The snow is here in the White Mountains, with more to come!

With the current forecasts from NOAA, it seems as if more snow is on its way! We have been hearing totals of 6"-12" between Saturday and Sunday which is great news for the local ski areas. This may also make the conditions feasible to ski the John Sherburne Ski Trail, as the Hermit Lake Shelter already has a base of 18". I have heard of a few locals this week that have already been out skiing from the shelter down to the third crossover, hopefully with this extra snowfall we will be able to get enough coverage to ski from top to bottom! Please keep in mind that there are still hazards on backcountry ski trails including waterbars, rocks and holes that will be covered up by the recent snowfall. Picture below is courtesy of the National Weather Service in Gray, ME.

For those coming to ice climb this weekend this new snowfall may pose dangers as posted in the current General Avalanche Advisory complied by the United States Forest Service's Snow Rangers that was updated this morning at 9:05 am.
This Wednesday there was 4-6” of new light density snow fell and did not bond well to the cold, hard water ice or the ground, grass or rocks. The new snow today is already falling and is expected to continue at the rate of S-1 snow shower activity yielding 2-4”.

According to the new avalanche advisory; Due to the “upside down” nature, that is dense slabs over lighter ones in the upper snow pack, these slabs may be reactive, even touchy, to human triggering

Reading avalanche reports you may come across jargon especially when it comes to snowfall rates, which is very important to take into consideration during any backcountry trips you will be doing. The most commonly used ones are that you will see throughout the season are;

S-1: Very Light Snowfall; Snow accumulates at a rate of trace to about 0.5cm (~.25 inches)
S1: Light Snowfall;  Snow accumulates at a rate of 1cm an hour (~0.5 inches) per hour
S2: Moderate Snowfall; Snow accumulates at a rate of 2cm (~1.0 inches) per hour
S5: Heavy Snowfall; Snow accumulates at a rate of 5cm (~2.0 inches) per hour
S10: Very Heavy Snowfall; Snow accumulates at a rate of 10cm (~ 4.0 inches) per hour

Some areas in the ravines that are important to be aware of are; Tuckerman Ravine: Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, the Chute and Left Gully areas. Huntington Ravine: Central and Odell Gullies, other smaller snowfields are building in Pinnacle and possibly Yale.
If you are visiting Pinkham Notch be sure to check out the Avalanche Board with the current advisories.

For hiking during the weekend you will definitely need traction devices as the trails are challenging due to water ice, rocks and holes concealed by the light density snow. Microspikes and crampons are necessary for most, if not all, trails. Snowshoes may also be a good thing to bring along this weekend, especially if going on less traveled trails. Keep in mind with fresh snowfall and high winds that there may be some deep snowdrifts in areas.

For those of you coming to ski at some of the local ski areas you are in luck! Wildcat Mountain and Attitash have had great conditions all week and with the cold weather they have also been able to make lots of snow as well. Our nearby nordic skiing areas; Great Glen Trails and Jackson Ski Touring Center are also open, and with the expected snowfall lots more trails will be opening soon! Picture at the very top was taken yesterday at Great Glen. Picture to the bottom right was taken from Attitash yesterday looking northwest.

Go on for the latest weather conditions and be sure to check in with for avalanche bulletins as we now have general advisories in effect!  As always you can check AMC Conditions for the latest report from the snow stakes and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we're seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you! 

The AMC also offers clinics and group trips for ice climbing, skiing, snowshoeing winter mountaineering and avalanche classes. All of our programs for the '13/'14 season can be found on our Activities and Events Page. For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk.  We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM or by email at To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm. We also offer ski and stay packages at our Joe Dodge Lodge and the Highland Center

Happy winter adventuring!

Danielle J.
Backcountry Information Specialist
AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
(603) 466-8116 

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,