May 242015
 

THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY FOR THE SEASON. HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST UNTIL COMPLETE MELTOUT SO PLEASE READ THIS FINAL ADVISORY BEFORE HEADING INTO THE RAVINES OR TO THE SUMMIT OF MT. WASHINGTON.

This General Advisory will be in effect until complete melt out later this summer. The snow coverage that is left has settled out, been skier compacted, and is going through the late season melt-freeze process. However, the remaining large snowfields may make for a good sliding surface for late season avalanches. A June snowstorm is not an unheard of occurrence on Mt. Washington. Be prepared for the possibility of new snow instability if this occurs.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS 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 trail will reopen after the last snow has melted off.  Check in with one of the local visitor centers to determine the status of the clousure before starting up.  If you use motorized access to the summit of Mount Washington it is NOT recommended that you descend any route through the Ravines.  You will not be aware of the hazards below you.  Many have attempted this over the years, often resulting in severe accidents.

BE AWARE OF FALLING ICE. Each year over 1000 tons of ice form on the steep slopes of Tuckerman Ravine. In the spring it all falls down, often in pieces larger than cars, and often over popular locations like Lunch Rocks and the Tuckerman Ravine trail in the bottom of the ravine. This hazard will persist until complete melt out. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to avoid spending time in the potential path of falling ice. CREVASSES AND UNDERMINED SNOW appears as the snow pack melts and separates from the ledges on the Headwall. These openings vary tremendously in size and include the many waterfalls on the Headwall.  Skiers and climbers need to pay attention to what is below at all times and constantly evaluate the potential outcome of a fall or slide.

We sincerely thank all the groups and individuals that helped us make it through the season successfully. We couldn’t do the job without the many volunteer hours spent carrying injured people down the mountain, giving out good information to visitors, and giving us financial support. Thanks for a great season and we’ll see you next winter. Helon, Jeff, Frank, and Chris.

Please Remember

  • 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, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713

2015-05-24 Last Advisory

 Posted by at 7:42 am
May 232015
 

A General Advisory is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine until complete melt out in early summer. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments. A new General Advisory will be issued when conditions warrant or within 72 hours. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

If you are reading this, it is likely that you are already aware that it is cold and windy today on the Rockpile. In fact, it has warmed to the current 12F (7am) on the summit after being pegged at 10F since midnight. Expect hard, icy snow to resist softening today with temperatures only rising to the upper 20’s on the summit. Though the Bowl will be a bit warmer, and sunny, the westerly winds in the 40-55 mph range on the summit will conspire against good soft skiing conditions. It will be a close call but if you have flexibility in your schedule, you might wait till tomorrow or Monday. If you do come up, don’t forget extra layers and consider the need for traction on your feet for security in harder snow conditions.

A SECTION OF THE TUCKERMAN RAVINE TRAIL IS 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.

BE AWARE OF THE ANNUAL SPRINGTIME HAZARDS IN TUCKERMAN RAVINE:

  • 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 ice that has not yet fallen. Avoid spending time in high risk areas such as under the Headwall or at Lunch Rocks.
  • CREVASSES AND WATERFALL HOLES continue to grow; the most dangerous 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. Breaking through weak snow into one of these could be fatal. The best way to avoid the hazard is by climbing up what you plan to descend and giving these areas plenty of space.
  • UNDERMINED SNOW. As the snowpack continues to get thinner, this problem gets worse. You may encounter this problem anywhere that water is flowing beneath the snowpack, which includes most of the gullies, or where the snowpack is thinning near emerging boulders. While the snow may appear thick and strong on top, you won’t really know how strong or weak until you cause it to collapse underneath you. If you see small holes in the snow or near large rocks, realize there may be large open spaces under the surface.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS. Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening creates very dense snow and alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Snow surfaces can be hard and icy enough to make arresting a fall difficult, if not impossible, on a steep slope. Good terrain choices, careful climbing as well as proper equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense.

The Lip area has all of the hazards listed above, as well as the main waterfall hole. This terrain is a “no fall zone,” where the consequences of a slip at any point can be dire. There are a number of other, safer routes than the Tuckerman Ravine trail that take you to Pinkham Notch and avoid this closed area. We will issue one more General Advisory for the season tomorrow.  And many thanks to the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, AMC and HMC caretakers, as well as Mountain Rescue Service and Androscoggin Valley SAR for all their valuable help this season…we couldn’t manage without you!

Please Remember:

  • 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, The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.

Frank Carus, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713

2015-05-23 General