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

General Bulletin for Tuckerman Ravine

This is the final bulletin issued by the Mount Washington Avalanche Center for the 2016-17 season. This will remain in effect until complete melt out. Travel in the backcountry requires careful snow evaluation and mountain sense. Hazards due to snow and ice will persist until it is all gone. Snowstorms on Mount Washington in June may be uncommon, but are not unheard of. If venturing into the mountains, be sure to use all available resources to help plan your trip and make safe travel decisions.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

  • The summer Lion Head Trail is open and provides the most direct route to the summit of Mount Washington from Pinkham Notch.
  • A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed through the Bowl. This section extends from Lunch Rocks to the junction with the Alpine Garden Trail. This closure is due to the severe and possibly fatal consequences of a fall in this area. This also means that skiing or riding the Lip is not allowed. This section of trail will remain closed until the snow disappears. Check in with one of the visitor centers or the caretaker at Hermit Lake for the current status.
  • The John Sherburne Ski Trail is closed for the season.

MOUNTAIN HAZARDS

  • Falling Ice and Rocks: While the most notorious pieces have already fallen down this spring, smaller pieces of ice linger and will continue to present a threat until the snow is gone. As the snow recedes this time of year, rocks are often dislodged. Overhead assessment and safe travel techniques will help to mitigate this hazard.
  • Crevasses: As the snow pulls away from cliffs, these glide cracks open and have swallowed many people over the years. These are best given a wide berth. The largest of these cracks are obvious while those smaller in size may be harder to see and therefore can often present more of a hazard.
  • Holes and Undermined Snow: The snowpack melts both on the surface and from beneath. As this hollowing takes place, unpredictable collapses will occur. Some are more obvious like the famous snow arch near Lunch Rocks but others are less so, like a sudden hole appearing in the floor of the Ravine.

This season was a time of significant change for our avalanche center. Thank you to everyone for lending a hand when needed. Frank Carus became the director and we were fortunate to add Ryan Matz to the team. We were also lucky to have part-time help from Joe Klementovich, Justin Preisendorfer, Brian Johnston, Dan Corn, and Alexa Siegel. Thank you all for donning a green jacket and spending time with us on the hill. A huge thank you goes to the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol for all the time they donate. Thank you also to the AMC caretakers at Hermit Lake and the Harvard Cabin caretakers for collecting daily weather data, providing SAR response, and being partners in the field. In addition to this, a thank you goes to all of you for reading our advisories, providing us with your observations, and coming to this special place. We look forward to seeing you in November at the Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop.

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.
  • For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters.
  • Posted at 7:00 am on Monday, May 29, 2017.

Helon Hoffer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856

2017-05-29

General Bulletin for Saturday, May 27, 2017

This bulletin will expire at Midnight on Monday, May 29, 2017.

A General Bulletin 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. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

As high pressure builds over New England on Saturday, skies should clear as the day progresses. An inversion may keep clouds over mid-elevations with a slight chance of precipitation, but this should be limited to the morning. Sunday will see clearer skies overall with temperatures reaching close to the 50sF. A system arriving Sunday night will likely bring rain on Memorial Day.

The summer Lion Head Trail is now open and is the preferred route to the Summit from Pinkham Notch. A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in the Bowl is closed to all use. This section is from Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and is due to the severe consequences of a fall in this area. Only this section is closed. Hiking or skiing in the vicinity of the closed trail, including the Lip, is not permitted. 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.

Please be aware that while the Lion Head Summer Trail is open, snow will be encountered on the route. Appropriate equipment should be carried. The following typical mountain hazards are also in play:

  • UNDERMINED SNOW: Meltwater running under the snow creates hollow spaces potentially bridged by thin snow that can easily break under the weight of a person. With the 1.5” of rain that fell over the past 48 hours, snow will be hollower than it appears. In places, this might mean a wet foot or a minor fall, while larger holes with significant flowing water can be of much greater consequence. Listen for flowing water and look for small holes in the snow surface.
  • CREVASSES (GLIDE CRACKS), WATERFALL HOLES, AND MOATS: Many of the largest, deepest cracks continue to grow, particularly in Lip and Center Bowl. Give these plenty of space. A fall into one could be fatal. Moats around rocks are widespread through the terrain. While the cracks in the Lip and Center Bowl are obvious and should ward all away, pay close attention to the smaller cracks forming now in the Sluice and Chute. While maybe not as deep, these can cause trouble if taken lightly when compared to the more obvious hazard in the Headwall.
  • LONG SLIDING FALLS: While the calendar may say Memorial Day, there is ample snow coverage on a multitude of slopes. Long, sliding falls can turn ugly this time of year as the snow coverage no longer extends into the runout zones. Crashing into a boulder at high speed while have dire consequences. Use appropriate equipment for your chosen route of travel. In places, this includes microspikes, crampons, and your ice axe.

The Sherburne Ski Trail is closed. Please hike down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch.

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.
  • 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.
  • Posted at 7:00 am on Saturday, May 27, 2017.  A new bulletin will be issued when conditions warrant.

Helon Hoffer, Snow Ranger
USDA Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
(603) 466-2713 TTY (603) 466-2856

2017-05-27