Tuckerman Ravine has HIGH avalanche danger today. Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely on a variety of slope angles and aspects. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. The Little Headwall is no longer posted due to the lack of snow and open water. READ ON FOR SPECIFICS OF TODAYS AVALANCHE DANGER ISSUES.
A General Advisory is currently issued for Huntington Ravine. We are done issuing daily avalanche forecasts for Huntington for the remainder of the season. You will need to do your own snow stability assessments when using avalanche terrain. A danger of falling ice exists and will persist until it all comes down.
In New England we always have to keep one eye over our shoulders to make sure we don,t get surprised by the return of winter. I hope you have done that because winter,s back yet again with only days away from the beginning May. The NH DOT is reporting 10" (25cm) in Pinkham and Crawford Notches and the summit of Washington picked up 16.3" (41.5cm) melting down to 1.81" (4.6cm) of water as of 7:30 this morning. Hermit Lake received a hair less at 14.5" (37cm) of snow which began very wet and slushy for the first inch covered by a solid foot of consistent drier snow on top. The temperatures up high have fallen to 18F (-8C) overnight making snow lighter in density and more apt to be transported by the current NE wind in the 30-40mph (48-64kph) range. Winds should continue to shift to the N and increase to 55mph (89kph) with lots of gusts punching toward 85mph (137kph) due to an intense pressure gradient later today. Raging conditions will peak tomorrow with winds surpassing the century mark (161kph) as they move to the NW with continued snow. When this system finally moves out out of the area it is possible for it to have left almost 2 feet (60cm) of snow in the higher elevations.
All of this weather will transform the Ravines from spring back to winter as increasing winds will create heavy density slabs over lighter snow creating weak layers near the the interface of the inverted snowpack. Heavier slabs over lighter ones translates into instability and avalanches. As the day progresses expect an increasing avalanche danger as snow instability rises with the shifting and building winds. Expect slopes and gullies facing a southern direction from the Lip back towards Lion Head including the Sluice, Right Gully, and the Lobster Claw to pick up new loading most intensely. As winds move from the NE to the NW these locales will be directly loaded as a number of others become crossloaded. With 16+" (41cm) falling already and an additional 6-10" (15-25cm) by midnight we will sit at the "HIGH" rating in most areas for the day. The S-facing slopes are at their forecasted ratings already with other locations lagging a bit behind. Hillman's and the Lower Snowfields will be last to reach the High rating with avalanches being "likely", but should be there by mid-morning. It's hard to believe the "Extreme" rating would come out this late in the year but there is a distinct possibility we may see it tomorrow depending on how the weather plays out over the next 24 hours. To boil all this down to one concept: We are likely going through a natural avalanche cycle already with instability rising over the next 24 hours. TRAVEL IN AVALANCHE TERRAIN IS NOT RECOMMENDED.
Prior to this snowfall the Ravine was dominated by springtime hazards such as CREVASSES, UNDERMINED SNOW, AND FALLING ICE. Although these still exist they are playing a far second fiddle to today's avalanche danger. You're likely to get buried by an avalanche before you even make it to any of the crevasses. As the snow stops flying we'll revisit our discussion of these hazards.
There is currently no route out of the Ravine through the brook or Little Headwall. Save yourself a lot of time and frustration by taking the hiking trail down to Hermit Lake. The upper third of the John Sherburne Ski Trail is still open, expect to find thin cover and some sections fully melted out. New snow will obscure these issues. For the safety of those hiking up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from Pinkham do not ski on the hiking trail. The Lion Head Winter Route is still open.