a plan before you hear the crash of a van sized chunk breaking loose.  Although Lunch Rocks is a traditional place to sit it should be called “ICEFALL ROCKS” as it is in the bulls-eye of several major icefall paths.  The majority of icefall injuries and deaths have occurred around Lunch Rocks.  There are much better places to sit closer to the entry of the Ravine floor.

Skiing down from the Ravine is not an option. You’ll need to walk from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake then you can ski or ride a little over half way down the Sherburne ski trail. The lower Sherburne is bare ground, very wet and muddy so to prevent erosion and keep your boots out of deep mud cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail at the rope and walk the short distance to Pinkham Notch.

Please Remember:

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

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

Print Friendly Advisory

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted 8:45a.m., Friday April 29, 2011

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 using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

A stellar morning finally erupted today after rain and a thick soupy fog engulfed the Presidentials through most of the workweek.  The blue skies will begin a stretch of better weather over the next few days, but be ready to lose the beloved clear conditions later today with some more mixed precipitation, thunderstorms and potential lightning.  Clouds will thicken and lower through the day increasing the probability of precipitation this afternoon.  The summit picked up another inch (2.5cm) of rain on Thursday, and while on the trail yesterday afternoon I occasionally got slapped with a hot wind that felt like opening the oven door to check the turkey on Thanksgiving.   I felt like I could see snow melt right before my eyes.  The change is quite evident as soon as you leave the AMC Visitor Center with sections of rocks and blue ice on the hiking trail.  These sections are very very slippery so ski poles and traction devices would be a good idea.  We have already had several visitor falls with injuries on the vast amount of ice between the Bowl and the parking lots. The melting above treeline is impressive as well, as demonstrated in places like Raymond’s Cataract and the summit cone causing rivers to rage and undermine snow covered locations.  The main waterfall near the Lip in Tuckerman has seen dramatic change since Monday and continues to require a large berth to keep from entering this chasm. The rest of the main Headwall and its adjacent areas have also deteriorated quickly and require some significant hazard assessment.  As is typical later in the season, Left Gully and Hillman’s are becoming the longest runs with the least amount of objective mountain hazards such as crevasses and icefall.

The traditional spring hazards that cause problems for visitors every year are now fully developed.  At this point we do not recommend skiing through the Lip due to the WATERFALL HOLE and LARGE CREVASSES that criss-cross the entire slope creating what you know as “no fall skiing”. Other large crevasses have opened up in the Headwall and Sluice as well.  Give these more room than you think is needed. Climb up what you plan to descend so that you can identify these hazards and make a plan for avoiding them instead of being surprised on the way down. Think about your fall line carefully and assure these crevasses are not below you. UNDERMINED SNOW advanced rapidly this week and is a notable hazard you should constantly keep in mind.  Undermining is when the snow bridges are eroded away from running water from below and weakened by warm weather from above. It is often difficult to assess due to its hidden nature, but is most prevalent over streambeds, near rocks, cliffs, brush, turf, and crevasses.  ICEFALL has recently become a significant hazard. Some large ice has already fallen, but a lot has yet to come crashing down. Do your best to avoid spending time underneath ice. If you must, use a natural barrier like a very large boulder as a shield and formulate a plan before you hear the crash of a van sized chunk breaking loose.  Although Lunch Rocks is a traditional place to sit it should be called “ICEFALL ROCKS” as it is in the bulls-eye of several major icefall paths.  The majority of icefall injuries and deaths have occurred around Lunch Rocks.  There are much better places to sit closer to the entry of the Ravine floor.

Skiing down from the Ravine is no longer an option. Walking from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake is by far the smartest way out of the Bowl. When you arrive back at Hermit Lake you can click back in and ski about 50% of the way to the parking lots.  The bottoms of the hiking trail and the John Sherburne Ski Trail near Pinkham Notch are melting out very quickly.  The lower Sherburne is very wet and muddy so to prevent erosion and keep your boots out of deep mud we’ll begin closing off the bottom sections of trail this afternoon.  Please cross over to the hiking trail and walk the short distance to Pinkham Notch.

Check out the weekend update later this afternoon on www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast. For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin. 
  • This advisory expires at midnight. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.

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

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