General Bulletin for Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Unless updated this bulletin expires at Midnight, Friday, May 5, 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 now closed in the Ravine between Lunch Rocks and the Alpine Garden Trail. This closure includes the Lip area, which presents numerous such hazards to the recreating public and potential rescuers alike. This area is closed to all use.

Temperatures will remain near the freezing mark until tomorrow morning, with precipitation falling as a mix of snow and rain on the upper mountain. Brief clearing and warming is forecast for tomorrow, with a wet system approaching again on Friday. Temperatures swinging above and below freezing along with the forecast snowfall will cause snow firmness to change quickly. An outside chance of new wind slab development later today is worth considering in your travel plans. The following hazards remain, and generally increase in severity as we push further into spring:

  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: With below freezing temperatures forecast, we will see firm snow conditions ideal for a long sliding fall at times over the next 3 days. Be prepared for this with an ice axe and crampons for anything above tree line and microspikes in lower angled terrain.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS) AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many areas. The most dangerous locations are in the Lip and Center Bowl. They are often larger beneath the surface than what can be seen from above and can be much deeper than they appear. Falling into the larger of these could be fatal. These hazards deserve a wide berth.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW: While the snowpack may appear thick and strong, beware of thin snow that may be bridging an air space. When in doubt probe aggressively with a ski pole or ice axe. If you see small holes in the snow or hear running water, realize there may be open spaces under the surface.
  • FALLING ICE:Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Avoid spending time in the fall line of the ice in these areas.

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 at crossover #7. Beware of construction debris at this crossover. Please respect the rope 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