Tuckerman Ravine has LOW avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely. Huntington Ravine is not posted. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington for the remainder of this season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.
Light winds and clear skies will allow snow to soften mid-day today. Aspects directly in the sun will ripen first with shadier aspects like Chute and Left Gully not softening as much if at all. Heating through the day may be intense enough that maintaining an edge and managing your sluff may become difficult on steep areas of sloppy snow. Be wary of ice hanging over the approach to Sluice and the Center Bowl which has held on tenaciously through a few warm days over the past weeks. This ice will fall down in large chunks that roll unpredictably and with surprising speed. Don’t linger at Lunch Rocks or in the floor of the ravine, it just isn’t worth it when sitting on your pack or another rock somewhere out of the fall line is an easy option. Hanging out under the ice is a a game of Russian roulette. Some days there are more rounds in the chamber than others but why play those odds at all if you don’t have to. Choose your routes carefully to reduce exposure to this hazard.
Crevasses have opened and will continue to open as our snowpack creeps downhill. The slab of snow marking the lookers right edge of Friday’s wet slab avalanche has a developing crack near the top. This slab is unsupported and is close to 6′ thick on a slope approaching 50 degrees. Whether this slab will melt in place, be triggered by a skier or release naturally is anybody’s guess. Though an avalanche here is unlikely, it is far from impossible. If it does slide you don’t want to be anywhere near it. Additionally, the snowpack beneath all of the frozen waterfalls, but especially the Sluice, Lip and Center Bowl areas, has begun to pull away from the ice. These slots can be deep enough to create a significant fall hazard and have been the scene of many accidents , some of which were fatal, in the past. Give the areas around any ice a wide berth since where there is ice, there is or will be flowing water which undermines snow and generally creates the potential for serious trouble.
Forest Service snow machines have been put away for the year and Snow Rangers are not on the mountain everyday due to other responsibilities on the White Mountain National Forest. Though we are still closely monitoring conditions and are ready to respond to incidents, our response time will be greatly increased. As always, you need to be ready to initiate and carry out your own rescue effort so be prepared with the knowledge and equipment to effectively help yourself or someone else in your party.
The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed about 0.75 miles uphill of Pinkham Notch. At the rope, you will need to cross over to the hiking trail and walk down to the parking lot. PLEASE do not walk or attempt to ski the trail below the rope–it’s not built for foot travel and you will contribute to the erosion of this trail.
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 Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.
Posted at 7:45 a.m., April 22, 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