One step closer

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This is another early season check-in message, something to read while you’re digesting your turkey feast. We’re not yet issuing advisories, either General Advisories or 5-scale forecasts. If you’re heading into the mountains over the holiday weekend, you’ll be on your own for assessing the conditions. We’ve been keeping an eye on conditions, and have waited patiently for winter to make its grand entrance.

While I can’t say yesterday’s storm was the most spectacular entrance to winter ever seen on Mt. Washington, a respectable 10″ fell on the summit. Before you get all eager to swing your ice tools or carve the powder on your brand new skis, let me remind you that we’ve had a rather warm November. In fact, it was just a few days ago (Nov 19 & 20) that summit temperatures reached 32F or higher. Moreover, during 14 of the 23 days so far this month temperatures have risen above freezing on the summit, with many of these days reaching into the 40’sF. Prior to this storm, there really wasn’t much on the mountain for ice or early season snowfields. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing how and where to recreate. As winter conditions continue to take hold, remember to plan and equip yourself properly for early conditions. If you’ve only ever climbed here in January or skied here in March, you might be surprised by how different November can be. This can hold true even for those who have come numerous times in November. The mountain is just beginning to embrace winter.

We hope yesterday’s storm is only a prelude of what’s to come over the next few months. It’s only  a matter of time before we issue our first General Advisory. As the snowfields in the ravines grow, we’ll eventually move into using the 5-scale rating system. Keep an eye on our website in the coming weeks for these events, plus new photos and some other small changes currently in the works.

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.

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