A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours.
A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. 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.
Drawing closer to the end of May, the snow in Tuckerman is showing signs of persistence, though the overall quality is a long way from where it was earlier in the spring. Skiing in the center or right side of the ravine will be short runs on dirt covered snow. Left Gully is still giving skiers relatively long runs. The weekend weather doesn’t look too bad, especially for early risers. Rain on Saturday afternoon is a possibility, and late day clouds are possible both Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to pack appropriately–this is Mt. Washington in the month of May after all. Daily high temperatures are only forecast to be in the lower 40’s F (4-6C) which is only slightly warmer than my refrigerator at home. Be sure to check the higher summits forecast before heading up.
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.
SHORT RUNOUTS. As snow begins melting uphill pay close attention to your runouts and what you may run into if you fall. Even a fall down low can be unfortunate when the snowline ends on a 35 degree slope. Pick your routes with this in mind.
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.
Attention aux randonneurs! Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités. Cette section est située entre Lunch Rocks et le sommet du Headwall jusqu’où ce dernier rejoint le sentier du Alpine Garden. Cette fermeture inclut également toute activité de descente dans le secteur du Lip. Seulement cette section du sentier est fermé. Cette fermeture annuelle est due à l’ampleur des crevasses et à la gravité qu’occasionnerait une chute dans ce secteur.
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 18, 2013. A new advisory will be issued when conditions warrant.
Jeff Lane, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856