April 11, 2024

There was a near-miss 4/9/24, when a skier fell into an undermined hole on Little Headwall area of Tuckerman Ravine and was unable to extricate themself. A separate group of skiers were departing Tuckerman Ravine and chose to descend Little Headwall, terrain and hazards this party knew and understood well.

Upon skiing into the crux, they noticed a pair of skis, pack, and black hole into the snow. They quickly realized that this was a person who had fallen through, had wedged themself temporarily, and was still hanging on. Using a rope and a t-slot anchor made from skis, the two skiers were able to pull the stuck skier out.

This is a common springtime hazard with open waterholes and unsupported snow bridges that may collapse with limited warning signs. Last spring multiple skiers and riders fell into Little Headwall, and while those were all self-rescued there are past accounts of water immersions where individuals have become stuck and needed help. The water running underneath Little Headwall is very cold and skiers/riders that have gone in often display early signs of hypothermia.

Little Headwall is an ephemeral option for exiting Tuckerman Ravine, and being over the Cutler River has exposure to all sorts of hazards. The drainage from Tuckerman Ravine, leading towards the Little Headwall, may look especially inviting as the very large avalanche in Tuckerman Ravine 3/19 or 3/20 ran debris into the entrance and top ⅓ of Little Headwall.

Your best option for leaving Tuckerman Ravine will be down hiking the trail. As it is narrow, there are limited places to turn or stop and in busy conditions it is best to just strap your ski or board to your backpack and walk out.

Hole that skier fell into 4/9/2024

Little Headwall 4/11/2024