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

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

 

General Bulletin for Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A General Bulletin is in effect for Tuckerman Ravine. A new General Bulletin will be issued within 72 hours or when conditions warrant. We are no longer monitoring conditions in Huntington Ravine.

For Wednesday afternoon expect thunderstorms in the mountains with hail and lightning.  Being below treeline during periods of thunder is always a good plan. Thursday’s weather looks nice before clouds and rain enter the picture again for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  If you are thinking of hiking above treeline, realize there are no options to hike through Tuckerman, only into it, and then backtracking down again.  Obviously, if you get above treeline through a variety of other options there is also no way down through Tuckerman.

With late season heat and rain dominating the recent weather trends skiing and riding conditions are falling apart and are becoming more limited.  Left gully continues to be the longest line although a bit difficult to get in and out of due to brush and rocks. Falling ice is the greatest objective hazard whether you are down on the floor, at the base of Icefall Rocks (Lunch Rocks), or up on the slope.  We expect this threat to continue through the holiday weekend. Recently, very large icefall occurred from the Center Bowl, which had two people literally running for their lives.  Stay alert as we are still in icefall season. We are wrapping up our season over the next 5 days so you can expect the last Bulletin to be issued this weekend.

Spring 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 currently are in the center and right side of the ravine, including Lunch Rocks, Lip, and Center Bowl.   Being low in Lunch Rocks, more aptly known as “Icefall Rocks”, is still not recommended.  Being up high in Icefall Rocks has become more reasonable due to the Sluice ice, which typically looms above, has already crashed through Icefall Rocks.
  • CREVASSES, HOLES, AND UNDERMINED SNOW – The most dangerous of these are in the Center Bowl over to the Lip on the looker’s right side of the Ravine. Falling into one has been the cause of numerous injuries and past fatalities. Generally, climbing up what you plan to descend will allow you to see most of these hazards for your descent and realize there may be large open spaces under the surface near these holes. Expect the recent snow to hide some of these threats.
  • 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. 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.

A section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is closed to all use. This is due to the severe consequences of a fall in this area. The closed section extends from the top of Lunch Rocks to the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail above the ravine. Only this section is closed. Hiking or skiing in the vicinity of the closed trail 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 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 8:50a.m., Wednesday, May 25, 2016. A new bulletin will be issued when warranted.

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

2016-05-25 GENERAL