Tuckerman Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger today. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible in the Sluice, Lip and Center Headwall areas. All other forecast areas of Tuckerman Ravine have Low avalanche danger.
Huntington Ravine has Low avalanche danger today. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely in all forecast areas though isolated pockets of instability may exist in leeward areas and below steep rock and ice features.
Clear and cold conditions predominated overnight with relatively calm winds in 30 mph range. No significant further drifting in either ravine during the past 24 hours should allow those who are eager to climb to get after it. As usual, care should be exercised when approaching smooth pillows of snow deposited by wind and gravity in lee areas and below steep terrain features. Firm, wind packed snow conditions will make for good cramponing in most areas of both ravines. Anticipate brittle surface ice due to yesterday’s deep freeze with the potential for fresh, wet ice in areas due to the heavy precipitation events of prior weeks.
The temperature now stands at 10F at Hermit Lake, which is quite a bit warmer than valley locations this morning. Expect temperatures to continue moderating through the day, even as cloud cover increases, with the approach of a weak low pressure system. Winds will increase from the present 30mph range to the 50mph range later today. Expect visibility to decrease a bit as the wind begins to pick up and the cloud cap typical of our mountain range develops on the high peaks.
Remember that the summer Lion Head route is still the preferred shortest route to the summit from the east side of the mountain. The winter route will open for travel when conditions allow for passage without undue erosion of the slope which will hopefully happen soon. Remember that sunset comes around 4:15pm.
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.
Anticipate a changing avalanche danger when actual weather differs from the higher summits forecast.
For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin.
Posted 9:45 a.m. Thursday, January 03, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.
Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856