A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. A general advisory for Tuckerman will be in effect until complete melt out later this spring/summer. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.
The long stretch of nice weather came to an abrupt end Wednesday night when over half an inch of rain fell during the evening. Precipitation is expected to continue through the weekend so anyone coming up will face elevated springtime hazards in addition to the possibility of thunderstorms on Thursday. The frequency and severity of the hazards listed below are all made worse by rain and storm runoff:
FALLING ICE. Over the years many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. The most hazardous locations are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, the Sluice, Lip, and Center Bowl. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. There is still a lot of ice hanging on the cliffs in the Sluice and headwall. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES. These are growing larger in many locations, the most dangerous locations are in the Lip and Center Bowl. Give them plenty of room, since they are often much larger beneath the surface than what you can see from above and can be much deeper than you might expect. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal for you or someone in your group. Give these areas plenty of room when hiking up or skiing down.
UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. It is most prominent in places where there is flowing water beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top beware that the snow may be bridging this hazard. When in doubt probe aggressively with a ski pole or ice axe. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall holes. Travel in this area is not recommended. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. We will be closing the Lip to skiing and any other use as well as the section of the Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail between Lunch Rocks and the Alpine Garden on Friday. This is an annual closure due to the unique and significant hazards posed to hikers and skiers.
The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed for the season. Plan to hike down from Hermit Lake.
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 Forest Service Snow Rangers or the AMC at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center or Hermit Lake Shelters.
Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856