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View Full Version : Extreme Avalanche Conditions 3/1-3/2



Bill O
03-02-2008, 08:49 PM
I noticed the Mount Washington Avalanche center has issued an extreme avalanche warning. It should be interesting to see what occurred when the weather clears. There is a potential of some long and destructive slides running into places that haven't had activity in decades.

The snow rangers had an interesting discussion about how the Lion Head Winter Route is becoming increasingly exposed to avalanches as the snow pack deepens.

KD Talbot
03-02-2008, 09:08 PM
We turned back on the Osceolas today. Although there were folks ahead of us packing out the trail, there were copious amounts of unconsolidated snow which made the steep sections extremely hard to negotiate. Gain 10 feet, slide back 20 in a huge pile of powder. Of course, we should have had crampons instead of snowshoes, but it didn't occur to us, or several others, that this might be necessary. The wind howled the whole time, blowing snow into the freshly broken trail in a matter of minutes. We could see blowing snow on the top of about everything we could see. When I got home I checked the webcams and sure enough Tuckerman looked like it was in a blizzard and the north slope around the Cog track and the Auto Road was scoured clean. All this loose stuff is now hanging precariously on the eastern slopes, waiting for some trigger to send it sliding down. I'd venture a guess there may be a cornice or two in some places after todays wind.

KDT

Bill O
03-04-2008, 04:56 PM
Check the Connection Cache off the safe list. It was hit by an avalanche sometime over the weekend. The first time since 1969 ( I remember they had some snow on Mount Washington that year). The rangers said the slide was only a few hundred yards from running over the Little Headwall.

Image borrowed below from the copyright free federal government.

http://www.tuckerman.org/photos/tucks/images/2008-03-03%20Jeff%20excavates%20Connection%20Cache%20from% 20avalanche%20debris.jpg

KD Talbot
03-04-2008, 07:05 PM
Can't say I've ever seen it like that! It's amazing to look at that, then read Ryan's comment today that they're 30" under average snowfall on the summit. I can't imagine what 500+" looked like in '69.

KDT

Bill O
03-04-2008, 08:10 PM
Can't say I've ever seen it like that! It's amazing to look at that, then read Ryan's comment today that they're 30" under average snowfall on the summit. I can't imagine what 500+" looked like in '69.

KDT

I wonder what the season totals are like at Hermit Lake or Pinkham?

Of all the data they measure on the summit it seems like snow, not wind, is the most difficult variable to accurately record. The current system has been tested, but its not perfect. Who's to say that the 68-69 system was even less perfect.

Bill O
03-04-2008, 08:12 PM
I wonder if those slides came straight off the headwall. Its incredible if they did because avalanches and rock slides aren't known for carrying long distances across flat terrain.

KD Talbot
03-04-2008, 08:24 PM
Of course I can't say with any certainty, but the right wall of the ravine seems to be the most likely culprit as it is much closer than the headwall.

KDT

Bill O
03-04-2008, 08:35 PM
Of course I can't say with any certainty, but the right wall of the ravine seems to be the most likely culprit as it is much closer than the headwall.

KDT

Must have been. Not only is the headwall very far away any slide would have to go over or around the slight rise that is seen in the above photo.

bclark
03-13-2008, 02:41 PM
I talk to the snow rangers on a fairly regular basis to give them a hand with the weather. I talked to one of them after hearing about this particular avalanche and he said the pictures just don't do it justice. He also mentioned that pretty much the entire headwall just let go and filled the entire bottom of the bowl.

There's a nice picture up on tuckerman.org showing just how full the bottom of the bowl is.

KD Talbot
03-13-2008, 03:44 PM
If it truly was from the headwall, that is just amazing. It's a couple hundred yards from the headwall to that cache. I don't really know any history of avy's in the Bowl, but I wonder how regular of an occurrence one of this magnitude is?

KDT

Brad
03-13-2008, 06:57 PM
It looks like there have been several avalanches in the past month and a half. A couple have been big. It is interesting to go back through the recent Tuckermans ravine pictures on www.tuckermans.org - the changes are amazing.

It looks like we will have snow in the bowl for quite a while this spring.

KD Talbot
03-17-2008, 07:06 PM
I came across this report:

http://www.viewsfromthetop.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21338

Sounds a little hairy. Fortunately no one was injured or worse.

KDT

bclark
03-18-2008, 08:27 AM
I don't really know any history of avy's in the Bowl, but I wonder how regular of an occurrence one of this magnitude is? KDT

It was first time the first aid cache has gotten buried since the winter of '68-'69.

Quoting the USFS avalanche bulliten for March 4, a couple days after the avalanche:

"Well, the obvious evidence is that one of the largest avalanches either Brian or I have ever seen ran on this crust and was unable to step down to anything below. For the record, this slide buried the first aid cache at the entrance to the ravine, and based on broken bits of trees we believe it stopped only 100-125 yards short of running over the Little Headwall! As far as we know, this has happened only two other times, once in 1969 and once in the 1940's."

Impressive stuff. Wish I could have been standing on Lion's Head to see it!