This advisory expires at 12:00 midnight, January 15, 2013.
All forecast areas of Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine have Low avalanche danger today. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely.
Well there isn’t really all that much to say about snow stability today. Friday through Monday of this past weekend were incredibly warm. In fact, Mt. Washington Observatory reported a record high temperature for the month of January on Sunday when it reached 48F (9C) at the top of the mountain. Relief from the January thaw came yesterday as temperatures began to fall back below freezing. Currently we’re at 18F (-7.6C) at Hermit Lake while the summit sits at 10F (-12C). The water that had been in the snowpack has refrozen and stabilized the slopes as well as just about anything can.
Overall snow stability is very good, so spend your time thinking about some of the other hazards you’ll encounter, such very slick and often hard snow surfaces. Long sliding falls are often a big problem with these conditions, but given the thin snow cover there are only a few locations where you’d slide a long ways before hitting something. A fall in steep terrain today would more appropriately be described as a rapid acceleration, high speed, tumbling fall with a high probability for blunt force trauma to result. If you plan to climb in steep terrain, which does include the Lion Head Winter Route, you might want to consider using rope and a belay to protect against the risk of falling.
Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, possibly 3”-5” (7.5-12.5cm), which will be landing on slick bed surfaces. Be sure to read tomorrow morning’s advisory before heading out, because it will likely be a different danger rating than we have today.
I’ll do my best to get out into all of our terrain today to check out the damage. Look for photos to be posted to our website this afternoon. From what I’ve seen so far of the lower part of the mountain, I would expect the Sherburne Ski Trail to be a very fast, icy trail with some possible water crossings at drainages.
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 7:55am, January 15, 2013. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow.
Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856