Snow’s on the Way…

Mt. Washington and Huntington Ravine from Pinkham Notch, 2.22.2013
It’s sunny and 32 degrees Fahrenheit in Pinkham Notch right now, but the Mt. Washington Observatory ( is forecasting snow for the higher summits of the White Mountains for Saturday afternoon through Sunday, with the National Weather Service ( preliminarily stating that snowfall amounts in excess of 6” is possible.  Winter Storm Q will certainly add a snowy cushion to the current 1-2 ft. of crusty snowpack on the trails in the Whites.  Given the forecasted conditions, snowshoes are recommended for all trails this weekend, in addition to crampons and an ice axe for steeper terrain including the Lion Head Winter Route.  

Square Ledge Trail 2.22.2013
Ski conditions are already fabulous in the Mt. Washington Valley, with Wildcat ( and Attitash ( currently open with 110 trails and 517 acres of skiable terrain between the two resorts, with more snow on the way!  Backcountry ski trails have a solid 1-2 ft. base, although a crusty layer exists below the freshly fallen snow of this past week, a lesson I learned while skiing the lower section of the Mt. Langdon Trail on Tuesday.  If heading to the John Sherburne Ski Trail, the Gulf of Slides Ski Trail, or other backcountry ski runs in the Whites, I encourage you to be cautious of this crusty layer of snow beneath any fresh snow accumulation.  
The Lost Pond Trail kiosk is getting buried!

New snow will also change the avalanche dynamic on the Presidential Range, so checking the Avalanche Advisory from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center ( is an important step for safe travel before heading into avalanche terrain.  The most-recent weather from the Mt. Washington Observatory, the Avalanche Advisory, gear, and trail-information is available at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, which is open every day from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM.  You can also call the AMC Trails Desk at (603) 466-8116 during our hours of operation, or email your question to and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.

Avalanche Board 2.22.2013

If you’re looking for trailside lodging in the Whites so you can be out early this weekend, consider staying at AMC’s Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, the Highland Center in Crawford Notch, or any of our three backcountry winter huts (Carter Notch, Zealand Falls, and Lonesome Lake).  Don’t hesitate to give our Reservations Department a call at (603) 466-2727 Monday through Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.  

The Appalachian Trail near Joe Dodge Lodge, Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire 2.22.2013

Happy Trails!  I’ll see you on the mountain…


Cormac N. Griffin
Backcountry Information Specialist
Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
Appalachian Mountain Club
Gorham, New Hampshire 03581
(603) 466-8116

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