Back on April 25th, 2009, recent snow and warm temperatures brought many to hike up to Tuckerman Ravine in New Hampshire. Many weren’t prepared for the unstable conditions that day, leading to a couple of avalanches. One such instance was when a snowboarder got engulfed in an avalanche and decided to straight-line it down the slope. As some pointed out following the incident, the snowboarder was not smart to try to escape this way. Experts recommend going to the side and jumping upslope under these circumstances. What was also alarming was the fact that the crowds at the base of Tucks were cheering after an avalanche had occurred. Luckily, no injuries were reported from the incident.
The individual who claimed to be part of the avalanche posted the following on the Views from the Top internet forum:
“Saturday I hiked up to the summit with my roommate to enjoy some record temps at the summit, it hit 56 at 6288ft… The East Snowfields were buttery soft and untracked lines were plentiful. Traversed over to The Bowl, hiked up a bit to get over to Center Headwall. Took the line between two boulders and I started hammering turns down at a pretty good speed, snow was fairly smooth still so things seemed easy. I made it to below the rocks before my routine run changed…
At this point, I felt the whole slope give way and start groaning underneath me. I realized quickly I had just touched off an avy and my first instinct was, “Oh $h*t, just point it.” I was able to stay on my feet for a hundred feet or so as the snow was breaking all around me, thinking I might beat it. But it had me and soon I was on my ass “paddling” back, just focusing on keeping my board downhill and myself on top of everything, then back on my feet before falling right at the end. At a certain point before coming to rest, I realized I would end up OK and actually started to enjoy it a bit, crazy, I know. At the time of the slide, I was riding with a foam big hand on, which also ended up safe on top.
The Lunch Rocks erupted into a cheer, hopefully, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. Fortunately, it was a pretty shallow fracture only 8-12 inches maybe tops and the runout was clear of rocks and cliffs… A number of people in the rocks told me I was the highlight of the day, I told them, “I planned the whole thing. Yeah right….:D”
Recently, two other videos of the incident emerged showing the scenes from that day. As always, even on low-risk days (like it is currently), it’s best to be prepared for avalanches, bring the proper gear, and ride with a buddy. In the later season, there are still various risks to keep an eye out for. According to the Mount Washington Avalanche Center report from yesterday, some of the hazards include long sliding falls due to the melt/freeze cycles, Glide cracks and waterfall holes, icefall due to rising temperatures, and undermined snow from meltwater flowing beneath. A part of the Tuckerman Ravine trail, from Lunch Rock to the top of the Headwall, is currently closed as well due to these risks.