General Bulletin for Saturday, May 6, 2017

Unless updated this bulletin expires at Midnight, Monday, May 8, 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. A general bulletin for Tuckerman will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

Due to open glide cracks and undermined snow, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed in the Ravine between Lunch Rocks and the Alpine Garden Trail. This closure includes the Lip area, which presents numerous hazards to the recreating public and potential rescuers alike. This area is closed to all use.

Wet weather is forecast to persist through the weekend, with temperatures trending lower through Monday. Up to a half inch of rain will fall today and tonight. The rain will continue with less total precipitation tomorrow before switching over to snow after dark. Snowfall will taper off with temperatures remaining below freezing though the end on Monday. For this weekend, falling through undermined snow or into a deep crack are your primary hazards which continue to increase in severity across our terrain. These and the rest of the following hazards should be on your mind:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: If you see small holes in the snow or hear running water, realize snow may be hollow beneath the surface. While the snowpack may appear thick and strong, thin snow may be bridging an air space over a hole that could be large with significant flowing water.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS) AND WATERFALL HOLES. Growing larger in many areas, the most dangerous locations are in the Lip and Center Bowl. They 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.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Warm temperatures will minimize this issue over the next two days, but a refreeze of our snowpack late Sunday and into Monday will provide a firm surface conducive to long sliding falls. 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.
  • 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 tend to cause both rock and icefall. Continue to be mindful of what is above you, and realize the difficulty that reduced visibility presents in identifying overhead hazards.

Due to steep snow presenting a significant fall hazard on the summer trail, 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 about a third of the way down. Please respect the closure 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 7:30 am on Wednesday, May 3, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

Ryan Matz, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856