Entries by Ryan Matz

Close call: Fall into deep waterfall hole

As winter turns rapidly to spring, a number of hazards become prevalent in the steep terrain of the Presidential Range and particularly the Headwall of Tuckerman Ravine. Waterfall holes, glide cracks or crevasses, moats around cliffs and rocks, and other deep holes open as the thick snowpack melts. A fall into these holes, which often […]

Meet your ESAW Presenters: Julie Leblanc

Fellow avalanche forecaster Julie Leblanc comes to us from north of the border and Avalanche Quebec. Serving the Chic-Choc Mountains of Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula, Avalanche Quebec is the only avalanche center in eastern Canada. For those counting, that makes two in eastern North America when combined with the Mount Washington Avalanche Center.

Meet your ESAW presenters: Dr. Elizabeth Burakowski

We’re happy to introduce Dr. Elizabeth Burakowski, coming to ESAW from the University of New Hampshire’s Earth Systems Research Center and Institute for the study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. She will enlighten us on one of her primary projects, Citizen Science Snow Observations. Dr. Burakowski is a climate scientist who uses climate modeling, remote sensing, and ground observations to investigate the interactions among land cover, land use, climate, and society. Accordingly, Liz will also help us understand regional impacts of climate change.

Meet Your ESAW Presenters: Dr. Sam Colbeck

From nearby Lyme, NH, we are pleased to welcome Sam Colbeck back to the Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop. Sam is an Emeritus Researcher and former Senior Research Scientist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover NH.

Meet Your ESAW Presenters: Brian Lazar

We are pleased to introduce Brian Lazar, the Deputy Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center since 2010. Brian has been working in the field of snow and avalanches for the last couple decades. He began backcountry skiing in Colorado as a college student, soon becoming a mountain guide and avalanche course instructor.

Annual Tuckerman Ravine Trail Closure in the Lip

Annual spring snow melt creates significant glide cracks, or crevasses, and undermined snow in the Lip area of Tuckerman Ravine. We close a section of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail where it passes through the Lip as a safety measure. This relatively short section stretches from Lunch Rocks in the Ravine to the junction with the […]

Long Sliding Fall – Right Gully, Tuckerman Ravine

At about 1:00 PM, a climber took a long sliding fall while ascending Right Gully in Tuckerman Ravine. The subject lost their footing on very hard, icy snow and was unable to self-arrest with an ice axe. The fall occurred near the top of Right Gully and the resulting high speed slide was halted below […]

Smarter, Safer Spring Skiing: Part 6

What will they think if I don’t send this line? We all have some desire for Acceptance from our peers, and it often influences the decisions we make. This desire can vary in its source as well as how and when it manifests itself. Inevitably, it helps drive our choices when playing in the mountains. […]

Sick Hiker, 5/11/17

A pair of hikers departed Pinkham Notch headed for the Mount Washington Summit at 9:00 AM. At 3:00 PM, USFS Snow Rangers were notified that the hikers had called 911 via their cell phone. One of the pair was reported to be vomiting and unable to hike, while the other had no reported issues. The […]

Smarter, Safer Spring Skiing: Part 5

A bunch of people already skied it… It’s pretty safe, right? Well, maybe not. We’ve all made decisions based on this logic. A particular slope that you’ve just watched others ski without mishap might be relatively devoid of hazards, but what if those skiers were just lucky? Use of Social Proof to make decisions in […]

Smarter, Safer Spring Skiing: Part 4

It’s late April, low elevation snow is melting fast, and ski areas are closed, or closing soon. For many, this means that it’s Tuckerman Ravine ski season! While weather has been mixed, recently we’ve seen excellent conditions on certain days. Informed decision making remains crucial for enjoyment and relatively safety while scoring big rewards on […]

Smarter, Safer Spring Skiing: Part 2

Scarcity. Snow is our resource, and it’s limited. As introduced last week, our mountain decision making is clouded by heuristic traps. To explain a bit further, “heuristics” are mental shortcuts we all use to process complex situations. They aren’t bad, they’re actually necessary. Mental shortcuts are often necessary in our not-so-simple lives. However, when we’re […]