General Bulletin for Monday, May 1, 2017

Unless updated this bulletin expires at Midnight, Wednesday, May 3, 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 public and potential rescuers alike. This area is closed to all use.

The trend of the next few days will be wet and gradually becoming colder. Steady drizzle today will turn to rain tonight as the approaching cold front arrives. As temperatures drop below freezing later in the day on Tuesday, any remaining moisture should turn to snow showers. Continued upslope snow showers Tuesday night could bring up to two inches by Wednesday. If traveling in avalanche terrain Monday or Tuesday, loose-wet sluffs should be on your mind as the rain soaks the snow. If the upper end of the snow total forecast for Tuesday night is reached, west winds could transport much of this into Tuckerman and create areas of wind slab for Wednesday.

  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations. The most dangerous locations are in the Lip and Center Bowl. They are often larger beneath the surface than what can be seen from above and can be much deeper than they appear. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal. These hazards deserve a wide berth. New snow Tuesday night may cover some of these, making safe navigation of these even more difficult.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW: With rain forecast through Tuesday, meltwater will increase in flow and continue to deteriorate the snowpack from beneath. While the snowpack may appear thick and strong, beware that the snow may be thin and bridging an air space. When in doubt probe aggressively with a ski pole or ice axe. If you see small holes in the snow or hear running water, realize there may be open spaces under the surface.
  • FALLING ICE: 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.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: With temperatures above freezing, the possibility of long, sliding falls decrease. Once the air temperatures cools Tuesday night, the snowpack should be able to refreeze, providing a hard surface for Wednesday morning. Be prepared for this with microspikes in lower angled terrain and an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line.

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 at crossover #7. Beware of construction debris at this crossover. Please respect the rope 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 8:00am on Monday, May 1, 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