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Renting an AT set-up to skin up to Tuckerman Ravine

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I've hiked up to Tuckerman Ravine (in New Hampshire) twice with skis on my back, but the weight of the pack with skis and boots is getting difficult for me to carry.  (I'm getting old!)  So I'm considering renting skis with AT bindings and skins next month so I can skin up at least to HoJo's, about a 2 1/2 mile uphill haul.  That leaves a shorter distance for hauling the heavy skis and boots on my back beyond HoJo's, up into the Ravine itself.

 

I have never used skins nor AT bindings.  Should I expect leg cramps if I don't spend some time going uphill on these bindings in my ski boots before the actual walk up to Tucks?   I'm trying to figure out whether I need to rent the skis before I do the real hike, just to familiarize my calves with the repetitive movement in ski boots.  

 

Have others done this or something like it cold turkey with no bad results?  I don't relish the thought of severe cramps along the way, but have no way of knowing how difficult the movement pattern is for skinning up with free heels in ski boots.  I will have skied downhill this season about 55 days by the time I do this trek up to the Ravine.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

post #2 of 23

Two tips that helped me a lot:

Lead each step by moving your hips. Like you are walking with a cinder block on each foot.

Keep your ski on the ground. Slide it forward without lifting it off the snow.

 

That said, I did a 6 mile tour with 2500' of vert. in Idaho 4 days ago and my left big toe is still shouting at me with a dull throb. Not a toenail issue as it hurts on the meaty bottom. Got to figure that one out.

post #3 of 23

Here's a few tips that I put together for a blog:

http://blog.sdcmountainworks.com/2008/10/13/whoo-hoo/

 

Hope it's of some help.

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice.  I guess I should expect some aches and pains, since this will be a new experience.

 

I checked out the blog, Bob.  You say you put your boots in walk mode:  "Keep your boots loose, especially the top buckles, so that you aren’t fighting them while going up. I put my boots into the “walk” mode so that I can have a freer stride."

 

I only have alpine boots; no walk mode.  

Should I anticipate any problems?

post #5 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

...I only have alpine boots; no walk mode.  

Should I anticipate any problems?


I don't know - I've never skinned in alpine boots.  I would imagine you can expect some restriction of motion, but you'll survive.  smile.gif

 

post #6 of 23

I like Bob's page about skinning.  Good stuff there.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

I only have alpine boots; no walk mode.  

Should I anticipate any problems?


Yes. Skinning any distance in alpine boots is very unpleasant. Flats are actually worse than skinning up a climb IMO. Anticipate blisters on both heels the size of silver dollars that pop 2 miles into your trek.

 

 

Suggest taping your heels (fulyl covering the heel and perhaps around the ankle so it won't come off) in addition -- perhaps a 2nd liner sock / pantyhoes.
 

 


Edited by tromano - 3/29/11 at 6:39am
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

I like Bob's page about skinning.  Good stuff there.

 

Quote:


Yes. Skinning any distance in alpine boots is very unpleasant. Flats are actually worse than skinning up a climb IMO. Anticipate blisters on both heels the size of silver dollars that pop 2 miles into your trek.

 

 

Suggest taping your heels (fulyl covering the heel and perhaps around the ankle so it won't come off) in addition -- perhaps a 2nd liner sock / pantyhoes.
 

 

 

That decides it.  Thanks for this very graphic description. It's fully convinced me.  I'm not doing it.  

I've hiked up there before with everything on my back; I can do it again.  The business of renting something so I could skin up was to make it easier, not more torturous.  

Thanks everyone.

 

 

post #8 of 23

LiquidFeet,

 

I just did a tour up there in AT bindings (Fritchi's)  in alpine boots while taking an avy class. I put duct tape on the bottom of each foot in the arch area where I'd had blisters before whle skinning. On Saturday we skinned up the GOS trail. I started getting a blister under the arch of my left foot before I had gone two miles. Before too long I started getting a twin on the other foot, same basic area. I know you've pretty much decided not to do it but I can tell you it can be done. I've gotten blisters each time I've skinned. Moleskin on the areas that get iritated or possibly a very thin, slippery sock close to the skin with a second sock over it may help. If you ever choose to do it, go for a short tour first to find your problem areas. Then tape the daylights out of the affected areas. If you start getting sore spots...STOP and fix them instead of pressing on. During the course I had to keep up and didn't take the time to address the issues as they popped up....no pun intended. The worst part was day 2 with two big blisters already on each foot. I put gauze padding and more tape on them and made it through the day without having them break. I am now shopping for AT boots.

 

On skinning, stand upright and lead with the hip as mentioned. Don't bend over at the waist. It only makes it harder. Slide the skis and find a comfortable stride length. I never knew these things before this year and it made the touring soooo much easier. Good luck and have fun on the rock pile! Maybe I'll see you up there.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skibumm100 View Post

LiquidFeet,

 

I just did a tour up there in AT bindings (Fritchi's)  in alpine boots while taking an avy class. I put duct tape on the bottom of each foot in the arch area where I'd had blisters before whle skinning. On Saturday we skinned up the GOS trail. I started getting a blister under the arch of my left foot before I had gone two miles. Before too long I started getting a twin on the other foot, same basic area. I know you've pretty much decided not to do it but I can tell you it can be done. I've gotten blisters each time I've skinned. Moleskin on the areas that get iritated or possibly a very thin, slippery sock close to the skin with a second sock over it may help. If you ever choose to do it, go for a short tour first to find your problem areas. Then tape the daylights out of the affected areas. If you start getting sore spots...STOP and fix them instead of pressing on. During the course I had to keep up and didn't take the time to address the issues as they popped up....no pun intended. The worst part was day 2 with two big blisters already on each foot. I put gauze padding and more tape on them and made it through the day without having them break. I am now shopping for AT boots.

 

On skinning, stand upright and lead with the hip as mentioned. Don't bend over at the waist. It only makes it harder. Slide the skis and find a comfortable stride length. I never knew these things before this year and it made the touring soooo much easier. Good luck and have fun on the rock pile! Maybe I'll see you up there.

Detailed descriptions are so valuable.  Thanks Skibumm for that info.  

 

I have snug alpine boots, with almost a race fit, but due to my very small foot volume I've never been able to find boots that are 100% snug.   As a result there's a tiny bit of heel lifting that I feel in them at those rare times when I do aggressive up-down moves in my skiing.  Your description makes it clear that I'd have problems with the uphill skin.  I'll just hike and carry.

 

I've been thinking of getting into back-country skiing.  If I do this, I'll focus first on the boots.  

 

post #10 of 23

Dear Mr Feet, I don't think that you are allowed to ski up or down the Tuckerman's trail.  From Pinkham Notch to HoJo's is hiking only.  From HoJo's to the bowl is a scramble so that doesn't work either.  Once you are up there you can ski over to various locations like Gulf of Slides.  You should look into the Sherman (?) trail.  That may be ski-able.

 

I may be completely wrong with regard to this info, but this is my understanding.

post #11 of 23

Paul...you mean the Sherburne ski trail from Pinkham to HoJo's.

 

There is NO skiing on Tuckerman trail  nonono2.gif

 

tuckermanravinemap800x633.jpg

post #12 of 23

Thanks for the correction.

 

Would it be safe to say that AT would not be practical for Tuckerman's?

post #13 of 23

Paul, do you mean Alpine Touring gear? That is what I personally have used there. I depends on so many things, how late in the season you go, what type of snow conditions, where you hope to ski, etc. But just the weight difference of the gear on your back makes it a no brainer. There are places you can skin, the upper snow field for one. You can skin up Sherburne but late in the year it doesn't get to close to Pinkham in skiable shape. BUT, one thing I would not go without is crampons if you want to go up the headwall (ice axe too). But if you mean traditional AT...than no, it's not going to be much touring in this particular area. Much booting!

post #14 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

...Would it be safe to say that AT would not be practical for Tuckerman's?


Probably not safe to say that.  Not having skied Tuckeman, I have skied stuff in the west that might be similar on AT gear.  

 

post #15 of 23

Skinning is like anything else- if your footwear sucks and you aren't used to doing it, you will get beat up.  If your footwear has a decent fit, and you do it often enough, no problems. 

post #16 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 


Probably not safe to say that.  Not having skied Tuckeman, I have skied stuff in the west that might be similar on AT gear.  

 

At Tuckerman's there is no place to AT.  You hike to the base of the headwall then you follow one of the boot packs up to very steep skiing.  It a relatively short distance that covers quick vertical, though it doesn't feel like a short distance.  Run after run is tough on the quads since it's like climbing a very steep stair case.

 

It would be my choice to hike to HoJo's, then scramble to the base of the Headwall, then put on the boots and other equipment - climbing from there.  You would have to carry the skis on all of these sections.  There are other areas that would probably be suitable, but I don't know much about those possibilities.  You could also skin up the Sherburne Trail, but you would still have to carry the skis on the goat path from HoJo's.
 

 

post #17 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

At Tuckerman's there is no place to AT.  You hike to the base of the headwall then you follow one of the boot packs up to very steep skiing.  It a relatively short distance that covers quick vertical, though it doesn't feel like a short distance.  Run after run is tough on the quads since it's like climbing a very steep stair case.

 

It would be my choice to hike to HoJo's, then scramble to the base of the Headwall, then put on the boots and other equipment - climbing from there.  You would have to carry the skis on all of these sections.  There are other areas that would probably be suitable, but I don't know much about those possibilities.  You could also skin up the Sherburne Trail, but you would still have to carry the skis on the goat path from HoJo's.

 

Well, that makes sense.  How about this - it would be safe to say that you don't need to get AT gear to ski at Tuckerman, but that if you had AT gear and took it, you wouldn't be making a hudge mistake?  
 

Though it seems like lugged soles would be a nice feature climbing up on the snow?  

 

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 

 

Well, that makes sense.  How about this - it would be safe to say that you don't need to get AT gear to ski at Tuckerman, but that if you had AT gear and took it, you wouldn't be making a hudge mistake?  
 

Though it seems like lugged soles would be a nice feature climbing up on the snow?  

 



In the morning, if the snow has refrozen even lug soles are not enough! Think crampons......

 

AT gear saves you a lot of weight off your back...reason enough.

 

post #19 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post

AT gear saves you a lot of weight off your back...reason enough.

 


If you are going to Tuckerman's Ravine, I don't see where you would be able to benefit from AT.  It's all  boot back and really steep.  If you like to ski AT as your alpine set up then maybe that could be a reason.  I am sure there will be tele skiers there, but not with skins.

 

Try Huntington or Gulf of Slides maybe, but you will be carrying the skis on the Tuckerman trail and the goat path.

 

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post


 


If you are going to Tuckerman's Ravine, I don't see where you would be able to benefit from AT.  It's all  boot back and really steep.  If you like to ski AT as your alpine set up then maybe that could be a reason.  I am sure there will be tele skiers there, but not with skins.

 

Try Huntington or Gulf of Slides maybe, but you will be carrying the skis on the Tuckerman trail and the goat path.

 



Paul....yes I know. But since I WILL have them on my back, my AT skis and boots are MUCH lighter for all the hiking required. That's what I'm getting at......

 

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 

 

 

tuckermanravinemap800x633.jpg

 

People ARE allowed to skin up on the Tuckerman Trail to HoJo's.  When I've hiked it in the spring there are people skinning by us hikers, fast in comparison.  That's all I'm talking about.

 

From the hut you hike up to the bowl, hike up the side of the bowl, and ski down.  You may be able to ski all the way down to HoJo's if there's enough snow, but you ski the little headwall, not the trail.  From HoJo's down to the parking lot you ski the Sherburne Trail (skiing only, no hiking) until the snow disappears, then hike the rest of the way down on the Tuckerman Trail.  That's been my experience in the past.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

 

People ARE allowed to skin up on the Tuckerman Trail to HoJo's.  When I've hiked it in the spring there are people skinning by us hikers, fast in comparison.  That's all I'm talking about.

 

From the hut you hike up to the bowl, hike up the side of the bowl, and ski down.  You may be able to ski all the way down to HoJo's if there's enough snow, but you ski the little headwall, not the trail.  From HoJo's down to the parking lot you ski the Sherburne Trail (skiing only, no hiking) until the snow disappears, then hike the rest of the way down on the Tuckerman Trail.  That's been my experience in the past.



Just because you see people doing it, doesn't mean they are allowed....skinning is skiing (you have skis on)

 

Tuckerman Ravine Trail is for hiking

Sherburne Ski Trail is for skiing

 

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 

Just called the AMC at Pinkham Notch (603-356-2137).  The Appalachian Mountain Club maintains the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, and all the other trails in the Presidential Range.  

 

It's official.  Skinning UP is allowed to HoJo's.  Skiing down is not.

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