General Bulletin for Tuckerman Ravine

This is the final bulletin issued by the Mount Washington Avalanche Center for the 2016-17 season. This will remain in effect until complete melt out. Travel in the backcountry requires careful snow evaluation and mountain sense. Hazards due to snow and ice will persist until it is all gone. Snowstorms on Mount Washington in June may be uncommon, but are not unheard of. If venturing into the mountains, be sure to use all available resources to help plan your trip and make safe travel decisions.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

  • The summer Lion Head Trail is open and provides the most direct route to the summit of Mount Washington from Pinkham Notch.
  • A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed through the Bowl. This section extends from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This closure is due to the severe and possibly fatal consequences of a fall in this area. This also means that skiing or riding the Lip is not allowed. This section of trail will remain closed until the snow disappears. Check in with one of the visitor centers or the caretaker at Hermit Lake for the current status.
  • The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed for the season.

MOUNTAIN HAZARDS

  • Falling Ice and Rocks: While the most notorious pieces have already fallen down this spring, smaller pieces of ice linger and will continue to present a threat until the snow is gone. As the snow recedes this time of year, rocks are often dislodged. Overhead assessment and safe travel techniques will help to mitigate this hazard.
  • Crevasses: As the snow pulls away from cliffs, these glide cracks open and have swallowed many people over the years. These are best given a wide berth. The largest of these cracks are obvious while those smaller in size may be harder to see and therefore can often present more of a hazard.
  • Holes and Undermined Snow: The snowpack melts both on the surface and from beneath. As this hollowing takes place, unpredictable collapses will occur. Some are more obvious like the famous snow arch near Lunch Rocks but others are less so, like a sudden hole appearing in the floor of the Ravine.

This season was a time of significant change for our avalanche center. Thank you to everyone for lending a hand when needed. Frank Carus became the director and we were fortunate to add Ryan Matz to the team. We were also lucky to have part-time help from Joe Klementovich, Justin Preisendorfer, Brian Johnston, Dan Corn, and Alexa Siegel. Thank you all for donning a green jacket and spending time with us on the hill. A huge thank you goes to the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol for all the time they donate. Thank you also to the AMC caretakers at Hermit Lake and the Harvard Cabin caretakers for collecting daily weather data, providing SAR response, and being partners in the field. In addition to this, a thank you goes to all of you for reading our advisories, providing us with your observations, and coming to this special place. We look forward to seeing you in November at the Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 7:00 am on Monday, May 29, 2017.

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

2017-05-29

General Bulletin for Saturday, May 27, 2017

This bulletin will expire at Midnight on Monday, May 29, 2017.

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

As high pressure builds over New England on Saturday, skies should clear as the day progresses. An inversion may keep clouds over mid-elevations with a slight chance of precipitation, but this should be limited to the morning. Sunday will see clearer skies overall with temperatures reaching close to the 50sF. A system arriving Sunday night will likely bring rain on Memorial Day.

The summer Lion Head Trail is now open and is the preferred route to the Summit from Pinkham Notch. A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in the Bowl is closed to all use. This section is from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and is due to the severe consequences of a fall in this area. Only this section is closed. Hiking or skiing in the vicinity of the closed trail, including the Lip, is not permitted. ATTENTION AUX RANDONNEURS! Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

Please be aware that while the Lion Head Summer Trail is open, snow will be encountered on the route. Appropriate equipment should be carried. The following typical mountain hazards are also in play:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. With the 1.5” of rain that fell over the past 48 hours, snow will be hollower than it appears. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water and look for small holes in the snow surface.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS), WATERFALL HOLES, AND MOATS: Many of the largest, deepest cracks continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. A fall into one could be fatal. Moats around rocks are widespread through the terrain. While the cracks in the Lip and Center Bowl are obvious and should ward all away, pay close attention to the smaller cracks forming now in the Sluice and Chute. While maybe not as deep, these can cause trouble if taken lightly when compared to the more obvious hazard in the Headwall.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: While the calendar may say Memorial Day, there is ample snow coverage on a multitude of slopes. Long, sliding falls can turn ugly this time of year as the snow coverage no longer extends into the runout zones. Crashing into a boulder at high speed while have dire consequences. Use appropriate equipment for your chosen route of travel. In places, this includes microspikes, crampons, and your ice axe.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. Please hike down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 7:00 am on Saturday, May 27, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-27

General Bulletin for Wednesday, May 24, 2017

This bulletin will expire at Midnight on Friday, May 26, 2017.

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The high pressure that provided generally clear skies yesterday is forecast to hold through much of today, but a wet low pressure system will approach late today or tomorrow. Temperatures will trend slightly lower through Friday but should remain above freezing in our terrain. Rainfall is forecast to begin in light amounts late today and continue into Thursday, with intensity increasing into Friday when we could see heavy rain. This morning is likely the most pleasant opportunity to play in Tuckerman Ravine in this bulletin period.

The summer Lion Head Trail is open and remains the preferred route to the Summit from Pinkham Notch. A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail within the Bowl is closed to all use. This section is from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and is due to the high consequence fall hazard presented by many large glide cracks in the snow. Hiking or skiing in the vicinity of this closed section, including the Lip, is not permitted. The rest of this trail remains open. ATTENTION AUX RANDONNEURS! Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

Please be aware that snow and ice travel is still required on the summer Lion Head Trail and significant long-sliding falls are possible on the snowfield traverse near treeline. An ice axe, crampons, and the ability to use them effectively are recommended. The following typical mountain hazards are also in play:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Rainfall later this week will increase meltwater running under the snow which creates hollow spaces. Potentially bridged by thin snow which can easily break under your weight, this could result in as little as a wet foot or minor fall, but larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water and look for small holes in the snow surface, realizing that these hazards can be tricky to identify.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS), WATERFALL HOLES, AND MOATS: Many of the largest, deepest cracks continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. These cracks are often wider than they appear or bridged by thin snow. A fall into one could be fatal, give these plenty of space. Glide cracks are widespread from the Lip to Chute, as well as isolated locations elsewhere. Moats around rocks can be found throughout the terrain.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Even with rain creating sloppy snow, long falls should be taken into consideration. Be prepared for this with an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line, and always consider the terrain below you and the associated consequences of a fall. Microspikes are very helpful in low angle terrain, but are no substitute for crampons if it’s steep.

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at Hermit Lake. Please hike down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 7:45 am on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-24

General Bulletin for Monday, May 22, 2017

This bulletin will expire at Midnight on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Low pressure swinging through New England will bring rain through Monday and into Tuesday morning. With warmer temperatures and sunshine on Tuesday, our snowpack will continue to dwindle without an overnight freeze. Another low pressure system should arrive to the region on Tuesday night, likely bringing more rain on Wednesday.

The summer Lion Head Trail is now open and is the preferred route to the Summit from Pinkham Notch. A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in the Bowl is closed to all use. This section is from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and is due to the severe consequences of a fall in this area. Only this section is closed. Hiking or skiing in the vicinity of the closed trail, including the Lip, is not permitted. ATTENTION AUX RANDONNEURS! Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.

Please be aware that snow and ice are still a concern on the summer Lion Head Trail and significant long-sliding falls have happened on the snowfield traverse near treeline. An ice axe and crampons and the ability to use them effectively are recommended. The following typical mountain hazards are also in play:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water and look for small holes in the snow surface. Forecast rain will accelerate this undermining as streams swell.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS), WATERFALL HOLES, AND MOATS: Many of the largest, deepest cracks continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. These cracks are often wider than they appear or bridged by thin snow. A fall into one could be fatal. Moats around rocks are widespread through the terrain. Glide cracks are widespread from the Lip to Chute and are deep enough to fall into.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Even with rain creating sloppy snow, long falls should be taken into consideration. Be prepared for this with an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line, and always consider the terrain below you and the associated consequences of a fall. Microspikes are very helpful in low angle terrain, but are no substitute for crampons if it’s steep.

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at Hermit Lake. Please hike down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 6:00 am on Monday, May 22, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-22

General Bulletin for Saturday, May 20, 2017

This bulletin will expire at Midnight on Monday, May 22, 2017.

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Cooler conditions have returned to the Ravines and brought a refreeze to the snowpack. Warming temperatures and sunshine, today and through this weekend, will soften snow and bring good, albeit limited skiing conditions to Tuckerman Ravine. Top to bottom runs are limited mostly to Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully.

The summer Lion Head Trail is now open and the preferred route to the summit from the east side. A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use. This is due to the severe consequences of a fall in this area. The closed section extends from the top of Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail above the ravine. Only this section is closed. Hiking or skiing in the vicinity of the closed trail is not permitted. (ATTENTION AUX RANDONNEURS! Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.)

Please be aware that that snow and ice are still a concern on the summer Lion Head Trail and significant long-sliding falls have happened on the snowfield traverse near treeline. An ice axe and crampons and the ability to use them effectively are recommended. The following typical mountain hazards are also in play:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water, look for small holes in the snow surface, and consider that our gullies drain meltwater and can hold such a hazard.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS), WATERFALL HOLES, AND MOATS: Many of the largest, deepest cracks continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. These cracks are often wider than they appear or bridged by thin snow. A fall into one could be fatal. Moats around rocks are widespread through the terrain. Glide cracks are widespread from the Lip to Chute and deep enough to fall into.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Generally firm snow with areas of concealed buried ice crusts provide varied travel conditions that can easily allow a significant fall. Be prepared for this with an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line, and always consider the terrain below you and the associated consequences of a fall. Microspikes are very helpful in low angle terrain, but are no substitute for crampons if it’s steep.

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at Hermit Lake. Please hike down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 6:45 am on Saturday, May 20, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-20

General Bulletin for Thursday, May 18, 2017

This bulletin will expire at Midnight Saturday, May 20, 2017.

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

On Mother’s Day through the following morning, the summit received 33” (83cm) of new snow. Hermit Lake received just 10” (25cm, 25% density) during the same period of time. Warming temperatures and rain on Monday led to rapid settlement with two reports the following day of medium sized but harmless, human-triggered loose, wet avalanches in the sloppy snow. Currently, the new snow is virtually indistinguishable from the old surface. The melting will continue today with capricious spring weather. Expect record breaking high temperatures today near 60F on the summit with winds gusting to 85mph and thunderstorms developing Thursday night. Temperatures will fall through Friday, possibly bringing a freeze to the snowpack on Friday night which would set the stage for improved skiing conditions on Saturday. Both weekend days are forecast to be sunny and in the 40’s F.

 The summer Lion Head Trail is now open. Due to open glide cracks and undermined snow, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed in the Ravine between Lunch Rocks and the Alpine Garden Trail. Please use the summer Lion Head trail if going to the summit from Pinkham. Please be aware that that snow and ice are still a concern on this trail and significant long-sliding falls have happened on the snowfield traverse near treeline. An ice axe and crampons and the ability to use them effectively are recommended. The following typical mountain hazards are also in play:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water, look for small holes in the snow surface, and consider that our gullies drain meltwater and can hold such a hazard.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS) AND WATERFALL HOLES: Many of these large, deep cracks have formed and continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. These cracks are often wider than they appear or bridged by thin snow. A fall into one could be fatal.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Generally soft, wet snow with areas of concealed buried ice crusts provide varied travel conditions that can easily allow a significant fall. Be prepared for this with an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line, and always consider the terrain below you and the associated consequences of a fall. Microspikes are very helpful in low angle terrain, but are no substitute for crampons if it’s steep.

Top to bottom runs are limited mostly to Hillman’s Highway and Left Gully though it is still possible to thread the needle through the glide cracks in Chute. Lower Right Gully is also skiable but there are lots of rocks in the runout.  The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at Hermit Lake. Please hike down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 8:25 am on Thursday, May 18, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-18

General Bulletin for Monday, May 15, 2017

This bulletin will expire at midnight on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

On Sunday, 12” of new snow fell at Hermit Lake, with 4-6” more falling today. New snow, increasing winds and warming temperatures will create the potential for natural avalanches in many areas in Tuckerman Ravine. This includes the summer Lion Head Trail between Hermit Lake and treeline. The Lion Head Winter route is once again the safer route to the summit. Though significant melting has occurred since winter, there are ample bed surfaces remaining on the east side of Mount Washington that will allow avalanches large enough to bury and kill a person to occur. Today, wind from the North around 60 mph will load slopes with a south facing aspect and cross-load easterly aspects with wind slabs. As temperatures warm today and into Tuesday, precipitation will transition to freezing rain and then rain which will stress these wind slabs, making them more sensitive to human triggering and increasing the chance of natural wet slab avalanches.

Due to open glide cracks and undermined snow, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed in the Ravine between Lunch Rocks and the Alpine Garden Trail. Please use the Winter Lion Head Route if going to the summit from Pinkham. In addition to the avalanche hazard, new and wind blown snow will conceal the numerous and large crevasses and moats that across the steep terrain. Realize that the following hazards are still in play if you are headed up this week:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water, look for small holes in the snow surface, and consider that many relatively low areas like our gullies drain meltwater and can hold such a hazard.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS) AND WATERFALL HOLES: Many of these large, deep cracks have formed and continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. These cracks are often wider than they appear or bridged by thin snow. A fall into one could be fatal.

The Little Headwall is no longer passable and descending from the Bowl should be done via the hiking trail. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is skiable again below Hermit Lake. Snow coverage of a foot or more at Hermit Lake tapers to nothing at Pinkham Notch. Please use a crossover and hike down to Tuckerman Ravine Trail when the snow runs out.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 8:00 am on Saturday, May 13, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-15

General Bulletin for Saturday, May 13, 2017

This bulletin expires Monday, May 15, 2017

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

The Lion Head Winter route is now closed. The summer Lion Head Trail is now the preferred route to the summit of Mount Washington from the east side. This trail crosses steep snow slopes above significant cliffs in spots. As always in wintry ground conditions, crampons and ice axes and appropriate footwear are recommended equipment. Due to open glide cracks and undermined snow, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is also closed in the Ravine between Lunch Rocks and the Alpine Garden Trail. Please use the summer Lion Head trail if going to the summit.

Warm temperatures in the low 40’s with light southeast wind on the summit will make Saturday the better day of the weekend for skiing and hiking with plenty of snow remaining in Left Gully and Hillman’s Highway. Saturday afternoon will bring thickening clouds as the next precipitation moves in overnight bringing with it rain and slushy snowfall at higher elevations on Sunday. Sunday will be a washout with up to an inch and a half of rain predicted to fall by Monday. Be on the lookout for the following if you are headed up to ski:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water, look for small holes in the snow surface, and consider that many relatively low areas like our gullies drain meltwater and can hold such a hazard.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS) AND WATERFALL HOLES: Many of these large, deep cracks have formed and continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. These cracks are often wider than they appear or bridged by thin snow. A fall into one could be fatal.
  • FALLING ICE AND ROCK:While much of the ice high in Tuckerman Ravine has fallen or melted at this point, this hazard is not entirely eliminated. The freeze/thaw cycles continuing to occur will cause some rock and icefall, particularly during warm or rainy conditions.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Firm old snow surfaces conceal buried patches of ice in places making for varied travel conditions that can easily allow a significant fall. Be prepared for this with an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line, and always consider the terrain below you and the associated consequences of a fall. Microspikes are very helpful in low angle terrain, but are no substitute for crampons where it’s steep.

The Little Headwall is no longer passable and descending from the Bowl should be done via the hiking trail. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at Hermit Lake. Please respect the closure and hike down to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 8:00 am on Saturday, May 13, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-13

General Bulletin for Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Unless updated this bulletin expires at Midnight, Friday, May 12, 2017.

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

Due to open glide cracks and undermined snow, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed in the Ravine between Lunch Rocks and the Alpine Garden Trail. This closure includes the Lip area, which presents numerous hazards to the recreating public and potential rescuers alike. This area is closed to all use.

Temperatures will trend slightly higher each day through Friday, with cloud cover and precipitation potential decreasing as well. Today will remain just below freezing on the upper mountain. Light snowfall over the past two days has not been sufficient to form unstable slabs of much significance in our terrain. Minimal snow accumulation forecast for the next three days limits our avalanche concerns, but the current cold weather should motivate you to consider the possibility of such winter hazards, in addition to those present in springtime:

  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Largely firm surface with pockets of soft new snow provide varied travel conditions that can easily allow a significant fall. Be prepared for this with an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line, and always consider the terrain below you and the associated consequences of a fall. Microspikes are very helpful in low angle terrain, but are no substitute for crampons if it’s steep.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water, look for small holes in the snow surface, and consider that many relatively low areas like our gullies drain meltwater and can hold such a hazard.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS) AND WATERFALL HOLES: Many of these large, deep cracks have formed and continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. These cracks are often wider than they appear or bridged by thin snow. A fall into one could be fatal.
  • FALLING ICE AND ROCK:While much of the ice high in Tuckerman Ravine has fallen or melted at this point, this hazard is not entirely eliminated. The freeze/thaw cycles continuing to occur will cause some rock and icefall, particularly with the warmer temperatures forecast later in the week.

Due to steep snow presenting a significant fall hazard on the summer trail, the Lion Head Winter Route remains open. The Little Headwall is no longer passable and descending from the Bowl should be done via the hiking trail. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about a third of the way down. Please respect the closure and hike down to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail rather than trying to ski rocks and mud.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 8:00 am on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-10

General Bulletin for Monday, May 8, 2017

Unless updated this bulletin expires at Midnight, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

 

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new bulletin will be issued within 72 hours or when conditions warrant. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Due to open glide cracks and undermined snow, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is now closed in the Ravine between Lunch Rocks and its junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This closure includes the Lip, which presents numerous hazards to the recreating public and potential rescuers alike. This area is closed to all use.

An upper level low pressure system is moving over New England. This is slow moving and will promote cool and wet conditions for the duration of this bulletin. Temperatures should remain below freezing on the Summit with wind shifting between the N and W and speeds staying below 30mph. The snowpack will become firm with new snow covering some hazards. Forecast snow totals vary, but it seems likely that by the end of Wednesday it will be close to 3” of new snow.

  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: With temperatures falling into the teens F today and tonight, long, sliding falls will present a serious hazard. Be prepared for travel with crampons and an ice axe. Microspikes are useful on low angled terrain, but are not appropriate for steeper slopes.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES: The Lip and Center Bowl are now riddled with large cracks. Other slopes have smaller crevasses that are often wider and deeper than they appear from the surface, and can be thinly bridged with snow. Falling into the larger of these could be fatal. Give these cracks a wide berth to reduce your exposure to this significant hazard.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW: As meltwater flows under the snowpack, it can start to hollow out the snow above. While there are many areas that contain undermined snow, below freezing temperatures will make breaking these thin bridges less likely. With that in mind, new snow over the next few days may cover small holes or very thin spots. Plunging through a hole into water over the next few days will be unpleasant.
  • FALLING ICE: Temperatures below freezing reduce this hazard, but it is one always to keep in the back of your mind. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Avoid spending time in the fall line of the ice in these areas.

The Lion Head Winter Route remains open. Crampons and an ice axe should be brought for this route. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed at crossover #7. Skiing below Hermit Lake may be more frustrating than fun and is slower than hiking, but new snow over the next few days may provide some entertainment. Please respect the rope at #7 and hike down to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail rather than trying to ski rocks and mud.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 7:40 am on Monday, May 8, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

2017-05-08