Nov 062014
 

The upcoming winter is drawing ever more near. Today I noticed that northern Maine has a Winter Storm Warning issued for 5-10″ of snow, and the NWS forecasters are discussing heavy accumulations in the mountains of northern New Hampshire, too. We’ve still got a ways to go before the season really kicks into swing, but there are some things you can be doing to get yourselves ready, such as:

  • Come to the 4th Annual Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop (ESAW) to refresh and engage your avalanche brain. It’s only two days away (or one if you come for the AAC social event tomorrow night). More info can be found at www.esaw.org. We still have room for more people.
  • Enroll in an avalanche course. The best dates can fill quickly. Most of the local providers can be found here on our website.
  • Enroll in a first-aid course. Sure, accidents always happen to somebody else, but why not be ready when the time comes for you to spring into action and be a hero?
  • Do a little avalanche transceiver review session. Fall leaves make for excellent opportunities to hide one and search.
  • Consider joining a “Friends” group. We have two that we work closely with, Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and Friends of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center. These two groups, as well as all the rescue groups and the Volunteer Ski Patrol, work together to help keep people safe in the mountains.
  • Get in shape! Seriously, I’m not trying to call anyone out on being slothful, but I know that for me, I have more fun when I’m feeling fit than when I feel like every step up taxes my legs and lungs to no end. And really, shouldn’t it really all just be about making everything more fun?

Keep your eyes peeled to this website as well as our Facebook page, Instagram feed, and Twitter account. We’ll be posting sporadically from now until the first General Advisory, then with some regularity until the daily advisories using the Danger Ratings Scale begin. Hopefully that time is not far off!

Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
Mount Washington Avalanche Center

 Posted by at 4:28 pm
May 252014
 

THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY FOR THE SEASON. HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST UNTIL COMPLETE MELTOUT SO PLEASE READ THIS FINAL ADVISORY BEFORE HEADING INTO THE RAVINES OR TO THE SUMMIT OF MT. WASHINGTON.

This General Advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this summer. The snow coverage that is left has settled out, been skier compacted, and is going through the late season melt-freeze process. However, the remaining large snowfields may make for a good sliding surface for late season avalanches. A June snowstorm is not an unheard of occurrence on Mt. Washington. Be prepared for the possibility of new snow instability if this occurs.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail.  This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area. The trail will reopen after the last snow has melted off.  Check in with one of the local visitor centers to determine the status of the clousure before starting up.  If you use motorized access to the summit of Mount Washington it is NOT recommended that you descend any route through the Ravines.  You will not be aware of the hazards below you.  Many have attempted this over the years, often resulting in severe accidents.

BE AWARE OF FALLING ICE. Each year over 1000 tons of ice form on the steep slopes of Tuckerman Ravine. In the spring it all falls down, often in pieces larger than cars, and often over popular locations like Lunch Rocks and the Tuckerman Ravine trail in the bottom of the ravine. This hazard will persist until complete melt out. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to avoid spending time in the potential path of falling ice. CREVASSES AND UNDERMINED SNOW appear as the snow pack melts and separates from the ledges on the Headwall. These openings vary tremendously in size and include the many waterfalls on the Headwall.  Skiers and climbers need to pay attention to what is below at all times and constantly evaluate the potential outcome of a fall or slide.

We sincerely thank all the groups and individuals that helped us make it through the season successfully. We couldn’t do the job without the many volunteer hours spent carrying injured people down the mountain, giving out good information to visitors, and giving us financial support. Thanks for a great season and we’ll see you next winter. Joe, Jeff, Frank, and Chris.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This advisory 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 Androscoggin Ranger District, the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.  This is the last advisory of the 2013-2014 season.

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

2014-05-25. Last Advisory Print Friendly

 Posted by at 9:19 am