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.
Wet weather will continue to threaten the mountains for the weekend as a cold front sweeps through the region. Today rain, perhaps heavy at times, is forecasted to last the majority of the day along with winds gusting over 55mph (88kph) and fog. Precipitation is expected to continue into Sunday albeit lighter than today with a decreasing wind. If I had to choose one weekend day to come up I’d pick tomorrow although it will likely still be wet. I would because of less rain and the likelihood for less fog. This would make things generally more pleasant for being comfortable as well as reduce risk. Heavier rain today will increase the icefall hazard and fog will limit my ability to see ice coming and respond. The combination of icefall and fog makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The following is a brief list of the main spring hazards we are concerned with right now.
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, and under the Lip-Center Bowl area. Warm weather and rain increase the potential for icefall to occur. 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.
A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USE. This section extends from Lunch Rocks at the floor of the Ravine to the top of the Headwall where it meets the Alpine Garden Trail. This includes no skiing or riding through the Lip area. Only this section of the trail is closed. This annual closure is due to the magnitude of the crevasses and undermining, and the severe consequences of a fall in this area.
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. Issued Saturday May 11 2013. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant.
Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856