Winter is Here in the Whites!

Monday morning the skies cleared up for the first time in a week in Tuckerman Ravine!

Sunrise with beautiful undercast in the valley
The past few weeks we have gone through quite the change in temperatures, and we are back to below freezing temperatures which have been great for our ice and snow conditions. This past weekend a cold front came in and has continued to stay, which has been great for brooks and rivers to freeze again, allowing for better travel on many of the trails around Pinkham Notch. We also received snow this weekend in the mountainous areas, which made for some great backcountry skiing the past couple of days!

Looking back on the Sherbie

Monday morning I decided to take a sunrise skin up to the Hermit Lake Shelter, although I was not able to capture the beautiful alpenglow in the ravine, the sunrise from the east was spectacular! The skinning conditions on Monday have greatly improved from when I had skied a few days prior as the waterbars have frozen and filled in quite nicely, making for nice traveling without worrying about getting water on your skins. The John Sherburne aka "Sherbie" ski trail is in good condition, a few areas that have some exposed sections, but still good coverage overall. Make sure to look back on your ski down as there are some fantastic views looking back towards Hillman's Highway, Dodge's Drop and Duchess. There are some great backcountry skiing resources out there, my favorite book is the Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast by David Goodman. This covers 50 classic ski tours in New England and New York.

Rime ice in Tuckerman Ravine with undercast looking at Wildcat
The hiking conditions on the Tuckerman ravine trail are packed down with areas of ice, so light traction devices such as microspikes are helpful. The Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail in the bowl is closed so currently the Lion's Head Summer Trail is open in order to hike to the summit. Microspikes and snowshoes are recommended and crampons and mountaineering axes are strongly recommended for any travel above treeline.
Cross country skiing is also great here up in the notch on our backcountry ski trails as well as at Great Glen, and guests staying at the Joe Dodge Lodge receive a free skiing voucher!

With the forecast of snow over the next few days please make sure to read the avalanche board here at Pinkham Notch, it will be updated daily as well as the Mount Washington Avalanche Center conditions and advisory report which is compiled daily by the United States Forest Service Snow Rangers. These advisories are updated usually between 8am and 9am. If you are getting an early start you can always get the updated avalanche reports from the caretakers at the Hermit Lake shelter as well as at the Harvard Cabin. If you are coming to the notches to climb and do winter mountaineering a great resource for up to date conditions and route advice is through NEice.
  The AMC also offers and hosts clinics and group trips for ice climbing, avalanche certifications and winter mountaineering. All of our programs for the '14/'15 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.

Happy Winter Adventuring
Danielle J.
Backcountry Information Specialist

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