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Huge avalanches widen Hillman’s Highway

New Hampshire, USA
Image:
Looking up from the debris side of Hillman Highway at Tuckerman Ravine. (Brian Johnston photo)

SOME OF THE BIGGEST AVALANCHES IN THE 50-YEAR HISTORY
of the Avalanche Center were recorded this winter. The amount of snow this year is phenomenal. North Conway real estate has changed due to huge the slides. “Hillman’s [Highway] is exceptionally large now with a huge run-out zone after the avalanche. There are old trees that used to be there forever which are now gone.” The U.S. Forest Service estimated the trees were more than 70 years old and were snapped off and uprooted. “We’re not only seeing incredibly large avalanches and an increase in avalanche cycles but also activity in areas that haven’t been active in recent winters." Avalanches are possible in snow-covered terrain over 25 degrees, even areas that are covered with moderately spaced trees. Locations below these steep slopes also present a danger as avalanche debris deposits in lower-angled areas referred to as “run-out zones.” Those hiking up from Ho Jo’s into the bowl at Tuck’s are seeing a disconcerting sight. For only the third time in the area’s recorded history, an avalanche recently buried a first-aid cache located on the left, just before you enter the amipitheatre. “It’s a presumed safety area."

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