General Bulletin for Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Unless updated this bulletin expires at Midnight, Friday, May 12, 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.

Temperatures will trend slightly higher each day through Friday, with cloud cover and precipitation potential decreasing as well. Today will remain just below freezing on the upper mountain. Light snowfall over the past two days has not been sufficient to form unstable slabs of much significance in our terrain. Minimal snow accumulation forecast for the next three days limits our avalanche concerns, but the current cold weather should motivate you to consider the possibility of such winter hazards, in addition to those present in springtime:

  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: Largely firm surface with pockets of soft new snow 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.
  • 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 many relatively low areas like our gullies drain meltwater and can hold such a hazard.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS) AND WATERFALL HOLES: Many of these large, deep cracks have formed and 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.
  • 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 will cause some rock and icefall, particularly with the warmer temperatures forecast later in the week.

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 8:00 am on Wednesday, May 10, 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