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