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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tuckerman Ravine is feeling and skiing like spring these days! The winter weather of the past few weeks has subsided, at least temporarily. Warmer temperatures, a more stable snowpack, and frequent blue skies might even engender feelings of familiarity with the terrain, the snow and the crowds in the Bowl. Unfortunately, familiarity with your environment […]

Social media has been alive and bristling with opinions on last weekend’s avalanche cycle. Rather than join that fray, on social media anyway, I thought I would share a few thoughts here from the perspective of an avalanche forecaster, former guide, and rescuer. Friday night, March 31, we received 12 inches of snow on light […]

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 […]

What’s the point of spring skiing in Tuckerman Ravine? Well, if I’m not mistaken, it’s to have fun! Weather, snow conditions, and our steep terrain often come together this time of year to create a legendary ski experience. Tomorrow marks the start of April, the first full month of spring, but is it “game on” […]

Last month we had a two significant accidents on Mount Washington. Both utilized air transport based on life threatening injuries.  Following a month in the hospital recovering, one of the victims sent us a thank you email which launched a great conversation about risk, managing desires, and evaluating hazards and consequences.  Below is the thread […]

This post is directed at leaders, particularly anyone who is leading, teaching, or guiding a group into Huntington Ravine. I’ve been working on Mt. Washington for the last 14 years, and during this time I’ve seen changes in how people hike, climb, and ski. A lot of these changes are moving in positive directions, but […]

The top of the Sherburne is a little better than what you’ll see in this video, but not by much. The upper trail is very hard icy snow and less water ice. [youtube]wkcYHmtZe9Y[/youtube]  

…hasty crown profile. The 40m long crown, 35-40cm thick hard slab (P) had a soft layer (F) beneath from the 8 inches we received earlier in the week which was on top of the melt-freeze crust. Though much of Tuckerman and Huntington is scoured down to this boilerplate crust, lots of slabs similar but larger than this one in the photos below are lurking around in the Ravines…

Helon and I got up into Tuckerman early this morning and were treated to the sight of two fresh piles of avalanche debris and one older pile. With our avalanche eyeballs wide open, we welcome the arrival of the 2015-2016 avalanche season. The recent slides were likely from overnight or early this morning, as they were […]

Snowfall totals as of 8:00am, January 13: Pinkham Notch 7-8″ Hermit Lake 7.5″ Mt. Washington Summit 6.1″ For more locations, the NWS publishes a public information statement spotter report or take a look at CoCoRaHS. I had a little more than 5″ at my home in Conway this morning. It’s been a lackluster start to […]

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 […]

One of the greatest and saddest things in life is having a dog. They look to you with all their heart and then they leave us when the bond is strongest.  “Cutler” came into my life as an 8 week old puppy and left 14 years and 1 month later.  Many believe their dogs are […]

I took a walk up the Lion Head Trail today to see how close we are to being able to switch from the Winter Route to the summer trail. It’s going to be some time yet due to the amount of snow still sitting on the traverse at treeline.

We’ve moved to recommending the hiking trail as the best descent route from the Bowl. Here’s a short video showing the conditions of the Little Headwall. The streambed up above, from the floor to Connection Cache, is completely melted out. This means you can’t get from the bowl to the Little Headwall without using the […]

Thanks to the large amount of messages we have received answering our request for Weekend Update feedback.  Specifically, your thoughts about us discontinuing the Friday blog style product.  We are still evaluating all the responses to decide if we will provide this tool next fall and winter. However, we have decided to return it for […]

Over the last 24 hours or so, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the events that took place yesterday. There are a variety of pieces to this puzzle, so in this post I want to simply describe what took place from my perspective. Perhaps soon I’ll talk about the rest of the day’s events, […]

The date does not escape my attention. March 29, 2014 was the day of an unusual and large avalanche on the summit cone of Mt. Washington, narrowly missing several groups of hikers and skiers. On March 29, 2015, several avalanches occurred on Mt. Washington and Mt. Monroe. Four of these were human triggered. Only one […]

In this morning’s advisory I wrote briefly about the decision making of two individuals who skied the Lip Saturday afternoon. I’d like to expand on this commentary, in order to provide a little more context, but primarily because I think what I observed is unfortunately too common, yet easy to avoid these same behavior patterns. […]

Here we are again at the start of another winter storm. If you listen to what people are saying about the snow, you can pretty quickly tell whether or not they see this as a blessing or a curse. Personally, I love it. I remember a year in my hometown of Oswego NY where it […]

It may be Super Bowl Sunday, but this is a notable time of the year for reasons unrelated to football. To me, it marks the rough halfway point of the winter. Sure, it’s not exactly halfway, but it’s close enough especially if you separate out the spring ski season from the winter season. So tonight, […]

As promised, this morning, I have a some opinions to share on the Patriots game but I will spare those who don’t enjoy the topic until the end of the post. For now, let’s dig into some current weather. The most interesting thing currently, at least for us, is the oddball wind today which apparently […]

We have recently decided to stop writing Weekend Updates during the winter months. For more information, about why please see this Weekend Update post.  We are collecting comments and data to decide whether or not to resume this product for the late March-May spring ski season.  Please consider giving us some feedback and comments in the […]

Often when an avalanche incident takes place, or other search and rescue for that matter, the information that we have available to us changes over time. In some cases, we want to get information out to the public before we have the complete picture of what actually happened. This is exactly how the latest avalanche […]

Each year we grapple with the question of when to start posting avalanche advisories for the Cutler River drainage and this year is no different. We see storms on the horizon and check out bed surface sizes and then discuss the pro and cons of starting to post advisories. Typically MWAC starts out by posting a General Advisory […]

Image of debris field from near the toe of the avalanche 2 images overlaid to better understand the size with respect to Tuckerman Ravine.

On March 29, 2014, USFS Snow Rangers received a radio call from the Harvard Mountaineering Club caretaker that a large avalanche occurred on the Southeast slope of the “Summit Cone” of Mount Washington. Weather conditions on this Saturday were in and out of the clouds with temperatures around 30F . Being the first nice day after […]

For those who have never visited Tuckerman Ravine, here is a short introduction to the types of weather that you’re likely to encounter. Everything from bright bluebird days to stormy wind driven snow can be found here. If you look carefully you can even see people walking around. These images were made at 5 minute […]

UPDATE 3/8/2014: Thanks to everyone who has responded to this outreach effort. We are still looking for a sign maker (see PDF below), but the other opportunities have been filled. If you have a desire to help out in the White Mountain National Forest, we are always looking for good people. At the Androscoggin District, […]

Companion Rescue-Beyond the Basics An annoted version of the PowerPoint presentation from February 8, 2014.

We are currently doing some upgrades to our hosting and website. Our priority is to keep the advisory coming out each and every day. In order to make some of these changes happen we have temporarily removed the sidebar that contained the latest photos from Tuckerman and Huntington Ravine. We will be posting photos here […]

June – uary 13, 2014 Yale Gully wet avalanche debris. 1-11-2014   Pinnacle Gully in thin midwinter condition  

A couple quick videos shot on Christmas Eve in the Bowl.

Wet Slabs are a both a regular occurrence for us and a challenging avalanche problem.  After a very wet day on the mountain I went home looking forward to getting into some cotton.  While pulling into the driveway I glanced over to a pole barn I am building which isn’t quite done yet.  I saw […]

See the attached schedule for a series of talks this winter by Jeff Lane (or another Snow Ranger if he’s deathly ill) on Saturdays at International Mountain Equipment in North Conway.  We have scheduled 4 talks, one a month from December through March, at 7pm upstairs on the second floor above the main store.  Should […]

Friends of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center is have their “WINTER CHILL” fundraiser on the Seacoast-Portsmouth this Saturday 12/14 from 1 to 5pm. Head out and support a good cause-you!  The support we get from FOMWAC makes our products better and gives us more resources to improve our services- for you.  If you don’t leave […]

Une section du sentier du Tuckerman Ravine est présentement fermé à toutes les activités.  

There was an unexpected avalanche in the Lip area today. In all honesty, I’m more than a little humbled by what happened, so I thought I’d do a quick post to let you know what happened, but also to provide some insight from my own perspective. I’m always amazed by the dynamics of avalanches, and […]

 Thanks to the Mount Washington Observatory and particularly Rebecca for putting together this discussion on Upslope Snow.  We asked her to do a short piece on the subject after her stellar presentation at the Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop.  Rebecca has been working on the summit for several years and is very quickly becoming the […]

Every year the USFS Snow Rangers, Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, and AMC caretakers get a front row seat to the action in Tuckerman Ravine. Through the years, we’ve seen a lot. At best, we see talented skiers and riders making the even the hardest runs look easy. But much of the good stuff that […]

Over the last several years we have seen an increasing number of avalanche related close calls involving skiers and climbers.  Between better equipment and getting out more during the midwinter avalanche season, incidents have been increasing.  Of the different accidents that we routinely deal with, I believe avalanche accidents will slowly increase as part of […]

At about a quarter to five on Saturday, I called over to Dave, the AMC caretaker, to see if he was coming over for the traditional springtime spaghetti dinner. During the call he asked if I’d seen the dog stuck up high in the Lip area. Sure enough, through the binoculars from the cabin I […]

At the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, we recommend periodic comprehensive inspections of your safety equipment. For us and for the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol, this includes all of our avalanche safety gear, as well as helmets, harnesses, ropes and slings, crampons, ice axes, etc. When it comes to avalanche gear, transceivers are a critical […]

In the 24 hours ending this morning we picked up 7.2″ of low density snow.  It was loaded in on a building wind from the NW from about 26mph at noon on Thursday.  Through the day and into the overnight winds increased and were gusting to 70mph this morning after 530am.  We arrived to see only some […]

Stay tuned coming soon in the Pit will be “Got Upslope #2” by our partners on the mountain.  The Mount Washington Observatory summit crew know our local weather like no others and are excited to help us discuss and learn about upslope snow.  We look forward to it!!

Upslope Snow? Orographic Snow? Tr-2”? Anyway you name it a northwesterly flow and a little bit of valley moisture produces the often discussed “ 1-3” today, trace-2” tonight, and 1-3” tomorrow”.  Upslope snow and its ability to drop several inches of low density snow in a day keeps us on our toes.  Couple 3-4 inches […]

Mount Washington Observatory staff member Samantha Brady stopped by today and shared some compiled photos she had taken during her trips up to Tuckerman.  I liked the side by side comparison and thought it would be a good post to compare a good snow year to some recent photos. So here you go. The photo […]

Next time you come up to Hermit Lake, you might notice something looks a little different. This morning we installed a roof over the avalanche slatboards. These signs were constructed and installed a couple years ago, to replace the aging old signs that had been here for decades. We want to protect them from the […]

Attached is a video of a training session with a 15 month old chocolate lab who is being trained and evaluated for use as an avalanche search dog.  As many of you who have visited Hermit Lake this year may have noticed, she is still very much a puppy.  Lily lives with me and my […]

Jeff and I went looking for pockets of instability in Tuckerman Ravine on February 5 when we had a Low hazard rating.  Just after shooting the video, we climbed around, considering overhead hazards, looking and finding pockets of instability that could be triggered by a person on foot.  We cut the legs out from under […]