This is the initial GENERAL AVALANCHE BULLETIN for the 2015-2016 season. A new General Bulletin will be issued if conditions warrant or within 72 hours of this release. General Bulletins are issued when isolated areas of unstable snow may exist within the forecast areas. Forecasts using the 5-scale danger rating system will begin when snowfields and bed surfaces become more developed. Please remember that avalanche activity may occur before the issuance of a 5-scale danger rating forecast. As always, make your own snow stability assessments when traveling in avalanche terrain.
The largest snowfields, and future bed surfaces, can currently be found in Left Gully, the Chute, and Central Gully in Huntington. Other smaller snowfields can also be found in various locations throughout both ravines. These patches, such as those between ice bulges across the Tuckerman Headwall, can be problematic because of the typical concentration of climbers. Be wary climbing under other parties. In Huntington, problems for climbers are often in the snowfields below the first pitch of ice on routes such as Central, Pinnacle and Odell. Central is currently by far the largest of these snowfields. Keep this in mind and don’t underestimate even smaller patches of snow on your chosen ice climbing route. If a snowfield is big enough to recreate on, it’s big enough to avalanche.
The high pressure will move out of the region today (Friday) bringing in precipitation during the overnight, Saturday, and Sunday. The mountains will initially see light snow, but should intermix with sleet on Saturday as we increase in temperatures. Sunday will clearly bring rain to the valleys which will also threaten the Ravine levels. The freeze line elevations should be just above the 5000ft level as the alpine zone crawls towards the low thirties. We’ll see how it all plays out over the next 3 days. However expect the potential for several inches of snow and sleet for the weekend, maybe ending in rain. Some the smaller thin pockets sitting on ice, like several of the benches on the Tuckerman Headwall, will be most affected if we do get appreciable rain amounts. Watch our Summit Observatory friends at www.mountwashington.org for daily alpine forecasts before heading into the mountains.
- 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, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin. Bulletin posted at 6:44am, Jan 8th, 2016
Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856