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