General Bulletin for Saturday, May 28, 2016

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. We will post the last Bulletin/Advisory of the season tomorrow.

Early summer heat has hit snow coverage hard this week with notable daily changes.  Skiing/riding opportunities have fallen apart quickly and have begun to move into the novelty variety to say you did it.  Expect poor runouts with rocks and brush in your path and a lot of undermining and weak snow bridges.  This rapid melting trend will continue through the next few days with high temperatures and thunderstorm potential.  Although the chance is slight, thunderstorms are forecasted for this afternoon, tonight, and tomorrow.  Plan ahead and avoid being above treeline if thunder and lightning move into the mountains.  Muggy humidity will be memorable today triggering the NHDES to issue unhealthy air pollution levels above 3000ft. If someone in your group has health issues consider other alternatives today. On Sunday night and Monday heavy rain is expected to bring flash flooding to the region.

We are opening the Tuckerman Ravine Trail through the Ravine today.  This is unusually early due to the low snow winter for 2015-2016, but some snow still exists on the trail in a few places.  The snow that remains is either easy to negotiate or is low angle enough that the difficulties are minor.  Expect wet feet and many people will find ski poles or microspikes helpful for additional confidence.

Late Spring Hazards in Tuckerman Ravine:

  • CREVASSES, HOLES, AND UNDERMINED SNOW – The most dangerous of these are in the Center Bowl and under the Lip on the looker’s right side of the Ravine. Falling into one has been the cause of numerous injuries and past fatalities.  Based on the rapid changes to snow strength in the late season, these snowfields should be avoided.
  • FALLING ICE – Over the years, many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. Although we are through the vast majority of Icefall season lingering pieces may still come down so continue to respect this threat.  The most probable location for additional icefall would be from the Center Bowl.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS – Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening can create very dense alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Mountaineering experience, good judgement and proper equipment, like an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense if venturing onto existing snowfields in the Ravine. The bottom sections of popular runs are also melting uphill making it possible to fall into rocks and terrain features while still in steep terrain.

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.
  • Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch or Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 6:50a.m., Saturday, May 28, 2016. A new bulletin will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-05-28 GENERAL