General Advisory for Tuckerman Ravine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lion Head Summer Trail is now open.

The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory is just one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted 6:00 am.  May 14, 2014. A new advisory will be issued no later than Saturday, May 17.

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

2014-05-14 General Advisory