Website Updates

What happened to the MWAC website???

Well, it’s been five years since we first moved away from www.tuckerman.org to current site, and in that time much has changed, so we figured it was time to update the site. Since this fall and winter were off to such a lousy start, it gave us ample opportunities to work on the changes. Here’s some of the changes you’ll find today:

  • A more organized navigation bar, with an attempt to put the greatest emphasis on the Avalanche Advisory and resources one could use to help understand the advisory.
  • A page with the past 15 days advisories. When planning a trip, it’s often helpful to know the recent history of the snowpack.
  • A “News” section, where you will find the Weekend Update, The Pit, and now other newsworthy items that previously didn’t have a good home.
  • A streamlined homepage, less “busy”
  • Better responsiveness on mobile devices
  • An “About Us” section, with contact info so you know how to reach us
  • A “Trail Status” page, so you can quickly see which trails are open or closed (E.g. which Lion Head route or how far up the Sherburne is open.)

More changes are coming through the season, but we wanted to make the site live right now so we can ensure all the critical components are working properly when we move into full avalanche forecasting mode. There is nothing more unsettling to us than finding out that we cannot update the Advisory due to some website glitch.

Some of the changes I’m hopeful we’ll be able to implement include:

  • Bring our photos page back onto our website instead of using the Flickr site
  • Providing a means for you to share your photos with us
  • Providing access to our snowplot and avalanche observation data

If you are navigating around the site and have thoughts, comments, or questions, feel free to send them my way. When information flows in all directions, we all stand to benefit. So please don’t be afraid to speak up if you see something or want a feature added. We can’t do everything you might want, but if it’s a reasonable request and technologically feasible, we might incorporate your suggestions.

Thanks,
Jeff Lane

Ps: We owe a great deal of gratitude to Jeff F.  and Joe K. for their ongoing support of the tech side of this site. Thanks, guys.

Early Winter Information – December 29, 2015

This is an updated early winter informational statement. We’ll continue to monitor conditions closely and will issue a General Bulletin or Avalanche Advisory when the likelihood and consequence of avalanches increase.

We have been paying attention, for sure, but Mother Nature has not been cooperative in getting this winter underway. Today (12/29) we are experiencing a winter storm across the entire region, which certainly makes it feel more like winter than it had been feeling. This new snow will have an effect, but prior to it there was only about 1″ of snow sitting on the ground. Seriously, the total snow depth on 12/28 was about 1″. Aside from a small isolated patch of snow at the top of Left Gully, there was nothing that resembled a snowfield. So in essence, we are still waiting for enough snow to fill in the ravines to warrant issuing our first General Bulletin.

Please consider the following as you plan your trip:

  • Hiking trails through steep terrain (e.g. Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine trails) may be covered in ice and snow. Mountaineering skills and equipment are required for safe travel on these routes. Microspikes are not a substitute for real crampons in steep icy terrain.
  • The Lion Head Summer Trail is still open and at this pace, it’ll stay open for a while yet. This trail does have a lot of water ice on it, making crampons or other traction devices a smart choice.
  • Ice climbing routes are still developing. One recent report was that the ice in Pinnacle Gully is gone. Expect poor protection and ample amounts of water in Huntington’s gullies and in the headwall area of Tuckerman. Remember that on Christmas Eve the summit broke a record with a max temperature of 46F.
  • The length of daylight is very short at this time of year. Carry a headlamp or two, even if you have no expectation to need it.
  • Check summit weather forecasts before heading out. Weather above treeline is often much worse than down at the base. You can find the MWObs summit forecast here or theNational Weather Service summits forecast here.
  • Avalanche hazards can exist in very small areas. Expect a handful of micro/nano sized bed surfaces to accept the loading of new snow. Although not enough to justify an avalanche General Bulletin or Avalanche Advisory, be prepared for some extremely isolated areas of instability with future snowfalls. Be sure to check back for updated information as winter continues to take hold up here.

For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin.

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

2015-12-29 Information Posting

Early Winter Information – December 19, 2015

This is an updated early winter informational statement. A General Bulletin or an Avalanche Advisory will be used when conditions warrant. This early season posting is to communicate that some initial winter hazards on Mount Washington are beginning to grow, requiring some risk assessment and thought on your part.  We’ll monitor conditions closely and will issue a General Bulletin Avalanche Advisory when the likelihood and consequence of avalanches increase. Current conditions in the ravines are more similar to late fall than typical December. Very little snow has fallen so far this season, and average temperatures have been well above normal.

Please consider the following as you plan your trip:

  • Hiking trails through steep terrain (e.g. Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine trails) may be covered in ice and snow. Mountaineering skills and equipment are required for safe travel on these routes. Microspikes are not a substitute for real crampons in steep icy terrain.
  • Icefall hazards will continue as temperatures fall and rise. Ice climbing routes have been subject to above freezing temperatures are recently as December 18. As of December 19, forecasts include more warm days, with the summit possibly reaching above freezing on Christmas Day.
  • The length of daylight is very short at this time of year. Carry a headlamp or two, even if you have no expectation to need it.
  • Check weather forecasts before heading out. Weather above treeline is often much worse than down at the base. You can find the MWObs summit forecast here or the National Weather Service summits forecast here.
  • Avalanche hazards can exist in very small areas. Expect a handful of micro/nano sized bed surfaces to accept the loading of new snow. Although not enough to justify an avalanche General Bulletin or Avalanche Advisory, be prepared for some extremely isolated areas of instability with future snowfalls. Be sure to check back for updated information as winter continues to take hold up here.

Avalanche.org

If you are dreaming about snow, wondering if you’ll ever be knee-deep in powder ever again, there are plenty of online resources to help you feel the pain of early winter in the Northeast. Avalache.org has a map on its homepage showing danger ratings from across the country. I’d recommend this as a first stop if you want a quick glimpse of where the snow has been falling recently. (And if you haven’t been paying attention, some areas out west have been doing quite well so far.) The Forest Service National Avalanche Center site is another good one for snow safety information.

 

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

Early Winter Information for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines- December 11, 2015

This is an updated early winter informational statement.  A “General Bulletin” or a “5 Scale Avalanche Advisory” will be used when conditions warrant.  This early season posting is to communicate that some initial winter hazards on Mount Washington are beginning to grow requiring some risk assessment and thought on your part.  We’ll monitor conditions closely and will start off with a General Bulletin when the likelihood and consequence of avalanches increase.

It’s still pretty slow out there as far as snow and ice accumulations goes for climbing and skiing enthusiasts. November was about 200% below normal in total precipitation. December is proving not much better so far with only 1.85″ of total water of the 7.73″ average for December’s running 30 year norm. The more dramatic figures are related to temperatures.  As you are fully aware it’s been a warm start to winter.  So ice keeps coming in and then diminishing with alpine warm ups.  This weekend will see above freezing temperatures around the clock at the Ravine elevations, so once again we’ll be in losing mode. (AKA-Falling Ice)

Consider these important reminders in your evaluations:

  • Expect continued icefall hazards due to mild temperatures as well as weak detached ice if considering ice climbing.  Be cautious when moving through or travelling below locations harboring ice.
  • Although very effective for general low elevation walking remember “microspikes” are not crampons.  During the early season we carry both as each have their place, know the limitations of each.
  • As we progress towards the solstice daylight is waning.  A headlamp could become your best friend in the event of an injury or a longer than expected day. Carry two.
  • Be sure to check current weather forecasts at the Mount Washington Observatory website, posted at the Pinkham and Crawford Notch Visitors Centers as well as at the Harvard Cabin and Hermit Lake Shelters in Tuckerman Ravine.
  • Avalanche hazards can grow quickly now that we have some small bed surfaces beginning to develop.  Expect a handful of micro/nano sized bed surfaces to accept the loading of new snow. Although not enough to justify an avalanche “Bulletin” or “Advisory”, be prepared for some extremely isolated areas of instability with future snowfalls.  Be sure to check back for updated information as winter continues to take hold up here.
  • Check for updates at www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org, on instagram @mwacenter, on facebook, and twitter @Avalanchecenter

*For more information contact the Forest Service Snow Rangers, the AMC at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, or the caretakers at Hermit Lake Shelters or the Harvard Cabin.

*Posted on Friday December 11, 2015. A new posting will be issued when conditions warrant.

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

Winter knocking on the doorstep

Winter knocking on the doorstep. We’ve been busy at work with preseason tasks, one of which is to start taking and posting photos. You can see some from yesterday at our website or go direct to Flickr.

Reports were mixed of the ice climbing quality…generally OK ice, but slushy, tough bushwacking to get out of Odell, too much water in the Open Book, etc. -JL