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