Posts

General Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:21 a.m., Monday, May 24, 2010

A General Advisory is currently issued for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts using the 5-scale danger rating system for the remainder of this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain. Other springtime hazards exist that you should be aware of. Please read on for details.

Mt. Washington in late spring can be an incredible place to visit, however, the conditions you encounter might be very different than other mountains and trails in the area. It is your responsibility to be prepared with knowledge and appropriate gear. First, plan ahead for the weather. Late season snowfalls are not uncommon and can create avalanche hazards. Also remember that weather on the mountain and in the ravines can change quickly, so be willing to alter your plans according to the conditions.

In Tuckerman Ravine the spring snowpack is melting away, leaving behind CREVASSES and UNDERMINED SNOW that should be avoided. Crevasses are created when the steep snowpack is able to slide slowly downhill, opening up fissures that can be quite deep. Undermined snow refers to any place where water has been able to erode the snow from below and leave a potentially weak snow bridge that is prone to collapsing. This hazard is often difficult to assess until it’s too late; if you must travel over undermined snow try to do so only on the thickest, most supportive, and most structurally sound snow bridges. Better yet, travel on bare ground or fully supported snow.

FALLING ROCK AND ICE is also a significant concern. As the warm weather melts out the ice that has been holding in place a season’s worth of loose rock and ice, spontaneous rockfall and/or icefall may occur. A general rule of thumb is to stay aware of what’s going on around you and to have a plan in place for what you’ll do if something falls from above. Over the years, many people have been injured on Mt. Washington by falling rock and ice. In addition to paying attention to what’s above you, also think about what lies below you if you are traveling on steep snow. A sliding fall into a pile of boulders or into a crevasse can have severe consequences. It helps tremendously to hike up what you plan to descend so you can assess this hazard at a leisurely pace.

The section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. Hikers heading above treeline should seek an alternate route; the Lion Head Trail is one option.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. This advisory expires at midnight Wednesday, May 26.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:55 a.m., Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

The weather forecast for the towns surrounding Mt. Washington is about as good as it gets for the next five days or so. Up on the mountain we might see a couple more clouds, but in general it will be pretty nice weather to be out and about. This prelude to summer is going to continue the melting that has been taking place in Tuckerman Ravine. Although I hate to see the snow departing at such a rate, the silver lining is the snow surface. We’re down to very old snow that has seen a winter’s worth of compaction, so the end result is a firm base with a soft layer of corn on top. It’s a lot better than those days in April when this type of heat created a bottomless layer of soggy wet snow. This melting also continues to keep CREVASSES and UNDERMINED SNOW in the front of our minds as some of the most significant hazards you’ll face if you come up to ski. You’ll do well avoiding the worst areas by staying out of the center of the bowl. Be particularly careful as you approach the edge of the snow near where it meets the cliffs; the edges often become undercut and prone to collapsing. This scenario is playing out in the Sluice area, making it difficult to find a safe location to put on your skis here. It’s also a good idea at this time of the year to stay aware of what’s going on above and around you and have a plan for what you’ll do when something falls from up above. Most of the substantial ice has already fallen, but there are always other things that can fall in your direction such as loose rocks, dropped snowboards, or tumbling skiers. And speaking of tumbling skiers, think about what lies below you as you choose your line. Falling fast into a crevasse or pile of talus is a rough way to end your ski season! In the past two days we’ve seen a skier fall into the boulders at the top of Lunch Rocks and a tree, rock, and mud fall event from the cliffs above the Chute. These are just two examples of why you should stay aware of what’s going on around you.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:35a.m., Friday, May 21, 2010

Printable version

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

Well it’s now been several days since the Ravine has been below freezing and the snowpack is receding at a rate comparable to my friend Greg’s hair line. And even though you probably don’t know him, take my word for it that it’s going fast. The amount of bald rock on the Headwall is quite substantial compared to what was there just a few weeks ago. There appears to be a stretch of sunny and warm weather approaching, so expect the pace to keep up for a while. This melting continues to keep CREVASSES and UNDERMINED SNOW in the front of our minds as the most significant hazards you’ll face if you come up to ski. You’ll do well avoiding the worst areas by staying out of the center of the bowl. Be particularly careful as you approach the edge of the snow near where it meets the cliffs; the edges often become undercut and prone to collapsing. It’s also a good idea at this time of the year to stay aware of what’s going on above and around you and have a plan for what you’ll do when something falls from up above. Most of the substantial ice has already fallen, but there are always other things that can fall in your direction such as loose rocks, dropped snowboards, or tumbling skiers. And speaking of tumbling skiers, think about what lies below you as you choose your line. Falling fast into a crevasse or pile of talus is a rough way to end your ski season!

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit.

I’ll be heading up into the Bowl to day with a camera in hand and hopefully posting pictures on our website this afternoon. A new Weekend Update will also be posted this afternoon, so if you are interested in exactly how much snow is left or want to hear the latest thoughts on weather check back in then. If you’re having difficulties getting the current avalanche advisory or weekend update, please accept my apologies. Our host server crashed a couple weeks ago and we have been unable to resolve the problems. We are attempting to limp through the next couple weekends. You can always get the latest avalanche advisory by calling (603) 466-2713 extension 4.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, the Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 7:45a.m., Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

For the start of this week it looks like some great weather to get out into the mountains. Today we will have clear skies and decreasing wind speeds. Temperatures will be seasonable and cool, but the sun and lack of winds should make it feel fairly warm. Tomorrow will be more of the same though with a few more clouds. This past weekend I heard several people remark how amazingly little snow is left in the Ravine, but I heard just as many others comment on how good the coverage is for this time of year. I guess this underscores the idea that each year is different and you should always make your your decisions based on the current conditions. Currently, the hazards we are most concerned with are UNDERMINED SNOW and CREVASSES. For the most part, the crevasses are very visible and quite obvious to anyone with his or her eyes open. You’ll see that the worst areas are in the Headwall and Lip, and if you look over toward Left or Right Gully you’ll see far fewer. Undermined snow is a little harder to see, so be on the lookout for open holes with running water, areas of sagging snow, or moats formed near rocks. All of these are indicators that the snow might not be as supportive of your weight as you’d like. FALLING ICE has been less of a concern lately, but there is still some ice waiting to fall to the floor of the Ravine. This can be found mostly in the Headwall and Sluice areas. It’s always a good idea to stay aware of what’s going on above and around you and have a plan for what you’ll do when something falls from up above.

Most of yesterday’s visitors would agree that the best places to ski or ride in Tuckerman Ravine are Right and Left Gullies. The runouts have melted out quite a bit, but the upper sections still hold a good amount of snow. The lower portion of the Chute was also skiing well yesterday. In fact, I didn’t hear a single person complain about the quality of the snow, and today should be just as good. If you move over closer toward the Headwall, you’ll be dealing with more crevasses and undermined snow, as well as a floor that’s littered with large blocks of ice that have already fallen. Personally, I would spend my time doing laps in the Right or Left side before even thinking about doing a run from below the Headwall.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:00a.m., Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

Yesterday was a pretty miserable day and most visitors spent a good deal of time trying to find a piece of the Hermit Lake porch that allowed some reprieve from the driving rain. Conditions were perfect for hypothermia and we saw lots of cold visitors sporting soaking wet jeans and cotton sweatshirts. Luckily today will bring the return of the sun and the mountain air should remain dry for the most part. As the sun went down yesterday evening so did the mercury and lock-up of the snowpack occurred at upper elevations. Hermit Lake remained above freezing through the night and I believe that the Ravine danced right around the freezing point for the last 12 hours. The temperature at the summit is currently 29F (-2C) and expected to fall a bit more this morning before rebounding to the mid 30s F (2C). The wind is blowing at 40mph (64kph) up top and forecasted to pick up with gusts over 70mph (113kph). Is today a perfect day for spring skiing? Not exactly. Is it better than yesterday? Heck yeah! The crux today will be finding the right place to make some turns. When looking for good soft snow think about a slope’s exposure to the sun and wind. Areas like Right Gully and the Lobster Claw will offer better solar gain and protection from the NW winds but their southern exposure has had them melting fast so watch the runouts!

Snow conditions are one consideration when developing your plan but there are other mountain hazards that should go into your route selection. Though lots of ice has fallen at this point in the season ICEFALL is still one of your biggest concerns. Recognizing where icefall may occur and formulating a plan is critical. Don’t linger under ice including spots like the Lunch Rocks unless you have the protection of a large boulder. Once the ice has fallen it still presents a hazard by creating an obstruction in your runout. With potentially icy conditions in some places today you’ll want to keep long sliding falls in the front of your mind. An ice ax and the ability to self arrest will help you avoid sliding into rocks or ice or into a crevasse. Speaking of CREVASSES, they are numerous and widespread and present a very real threat today. As the snowpack deteriorates and gravity pulls the snowpack downhill it rips and tears apart leaving cracks and chasms of varying sizes. Steer well clear of these at all costs. By definition you won’t see the UNDERMINING that has taken place beneath the snow, but you can be on the lookout for clues to the worst locations. Sagging snow, open holes with running water, and “moats” near rocks are all indicators of undermining. Avoid these areas and stay on top of the snow.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:34a.m., Saturday, May 15, 2010

Printable version

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

Thick fog and clouds have consumed the mountain overnight brought in by the passing cold front working its way through the region. Dawn triggered some precipitation which consists of freezing rain and drizzle on the higher summits as temperatures flirt with the freezing mark at 30F (0C). Depending on your elevation you may see either a wintry mix or rain today. Wind velocities will drop from 40-55mph (65-88kph) this morning to 30-45+mph (50-77+kph) later today. As the front passes temperatures are anticipated to fall into the mid 20’s (-3/-4C) turning any lingering precipitation back to the frozen variety. In prelude to this occurring there are convective cells moving into the area bringing the possibility of thunderstorms and potentially delivering heavy localized rainfall this afternoon. Although this is not an absolute I would be prepared for it by having the right gear and being below treeline in the afternoon if possible. In the end the first half of the weekend will not prove to be the most glorious day the mountain has ever seen. However, in true New England style tomorrow will be a whole different story as the sun will rule supreme over the day’s weather bringing a nice contrast to today. Until then the fog and rain today will add complexities to our general spring hazards discussed below. The thick fog expected will limit visibility considerably from time to time keeping you from seeing rocks and ice on the Ravine floor, crevasses and other holes in the snow, and falling ice from above. The intermittent flat light will exacerbate the low visibility and will be a more consistent problem the higher in elevation you go. Some freezing weather this week brought some minor new ice development which rain should cause to fall today. A more substantial consequence will come from any of the lingering larger ice from the winter which is still hanging on in a few locations in the Headwall and Sluice. Since you won’t be able to see this for yourself today, we posted some photos to our website from yesterday.

The snow available for skiing enjoyment gets a little smaller day by day; you’ll need to balance the amount of turns with the building hazards in your fall line. It’s especially important at this time of year to hike up what you plan to ski down so you can assess the conditions before dropping in on top of them. This is particularly true today in periods of limited visibility due to fog and rain. The biggest issues you’ll be facing are CREVASSES, UNDERMINED SNOW, and FALLING ICE. As the snowpack deteriorates and gravity pulls the snowpack downhill it rips and tears apart leaving cracks and chasms of varying sizes. A little bit of newer snow has filled in the openings of some crevasses which might give you a false impression of where they start and end, so be very conservative around all crevasses. By definition you won’t see the undermining that has taken place beneath the snow, but you can be on the lookout for clues to the worst locations. Sagging snow, open holes with running water, and “moats” near rocks are all indicators of undermining. Avoid these areas and stay on top of the snow. Although trailing a bit behind crevasses and undermining as the main concern icefall will continue to be an issue. As already alluded to massive amounts of ice have already succumbed to gravity and fallen from the walls to the floor of the Ravine. Some additional pieces of ice remain in all areas waiting for today’s rain to join its family in the floor. Keep your eyes and ears open for this hazard and have a plan in mind should icefall occur while remembering fog will make this very challenging.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences.

The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:34a.m., Saturday, May 15, 2010

Printable version

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

Thick fog and clouds have consumed the mountain overnight brought in by the passing cold front working its way through the region. Dawn triggered some precipitation which consists of freezing rain and drizzle on the higher summits as temperatures flirt with the freezing mark at 30F (0C). Depending on your elevation you may see either a wintry mix or rain today. Wind velocities will drop from 40-55mph (65-88kph) this morning to 30-45+mph (50-77+kph) later today. As the front passes temperatures are anticipated to fall into the mid 20’s (-3/-4C) turning any lingering precipitation back to the frozen variety. In prelude to this occurring there are convective cells moving into the area bringing the possibility of thunderstorms and potentially delivering heavy localized rainfall this afternoon. Although this is not an absolute I would be prepared for it by having the right gear and being below treeline in the afternoon if possible. In the end the first half of the weekend will not prove to be the most glorious day the mountain has ever seen. However, in true New England style tomorrow will be a whole different story as the sun will rule supreme over the day’s weather bringing a nice contrast to today. Until then the fog and rain today will add complexities to our general spring hazards discussed below. The thick fog expected will limit visibility considerably from time to time keeping you from seeing rocks and ice on the Ravine floor, crevasses and other holes in the snow, and falling ice from above. The intermittent flat light will exacerbate the low visibility and will be a more consistent problem the higher in elevation you go. Some freezing weather this week brought some minor new ice development which rain should cause to fall today. A more substantial consequence will come from any of the lingering larger ice from the winter which is still hanging on in a few locations in the Headwall and Sluice. Since you won’t be able to see this for yourself today, we posted some photos to our website from yesterday.

The snow available for skiing enjoyment gets a little smaller day by day; you’ll need to balance the amount of turns with the building hazards in your fall line. It’s especially important at this time of year to hike up what you plan to ski down so you can assess the conditions before dropping in on top of them. This is particularly true today in periods of limited visibility due to fog and rain. The biggest issues you’ll be facing are CREVASSES, UNDERMINED SNOW, and FALLING ICE. As the snowpack deteriorates and gravity pulls the snowpack downhill it rips and tears apart leaving cracks and chasms of varying sizes. A little bit of newer snow has filled in the openings of some crevasses which might give you a false impression of where they start and end, so be very conservative around all crevasses. By definition you won’t see the undermining that has taken place beneath the snow, but you can be on the lookout for clues to the worst locations. Sagging snow, open holes with running water, and “moats” near rocks are all indicators of undermining. Avoid these areas and stay on top of the snow. Although trailing a bit behind crevasses and undermining as the main concern icefall will continue to be an issue. As already alluded to massive amounts of ice have already succumbed to gravity and fallen from the walls to the floor of the Ravine. Some additional pieces of ice remain in all areas waiting for today’s rain to join its family in the floor. Keep your eyes and ears open for this hazard and have a plan in mind should icefall occur while remembering fog will make this very challenging.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences.

The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:34a.m., Saturday, May 15, 2010

Printable version

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

Thick fog and clouds have consumed the mountain overnight brought in by the passing cold front working its way through the region. Dawn triggered some precipitation which consists of freezing rain and drizzle on the higher summits as temperatures flirt with the freezing mark at 30F (0C). Depending on your elevation you may see either a wintry mix or rain today. Wind velocities will drop from 40-55mph (65-88kph) this morning to 30-45+mph (50-77+kph) later today. As the front passes temperatures are anticipated to fall into the mid 20’s (-3/-4C) turning any lingering precipitation back to the frozen variety. In prelude to this occurring there are convective cells moving into the area bringing the possibility of thunderstorms and potentially delivering heavy localized rainfall this afternoon. Although this is not an absolute I would be prepared for it by having the right gear and being below treeline in the afternoon if possible. In the end the first half of the weekend will not prove to be the most glorious day the mountain has ever seen. However, in true New England style tomorrow will be a whole different story as the sun will rule supreme over the day’s weather bringing a nice contrast to today. Until then the fog and rain today will add complexities to our general spring hazards discussed below. The thick fog expected will limit visibility considerably from time to time keeping you from seeing rocks and ice on the Ravine floor, crevasses and other holes in the snow, and falling ice from above. The intermittent flat light will exacerbate the low visibility and will be a more consistent problem the higher in elevation you go. Some freezing weather this week brought some minor new ice development which rain should cause to fall today. A more substantial consequence will come from any of the lingering larger ice from the winter which is still hanging on in a few locations in the Headwall and Sluice. Since you won’t be able to see this for yourself today, we posted some photos to our website from yesterday.

The snow available for skiing enjoyment gets a little smaller day by day; you’ll need to balance the amount of turns with the building hazards in your fall line. It’s especially important at this time of year to hike up what you plan to ski down so you can assess the conditions before dropping in on top of them. This is particularly true today in periods of limited visibility due to fog and rain. The biggest issues you’ll be facing are CREVASSES, UNDERMINED SNOW, and FALLING ICE. As the snowpack deteriorates and gravity pulls the snowpack downhill it rips and tears apart leaving cracks and chasms of varying sizes. A little bit of newer snow has filled in the openings of some crevasses which might give you a false impression of where they start and end, so be very conservative around all crevasses. By definition you won’t see the undermining that has taken place beneath the snow, but you can be on the lookout for clues to the worst locations. Sagging snow, open holes with running water, and “moats” near rocks are all indicators of undermining. Avoid these areas and stay on top of the snow. Although trailing a bit behind crevasses and undermining as the main concern icefall will continue to be an issue. As already alluded to massive amounts of ice have already succumbed to gravity and fallen from the walls to the floor of the Ravine. Some additional pieces of ice remain in all areas waiting for today’s rain to join its family in the floor. Keep your eyes and ears open for this hazard and have a plan in mind should icefall occur while remembering fog will make this very challenging.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences.

The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit..

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Posted: 8:24a.m., Friday, May 14, 2010

Tuckerman Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised. A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain.

Early this morning a drop in wind speed associated with a shift in direction began a period of light snow and freezing fog for the higher summits. Sporadic precipitation should continue and turn to all rain quickly as temperatures climb above freezing towards 40F (4.5C). Wind velocities will build into the 70mph (112kph) range by late in the day as a prelude to the cold front coming our way behind the warm front we’re dealing with this morning. Convective cell potential exists for the afternoon bringing a possible thunderstorm in addition to today’s rain. Temperatures will drop tonight into the 20’s (-3/-4C) which will bring the return of snow and mixed precipitation types through the dark hours into the beginning of the weekend. A wintry mix should prevail with the summit mercury climbing to the freezing mark on Saturday with peak winds around 70 mph (112kph) in the morning dropping to 35-40mph (56-64kph) later in the day. We’ll have more on Saturday’s weather in our weekend update this afternoon. We continue to struggle with some technical problems with our website that began a week ago but we should have this posted by early afternoon.

Available snow for skiing enjoyment gets a little smaller day by day, but the diehard mountain slider will still find something to ski or ride if they just can’t put the boards away yet for the summer. You’ll need to balance the amount of turns with the building hazards in your fall line. These usual springtime hazards should be on the backcountry traveler’s watchlist today. It’s especially important at this time of year to hike up what you plan to ski down so you can assess the conditions before dropping in on top of them. The biggest issues you’ll be facing are CREVASSES, UNDERMINED SNOW, and FALLING ICE. As the snowpack deteriorates and gravity pulls it downhill it rips and tears apart leaving cracks and chasms of varying sizes. Some are only big enough to grab a ski or board while others could eat you and your entire group in one quick gulp. Please don’t feed the crevasses it only gives them bad habits. By definition you won’t see the undermining that has taken place beneath the snow, but you can be on the lookout for clues to the worst locations. Sagging snow, open holes with running water, and “moats” near rocks are all indicators of undermining. Avoid these areas and stay on top of the snow. Although trailing a bit behind crevasses and undermining as the main concern icefall will continue to be an issue of concern. Massive amounts of ice have already succumbed to gravity and fallen from the walls to the floor of the Ravine. Some additional pieces of ice remain in all areas waiting for warmer temperatures to join its family in the floor. Keep your eyes and ears open for this hazard and have a plan in mind should icefall occur.

The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is CLOSED TO ALL USE from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes the Lip area and the section of the hiking trail from the floor of the Ravine through the top of the Headwall. Only this section of the trail is closed, and it includes the Lip. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of crevasses and undermining that develop in this area during the spring melt-out. A fall in this area would have severe consequences. The Lion Head Summer Trail is open and provides an alternate route to the summit.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters or the HMC caretaker at the Harvard Cabin. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

Thunderstorms and rain showers during the overnight will continue on and off for the mountains today. Weather forecasts are expecting thunderstorm potential and precipitation to continue through Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. Adding to these pleasantries wind velocities are gusting over 60mph (95kph) this morning with temperatures hovering around 40F (4.4C). Unfortunately, there is nothing in the weather forecasts to indicate a return of sunny weather any time soon.

Today, as well as through the week, springtime hazards will continue to flourish and get worse. These have grown substantially in the past week, with conditions changing dramatically from day to day. Icefall has been a huge concern and will continue over the next few days as warm temperatures and rain help send large chunks of ice to the floor of the Bowl. A tremendous amount of ice still hangs in the Sluice as well as in the Center Headwall, so don’t linger below this looming hazard. At this point in the season Lunch Rocks is one of the most likely places to get hurt or killed by falling ice as it is in the direct run out of both the Headwall and the Sluice. Crevasses have also begun to emerge and you’ll need to keep a watchful eye for them as you hike up your intended line of descent. The Lip and Headwall area have the greatest number of cracks opening up. What you see on the surface is often much smaller than the opening underneath the snow, so give them plenty of space and travel carefully around the edges to avoid punching through. Undermined snow increased dramatically over the past week as temperatures stayed above freezing for a full 7-8 days before dipping briefly below the freezing mark. We are heading back into around the clock melting as the next 48 hours will remain above 32F (0C) all the way to the higher summits. Trying to ski/ride from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake is now akin to gambling with your life. Large sections of snow have been collapsing into the river. On Saturday one lucky skier went for a cold swim and was able to be pulled out by another person, and this was just trying to walk back through the woods to Hermit Lake. Do yourself a favor and walk down to Hermit Lake when leaving the Bowl. There are still plenty of turns to be had on the mountain but visitors need to be on high alert for the springtime hazards that have killed and injured many people over the years. When choosing your lines or your resting spots make sure you assess which hazards you face and develop a plan for dealing appropriately. As you change locations through the day continue to constantly assess the new problems you may be facing. Never stop looking for the objective hazards the mountain may be throwing your way. Realize this may be difficult during times of fog and low visibility. Personally I would stay clear of icefall runouts, which is most of both Ravines, if I cannot see the ice coming due to fog. There is likely nothing worse than hearing a loud thundering crack and smashing of ice heading in your direction and not being able to see it.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as is most of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom section of the trail is now closed and you’ll need to watch for bare spots up to that point. Cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the rope to avoid deep mud and water on the ski trail and walk the short section to the parking lot. This will be better for you and protect the ski trail from erosion. The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season leaving Hermit Lake Shelters as the only camping option on the east side of Mt Washington.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)

Avalanche Advisory

Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are very unlikely and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets. Normal caution is advised.

A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain in Huntington Ravine. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.

After a stretch of very busy days with sunny summer-like weather, Mt. Washington has begun to fall under the shadow of lowering clouds. This is the result of a warm front heading our way, which will bring with it some winds on the front end and precipitation beginning this afternoon. Summit temperatures are currently below freezing so there is a chance it will start as a mix of snow, ice, and rain but it will transition to all rain. If this information puts you into a bad mood, try thinking of the positive side of things. For example, we’re forecasted to get well under a half inch of water equivalent by tomorrow morning. Compare this to the 3.5″ that fell early last week. It’s kind of like finding a marshmallow bunny that’s been hiding under your couch since the weekend–you’re not really sure why you should be happy about it, but you smile and eat it anyway. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the weather forecasts to indicate a return of sunny weather any time soon.

Today, as well as through the week, springtime hazards will continue to blossom. These have grown substantially in the past week, with conditions changing dramatically from day to day. Icefall has been a huge concern and will continue over the next few days as warm temps and incoming rain help send large chunks of ice to the floor of the Bowl. A tremendous amount of ice still hangs in the Sluice as well as in the Center Headwall, so don’t linger below this looming hazard. At this point in the season Lunch Rocks is the most likely place to get hurt or killed by falling ice. Crevasses have also begun to emerge and you’ll need to keep a watchful eye for them as you hike up your intended line of descent. The Lip and Headwall area have the greatest number of cracks opening up. What you see on the surface is often much smaller than the opening underneath the snow, so give them plenty of space and travel carefully around the edges to avoid punching through.Undermined snow increased dramatically over the past week as temps stayed above freezing for a full week before they finally dipped below freezing. Huge volumes of water coursed below the snowpack creating issues in a number of areas. Trying to ski/ride from the Bowl down to Hermit Lake is now akin to gambling with your life. Large sections of snow have been collapsing into the river. On Saturday one lucky skier went for a cold swim and was able to be pulled out by another person, and this was just trying to walk back through the woods to Hermit Lake. Do yourself a favor and walk down to Hermit Lake when leaving the Bowl. There are still plenty of turns to be had on the mountain but visitors need to be on high alert for the springtime hazards that have killed and injured many people over the years. When choosing your lines or your resting spots make sure you assess which hazards you face and develop a plan for dealing appropriately.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open as is most of the John Sherburne Ski Trail. The bottom section of the trail is now closed and you’ll need to watch for bare spots throughout the remainder. Cross over to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the rope to keep out of the mud and protect the trail from erosion. The Harvard Cabin is closed for the season leaving Hermit Lake Shelters as the only camping option on the east side of Mt Washington.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

This is the Official Tuckerman Ravine website.  Occasionally the remoteness of Tuckerman Ravine, weather, or communication problems prevent the website from being updated immediately.  Check the date, and if it is not the most recent, you can also call the National Forest Service’s 24 hour avalanche hotline at (603) 466-2713 (ext. 4)

Avalanche Advisory for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

Tuckerman Ravine and Huntington Ravine have HIGH avalanche danger today. Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely on a variety of slope angles and aspects. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. The only exception to this is the Little Headwall which has Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. Use caution in steep terrain.

Well any other day I’d say I’d be excited by what I’m seeing here at Hermit Lake. There is about 4″ of dense snow on the ground with some deeper drifts and it is currently snowing pretty hard. I’ll take all the snow we can get pretty much any day, but the unfortunate side of this weather event is what’s to come later. Warm air will slowly infiltrate the upper elevations bringing with it a change from snow to mixed precipitation and then rain later. It’s already climbed to 26F (-3C) at the summit and is just above freezing here. The avalanche danger today is going to steadily rise through the day in both ravines. As precipitation changes over to mixed and rain, it will enter the realm of “High.” However, it’s important to remember that the danger will pass through “Considerable” earlier in the day with natural avalanches being possible even prior to any rain. Ultimately, travel in avalanche terrain today is not recommended.

If, after reading the paragraph above, your plans still include heading into either ravine, I’d suggest going back and re-reading the first two paragraphs and asking yourself if spending a wet day with High avalanche danger is really the what you want to do. With heavy rain in the forecast for the next few days, I’m personally planning some quality indoor activities to keep busy. This storm system is a potent one, with up to an inch of water equivalent by midnight tonight and the potential for up to 4″ (10cm) of water equivalent by the time it’s all over late Wednesday. As far as the potential for avalanches goes, two things are in my mind for today. First is the new snow which is falling with forecasted winds to be S shifting W at 50-70mph (80-113kph) early in the day. This would be enough to create instabilities even if the forecast wasn’t for snow changing to rain. The second issue is the older slabs that existed primarily in Tuckerman Ravine and are sitting on top of the rain crust from about a week ago. Dumping rain on these slabs would also increase the avalanche danger. Putting both of these issues together and thinking about what effect the rain will have brings me to my belief that natural avalanches will be taking place today in most areas by the end of today. Some of these will be wet slabs and others may be wet loose snow avalanches, but regardless, I wouldn’t want to be hit with either type.

The warm wet weather over the next few days followed by clear, sunny, and warm weather will do some significant damage to the snow cover across the mountain over the week to come. I would expect the Little Headwall, which already has some open water holes, and the brook leading out of the Ravine to become dangerously undermined by meltwater. Also expect icefall and rockfall hazard to increase as free water melts the bonds between the ice and rocks allowing them to succumb to their natural gravitational urges. Finally, travel off the beaten path may become a nightmare of soggy postholes. Due to the posthole factor it’s probably not a good week to try sledding the Sherburne Ski Trail or bushwacking down the Great Gulf; you’re much better off with flotation on your feet or sticking to well-traveled routes.

The Lion Head Winter Route is open. The John Sherburne Ski Trail is skiable all the way to Pinkham Notch.

Please Remember:
Natural events such as avalanches are impossible to accurately predict in every instance. This Advisory is one tool to help you make your own decisions in avalanche terrain. It should be used along with safe travel techniques, snow stability assessments, an understanding of weather’s effect on the snowpack, and proficiency in avalanche rescue.
You should obtain the latest weather forecast before heading into the mountains. Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters or the HMC caretaker at the Harvard Cabin. A new avalanche advisory will be issued tomorrow and this advisory expires at midnight.

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

Hit by Skier

The victim was climbing up on the Center Headwall to ski when a skier above fell and hit him. He suffered a laceration to his left forearm. He was assisted by members of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol who bandaged the arm and advised him to seek further medical attention for stitches. He was able to walk out of the ravine on his own. This accident took 3 people 30 minutes.

Ski Injury Right Gully

Forest Service Snow Rangers were contacted by the NH State Police, who had received a call from Maine 911. Maine had received a 911 cell phone call reporting a person injured in Tuckerman Ravine. The victim was skiing Right Gully when he fell and slid into Lunch Rocks. He suffered soft tissue injury to his lower back and buttocks. He was able to walk out of the Ravine. The Snow Rangers met him on the trail and assessed his condition. He was able to walk out with volunteers carrying his equipment. This incident took the Snow Rangers 1 hour.