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Thread: Mount Washington-Tucks 4/14

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  1. #1
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    Default Mount Washington-Tucks 4/14

    Just got back from an overnight to Hermit Lake. I witnessed both avalanches and luckily did not have to use my probe. Lots to discuss once I get settled in and debriefed on the current storm.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  2. #2
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    Welcome back to the site Bill.

    Glad your safe......

    Avalanche pix?
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  3. #3
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    I arrived at Pinkham Friday afternoon to a very wintry scene. Snow showers in the area but the Pinkham Window was in full effect. After a long debate I decided to leave my skis in the car. With the avalanche conditions skiing options up high looked limited so I just hiked up to enjoy the atmosphere.

    I was the second person up the trail at 7am. Excellent coverage with just a few rocks showing along Tuckerman Ravine Trail. I arrived at Hermit Lake at 830am and unloaded my camping gear in one of the lean-tos. By the time I got back to the cabin the latest avalanche update was posted and the rangers were already standing guard. They were pretty much asking everyone what their plan was to discourage people travelling into dangerous terrain.

    Around 10am I made my way up to the Connection Cache just below the floor of the ravine. The wind was fairly constant at this point and visibility in the bowl was limited. I walked another 100 yards into the floor of the ravine. No surprises up there, avalanche debris covered the entire floor so I didn't linger too long.

    I made my way back to HoJo's to enjoying the improving weather and to watch the skiers making their way across the Lower Snowfield and Hillmans. By noon the wind was winding down and the clouds were dissapating.

    Just after 1230 there was quite a bit of commotion and the radios became very active. Two men came out of the woods and said they just saw a slide carry somebody a long distance down the Lower Snowfield. The rangers and volunteer ski patrol quickly made their way to the debris area while everyone on the deck watched the operation.



    Meanwhile skiers continued higher up Hillmans, most likely they had no idea there was a slide just a few yards away.

    While everyone was watching the first slide area there was another round of commotion. I don't remember hearing anything, but many people described a loud noise. By the time I focused my eyes in the right direction I saw a huge mass of powder surging down the lower part of Hillmans highway.

    With so many people in the area I was thinking a major mountaineering disaster was unfolding. I also knew the rangers and ski patrol would be stretched thin so I joined the volunteer party and made my way to the avalanche site.

    We were held back so Cutler could work the scene for any victims. They didn't want us to contaminate the area with too many scents. Based on interviews with the skiers in the area the rangers decided that there were no victims. Just in case they did a beacon and Recco search. There was still quite a bit unstable of snow above the area so a probe line was not conducted.

    And that was it. It was exciting and fairly haunting. I hope the 150 or so people that saw the slide learned a valuable lesson about Mount Washington. Mainly, they really do have avalanches and they happen on nice sunny days.

    Spent the night in a lean-to and hiked out early Sunday morning.





    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Default Avalanche Terrain

    Awesome stuff Bill! Thanks for posting. I too hope it serves for warning, not just to the people who were there, but also to anyone who may be pondering a trip in there and happens to see this post.
    KDT

  5. #5
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    I'll be wearing my beacon the next time I venture to the White Mountains and there is any possibility of an avalanche.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  6. #6
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    Beautiful pictures. Thanks for the story. I hope folks think hard before heading out into dangerous conditions. Not only do they put themselves in danger but also the rescuers and volunteers trying to help them out of a situation that could have been avoided. Thanks again!

    PS
    Patti

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