Still Plenty of Snow in the White Mountains!

Tuckerman Ravine and Mt. Washington 4.5.2013
There's still plenty of snow in the White Mountains if you're headed up to New Hampshire this weekend!  Indeed, there are winter conditions at all of the higher elevations, including Tuckerman Ravine, Huntington Ravine, and of course, Mt. Washington.  The Mount Washington Observatory (www.mountwashington.org) forecasts high winds in the 60-80 mph range for early Saturday, but decreasing to 35-50 mph in the afternoon.  Skies will be clearing as Saturday progresses, although Sunday's forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calls for snow showers likely after 1 pm and winds gusting up to 75 mph.  Make sure to cover up if you're headed above treeline to prevent frostbite, even in April!

If you're planning to ski in Tuckerman Ravine or down any other steep backcountry terrain this weekend, reading the Avalanche Advisory from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center (www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org) is one vital step to take before heading into avalanche terrain.  The Avalanche Advisory is posted daily by the US Forest Service Snow Rangers for both Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines, and can be read online, at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, at Hermit Lake Shelters, and at Harvard Cabin.  Winter conditions still exist in Tuckerman, as indicated by a human-triggered avalanche which occurred in the Lower Snowfields yesterday, a slide which could easily have turned out much worse for the individual who set it off.  Bringing a transceiver (beacon), a probe, and a shovel is always a good idea, as well as crampons and an ice axe for ascending gullies which you intend to ski down.  Hermit Lake Shelters and the Pinkham Notch parking lot both stand to fill-up early on both Saturday and Sunday, so getting to the trailhead early will certainly give you a leg up on the traffic headed up to the bowl.

Close-up of Tuckerman Ravine 4.5.2013
The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is still well-packed snow all the way to the Pinkham Notch parking lot, so either skinning up the trail or using Microspikes is the recommended way up to Tuckerman Ravine or to the Lion Head Winter Route if you're ascending Mt. Washington on foot.  The John Sherburne and Gulf of Slides Ski Trails are covered top-to-bottom and are both skiing great!
Falcon Cliff (A.K.A. Upper Frankenstein Cliff) 4.2.2013

Trails at lower elevations in the Whites will have varying conditions, so bringing your full arsenal of footwear will definitely be beneficial.  Conditions near the trailhead may be muddy, and as you progress, a "monorail" of dense snow in the center of the trail will be flanked on both sides by an increasingly rotten snowpack susceptible to postholing.  Snowshoes will help you stay afloat and also provide added stability on this monorail, and will be necessary on unbroken trails.  Microspikes and/or crampons may be your footwear of choice towards the peaks, as the snowpack will be much more solid as you rise above 3,000 ft.    
The Willey House site in Crawford Notch 4.2.2013

Please don't hesitate to give AMC's Trails Information line a call at (603) 466-8116 from 6:30 AM - 10:00 PM for the latest weather, the daily Avalanche Advisory, and suggestions for hikes of any and all abilities, or send us an email at amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org with your questions.  Consider staying trail-side at one of AMC's lodges in Pinkham Notch or Crawford Notch, or at one of our three backcountry winter huts by calling our Reservations Department at (603) 466-2727 Monday through Saturday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Have a safe and fun weekend.  I'll see you in the mountains!
Ice at Frankenstein Cliffs 4.2.2013

Mac

Cormac N. Griffin
AMC Trails Information
Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
Appalachian Mountain Club
(603) 466-8116
amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org






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