Latest avalanche advisory for Mount Washington’s Cutler River Drainage – Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines

General Bulletin for Sunday, May 29, 2016

This is the last Bulletin for the 2015-2016 season.  Some snow and ice related hazards will persist until complete melt out.  

This General Bulletin will be in effect until complete melt out later this summer. The snow coverage that is left has settled, been skier compacted, and is going through the late season melting process. The Tuckerman Ravine Trail through the Ravine is now open, but expect some minor patches of snow to remain into early June.

The remaining snowfields all have a degree of holes, crevasses and undermining that may collapse as they weaken into the summer. Based on the rapid changes to snow strength in the late season, snowfields should be avoided or approached with a high degree of caution. Expect age-hardened, dense alpine ice surfaces in some places even on warmer days. Mountaineering experience, good judgement, and proper equipment, like an ice axe, crampons, and a helmet are critical if venturing onto existing snowfields.

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. After writing avalanche and safety advisories for the last 22 seasons this is the last one from me as one of your U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers.  It’s time for me to move on to other life adventures. Thanks for listening, reading, heeding, and saying hello as you passed through Hermit Lake. Thanks also to all the Snow Rangers, NH Fish and Game Officers, and volunteers I have worked with to make the mountains a safer place for all of you. Chris.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin 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, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch or Hermit Lake.
  • Posted Sunday, May 29, 2016. A new bulletin/advisory will be issued at the beginning of the 2016-2017 winter season.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-05-29 FINAL GENERAL

General Bulletin for Saturday, May 28, 2016

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. We will post the last Bulletin/Advisory of the season tomorrow.

Early summer heat has hit snow coverage hard this week with notable daily changes.  Skiing/riding opportunities have fallen apart quickly and have begun to move into the novelty variety to say you did it.  Expect poor runouts with rocks and brush in your path and a lot of undermining and weak snow bridges.  This rapid melting trend will continue through the next few days with high temperatures and thunderstorm potential.  Although the chance is slight, thunderstorms are forecasted for this afternoon, tonight, and tomorrow.  Plan ahead and avoid being above treeline if thunder and lightning move into the mountains.  Muggy humidity will be memorable today triggering the NHDES to issue unhealthy air pollution levels above 3000ft. If someone in your group has health issues consider other alternatives today. On Sunday night and Monday heavy rain is expected to bring flash flooding to the region.

We are opening the Tuckerman Ravine Trail through the Ravine today.  This is unusually early due to the low snow winter for 2015-2016, but some snow still exists on the trail in a few places.  The snow that remains is either easy to negotiate or is low angle enough that the difficulties are minor.  Expect wet feet and many people will find ski poles or microspikes helpful for additional confidence.

Late Spring Hazards in Tuckerman Ravine:

  • CREVASSES, HOLES, AND UNDERMINED SNOW – The most dangerous of these are in the Center Bowl and under the Lip on the looker’s right side of the Ravine. Falling into one has been the cause of numerous injuries and past fatalities.  Based on the rapid changes to snow strength in the late season, these snowfields should be avoided.
  • FALLING ICE – Over the years, many people have been severely injured or killed by falling ice in Tuckerman. Although we are through the vast majority of Icefall season lingering pieces may still come down so continue to respect this threat.  The most probable location for additional icefall would be from the Center Bowl.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS – Temperatures often fall below freezing even late into spring. Additionally, age hardening can create very dense alpine ice that remains very slick even on warmer days. Mountaineering experience, good judgement and proper equipment, like an ice axe and crampons, are your best defense if venturing onto existing snowfields in the Ravine. The bottom sections of popular runs are also melting uphill making it possible to fall into rocks and terrain features while still in steep terrain.

Please Remember:

  • Safe travel in avalanche terrain requires training and experience. This bulletin 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, or the AMC at Pinkham Notch or Hermit Lake.
  • Posted 6:50a.m., Saturday, May 28, 2016. A new bulletin will be issued tomorrow.

Christopher Joosen, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2716

2016-05-28 GENERAL