This is the final advisory for the 2011-2012 season. This General Advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this summer. Certain hazards will persist in the ravine until complete melt out; please read below if you are heading into Tuckerman Ravine. The potential consequences can range from minor to severe, but remember that even a minor injury in a backcountry location can be a big problem
The melting snowpack creates very dangerous undermined snow and crevasses. Be aware that some features, such as snow bridges and the edges of the snowpack, may be much weaker than they appear. There is no good way to know just how strong the snow is, so we recommend staying away from the edges and sticking to firmly supported, thick snow.
Falling rock and ice continues to take place, even though most of the winter ice has already fallen. Always pay attention to what is above you and be thinking about what you would do if a chunk were to fall above you. This is true even for hikers on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, where you will be hiking just downhill of a couple large blocks of snow sitting in steep terrain.
Late season snowstorms are not uncommon. If we get a significant snow event, unstable snow may exist on the remaining patches of old snow in the ravine. Be prepared to assess stability yourself if this should happen.
The entire Tuckerman Ravine Trail is now open. Each year a section through the ravine is closed due to dangerous snow conditions, usually lasting until late June or early July. Thin winter snow coverage and warm spring temperatures have allowed us to open the trail earlier than usual.
The Mount Washington Avalanche Center would like to sincerely thank all the groups who have helped us in various ways throughout the season. The Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol deserves special recognition for the amount of time they have given to help keep visitors well-informed and safe. We will begin forecasting again next fall, when the mountain is once again covered in snow and ice.
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 U.S. Forest Service, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretaker at Hermit Lake Shelters.
Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856