It's Still Winter in the Whites

New Snow on Wildcat Mountain 3.20.2013
Winter's still holding on in the White Mountains even though Spring is officially here!  With over a foot of new snow on Tuesday and Wednesday covering a solid two-foot snowpack, the trails are once again in great condition for winter hiking.  Snowshoes are recommended for all unbroken trails in the Whites this weekend, while Microspikes or other forms of light traction are your best bet for popular short trails and for the well-packed Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Hermit Lake Shelters or to the the base of the Lion Head Winter Route.  Crampons and an ice axe are vital pieces of equipment for the Lion Head Winter Route up to Mt. Washington and for all other steep terrain in the region, including ascent routes in Tuckerman Ravine which you intend to ski down.

Avalanche Board 3.22.2013
Although the new snow has certainly provided a much-needed boost to our snowpack, backcountry skiing and ice climbing should be done with caution in Tuckerman Ravine, Huntington Ravine, and any other high-angle backcountry destination, including but not limited to the Gulf of Slides, Ammonoosuc Ravine, Oakes Gulf, and the Great Gulf as hazards still exist beneath the fresh snow in the form of trees and rocks while strong winds forecasted in the 70-90 mph range for tonight and tomorrow will certainly create avalanche-prone windslabs.  The current Avalanche Danger rating is MODERATE in Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines, which means that natural avalanches are unlikely and human-triggered avalanches are possible.  The Avalanche Advisory from the US Forest Service's Mount Washington Avalanche Center comes out daily at around 8:30 AM and can be read at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, Hermit Lake Shelters, Harvard Cabin, or online at and is one vital tool for safe travel in avalanche terrain in addition to an avalanche beacon (transceiver), a probe, and a shovel.  Every Friday the Mount Washington Avalanche Center also issues a Weekend Update, which will give anyone heading into avalanche terrain this weekend a better idea of what to expect in Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines.  Lower-angle backcountry ski runs including the John Sherburne, Avalanche Brook, Black Mountain, and Doublehead Ski Trails all have great top-to-bottom coverage, although drainages are being undermined by running water and should be crossed with care.

Tuckerman Ravine Trailhead 3.22.2013
Weather for the weekend will be windy with a chance of snow showers both days.  The Mount Washington Observatory ( is calling for winds from the NW at 65-85 mph with higher gusts for tonight, and ramping up to 70-90 mph with higher gusts for tomorrow.  Wind chills will be 25-35 below 0 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow, so please cover up all exposed skin and bring eye protection to prevent frostbite if heading above treeline.  With the potential for low visibility, a map and compass will be essential items for route-finding and staying on-trail this weekend.

Mt. Adams and Mt. Madison 3.18.2013
Stop by the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center  before you head out this weekend for the most up-to-date trail and weather information, we're open from 6:30 AM - 9:00 PM everyday.  You can also grab breakfast or lunch, trail snacks, maps, guides, and last-minute gear you may have forgotten before hitting the trail.  Consider staying at one of AMC's roadside lodges in the Whites (Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch or the Highland Center in Crawford Notch) or one of our three self-service backcountry winter huts (Carter Notch, Zealand Falls, and Lonesome Lake) for trail access outside your door, just give our Reservations Department a call at (603) 466-2727 Monday through Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Have a fun and safe weekend out there!  I'll see you on the mountain,


Backcountry Information Specialist
Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
Appalachian Mountain Club
(603) 466-8116

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