October 31st, 2011 2:00pm
It never fails. Winter comes around before you know it and my youthful anticipations for the white season builds to a fervor right about the Hallows-eve. As is typical for our high mountains in October we started picking up a bit more snow with every day in the high peaks. The summit received 20.7 inches of snow in October, 16” coming over the past week and 10 of that falling in the last couple of days. We seem to be in a nice building trend! If you’re reading this there is good chance you live within a day’s drive of Mount Washington . This in turn probably means you have snow on the ground as the region just got slapped with a record breaking early Nor’easter. Before it melts use this as an awesome opportunity to get out and practice your beacon finding skills with a buddy. These early season chances don’t come around often so go outside and practice your rescue techniques. More importantly, refresh your avalanche knowledge as NOT getting caught is the main objective. 80+ people will be doing that this weekend at a full first annual Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop (ESAW), proceeds going to the White Mountain Avalanche Education Fund. The fund is set up primarily to educate kids about avalanches across the Northeast. Take a look on our website https://www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org/about/white-mountain-avalanche-education-fund for more information and the “donate” tab if you’re interested.
The other recent news has been the fantastic volunteer support we have seen from local groups to help us recover from Hurricane Irene on the mountain. This effort, spearheaded by the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, has helped us repair bridges which are getting close to being ready for the season. This will help thousands of skiers this winter as the bridge from Hermit Lake to the Sherburne would likely not make it until spring without the sustained effort it has seen over the past couple of weekends. Thanks so much for all your energy and help!
Well this isn’t an avalanche advisory, but more of a “hey get ready because they’re just around the corner” posting. We will be working on a number of updates and annual preseason changes so expect some website updates over the next 2-3 weeks including pictures, avalanche courses providers, etc. Keep coming back or follow us on twitter/facebook. Watch new snow accumulation closely as the nooks and crannies get filled in and expect some pockets of instability to be an issue soon if the recent trend continues. We won’t start issuing advisories for the first 20’ by 40’ pocket of snow that develops on some early season mixed ice route, but will when some more widespread issues develop. Pay attention and remember if it’s big enough to recreate on its big enough to avalanche. Talk to you soon and get psyched for the winter ahead. Chris.
Please Remember: Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel. For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856