Tuckerman Ravine has Moderate and Low avalanche danger. The Lip has Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. The rest of the forecast areas in Tuckerman Ravine have Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely.
Huntington Ravine has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated terrain features.
This morning, clear skies and pollution filtered sunlight created a dazzling alpenglow in the ravines. The wind scouring is the predominant feature evident in the ravines today in spite of the 3/4” (2cm) of new snow that fell Saturday. Yesterday, wind speeds were ideal for loading the gullies with snow but the only snow available for transport was granular icy fragments not well suited to building cohesive slabs. These crystals acted as abrasive particles to further sculpt the remaining snow into the chaotic jumble of firm, wind hammered waves of snow. There may be some pockets of unstable snow here and there. The Lip and the bowl beneath Sluice ice are areas where smoother snow that is not as wind hammered could be triggered by a climber or skier. Areas in Huntington where snow piled up on benches are also worth approaching with caution. Also, beware of incoming snow sometime this afternoon and evening which may create stability problems for anyone caught out during the evening or overnight.
So far in January, the summit has recorded just 29.4” (75cm) of snow. Compare this to the recent 30 year (1981-2010) average monthly total of 44” (112cm). In 1978, 94.6” (240cm) fell in January, but those were the good old days. In fact, the 30 year average from 1971-2000 was 52.8” (134cm). Our paltry snowfall this month suffered one thaw already and another is on the way on Wednesday. Hopefully, we won’t get much above freezing here. If the 3-5” (12.5-17.5cm) due to fall this afternoon and evening comes in on the high side of the predicted amount, our terrain may look a lot more wintry than at present. The northern Huntington Ravine gullies are currently thin ribbons of snow and ice with a lot of brush showing near the top outs.
The Sherburne trail is still hanging in there though the Little Headwall and creekbed leading up to it are basically unskiable which won’t likely improve enough with the incoming snow to changes things.
As mentioned over the past several days the old hard surfaces are still causing a traction problem in a number of locales. These old surfaces are camouflaged by newer snow in places and threaten skiers and climbers with long sliding falls.
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 8:30a.m. January 28, 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