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john_hilgeman
03-08-2005, 02:03 PM
I'm planning on heading up washington this weekend. As there may be some new snowfall, I was wondering if anyone could tell me what areas present avalance danger along the lions head trail. Are trancievers necessary?

Halite
03-08-2005, 02:08 PM
The following link will give you some information on current conditions in the area:

http://www.tuckerman.org/avalanche/

john_hilgeman
03-08-2005, 02:30 PM
thanks for that link - it's a good resource. I am looking at the topo and it shows the lions head ascending a ridge. It appears that the only potential exposure to avalanche terrain is at the bottom of the ridge. How about above treeline? is anyone familiar with a history of avalances in this area, or is it relatively safe?

DougPaul
03-08-2005, 03:07 PM
The following link will give you some information on current conditions in the area:

http://www.tuckerman.org/avalanche/

Also at http://www.mountwashington.org/avalanche/index.html.

These links give conditions for the ravines, only a side comment or two about Lion's Head. I don't recall any hazard evaluations of the Lion's Head route.

There have been avalanches on Lion's head--one in the late 60's or early 70's (also in a heavy snow year) crossed the Tuckerman trail (road) below. Also, more recently two SAR searchers were caught in a slab avalanche on the Lion's Head trail. One was killed.

So, while avalanches are not common on Lion's Head, they do occur.

Doug

TCD
03-08-2005, 03:40 PM
I've only done Lion's Head in Winter once, many years ago. But I remember a spot, shortly after you climb up onto the ridge, where the route traverses left to right across the base of a decent sized snowfield.

For the most detailed info, contact the Ranger.

DougPaul
03-08-2005, 04:57 PM
I've only done Lion's Head in Winter once, many years ago. But I remember a spot, shortly after you climb up onto the ridge, where the route traverses left to right across the base of a decent sized snowfield.

For the most detailed info, contact the Ranger.

The winter route changes from year to year. (The summer route is not suitable for winter because it traverses above a cliff.)

Doug

linehant
03-08-2005, 06:26 PM
>>I was wondering if anyone could tell me what areas present avalance danger along the lions head trail....<<

Given the proper conditions, a slide can occur on almost any slope, though some are more prone to avalanching than others.

As noted in another post, there is a sizeable snow field on Lion's Head just above tree-line. Two climbers returning from Huntington via Lion Head triggered and were caught in a slide there either last season or the season before. Fortunately they were not injured. So, yes, Lion's Head can and DOES slide - even the winter route.

Presumably the summit cone might also be subject to avalanche.


>> Are trancievers necessary? <<

If you're asking whether or not you are REQUIRED to wear a transceiver up there, the answer is no.

TMax
03-08-2005, 06:44 PM
With all the above being said, Lion Head is considered the "safest" winter route up Washington. Check in with folks at Pinkham Notch when you get there and the avalanche posting at the trailhead to get good up to the minute info. I've climbed this route often and know from experience that you'll need crampons... I'll be on Lion Head (weather permitting!) on Saturday. Maybe I'll see ya there!

giggy
03-08-2005, 07:35 PM
yes - this can avalanche. But in reality - I think it is pretty rare - I was actually wondering if it did a couple of weeks ago when they got the big snow up there - when the ravines were all extreme.


weather permitting - I am planning to be on it as well.

forestgnome
03-09-2005, 05:25 AM
With all the above being said, Lion Head is considered the "safest" winter route up Washington. Check in with folks at Pinkham Notch when you get there and the avalanche posting at the trailhead to get good up to the minute info. I've climbed this route often and know from experience that you'll need crampons... I'll be on Lion Head (weather permitting!) on Saturday. Maybe I'll see ya there!

I think Boott Spur would be the safest route.
Good advise on checking at Pinkham Notch because that is fresh info at the time of your hike. Also, check in at Hermit Lake Shelter. It's a short distance out of the way, and you'll get a pretty view of your surroundings, which are among the most magical. :)

spider solo
03-09-2005, 06:45 AM
While doing the Ammonoosuc side of the mountain is possible , it has also become the noisiest side of the mountain. You may want to take that into consideration when deciding.

DougPaul
03-09-2005, 10:47 AM
I think Boott Spur would be the safest route.
Good advise on checking at Pinkham Notch because that is fresh info at the time of your hike. Also, check in at Hermit Lake Shelter. It's a short distance out of the way, and you'll get a pretty view of your surroundings, which are among the most magical. :)

Boot Spur Tr may be relatively safe from avalanche, but it is long, very exposed to the weather and has no good escape routes. It has one short section which is steep enough to avalanche, but the snow is likely to be blown away.

Boot Spur Tr (from Pinkham) does not go by Hermit Lake Shelter. Boot Spur Link does, but the link goes up an avalanche prone slope. Boot Spur Tr is less likely to be broken than is Lion Head.

If conditions are good, Boot Spur Tr is a very nice route. So is Lion Head.

Walking up the auto road is also relatively safe from avalanche, but it is also long and exposed to the weather.

Doug

dave.m
03-09-2005, 10:48 AM
As noted in another post, there is a sizeable snow field on Lion's Head just above tree-line. Two climbers returning from Huntington via Lion Head triggered and were caught in a slide there either last season or the season before. Fortunately they were not injured. So, yes, Lion's Head can and DOES slide - even the winter route.


Is there an incident report on this on-line somewhere?

linehant
03-09-2005, 03:13 PM
>>Is there an incident report on this on-line somewhere? <<

Likely not. No rescuers were summoned as the individuals involved were able to extract themselves.

Mark
03-09-2005, 03:36 PM
The winter route changes from year to year. ...

Doug
Does it?

.....

john_hilgeman
03-09-2005, 03:40 PM
anyone planning on going up there this weekend? weather's not looking too good...

David Metsky
03-09-2005, 03:59 PM
Does it?

.....
I don't believe the winter route changes every year. It did change a few years back after late fall rains washed out a section of the old Winter Route. When that happened a new Winter Route was set out, but I don't think it has changed since.

-dave-

DougPaul
03-09-2005, 04:28 PM
The winter route changes from year to year.

Sorry--worded badly. I don't believe it is changed every year--just every now and then as conditions warrent.

The most important point is that one cannot count on it being the same as the last time one traveled the trail.

After the the late 60s-early 70s avalanche, the route went up the avalanche path, but as it grew in it was moved. It looks like it has been moved at least once since then.

Doug

vermonthiker
03-09-2005, 04:48 PM
Here is a link that mentions at least one incident, although it looks like it was on the Summer route.

http://www.csac.org/Incidents/1995-96/NH-010596

As the saying goes, "if the snow field is large enough to recreate on, it is large enough to avalanche."

Awareness is your best defense.

Also, this quote is from the mountwashington.org site

"NOTE that, as the snowpack increases through the winter, the avalanche danger on this section of the Lion Head Trail also can increase. People have died in avalanches on Lion Head. Once the snowpack reaches a certain depth, the Forest Service strongly encourages climbers to use the Lion Head "Winter Route", which is not entirely free of avalanche hazard, but which generally has less hazard than the standard "summer route" of the Lion Head Trail. (When the "changeover" occurs, the green-on-white trail signs on the lower section of the "summer route" are removed, and the black-on-orange signs on the lower section of the "Winter Route" are put up."


fyi...The link below has images of portions of the winter route.

http://www.angio.net/~reagan/mitoc-wash.html

sierra
03-09-2005, 07:57 PM
The current Lions Head winter route was staked out due to avalanches on the summer route, I cannot remember when exactly it was layed out, but it has been in the same place since then.