When you start back country skiing not too long before getting your 1st Soc. Sec. check, summiting the likes of Denali or Rainier are not in the cards. One goal for me from the beginning was to ski in Tuckerman Ravine on Mt Washington in New Hampshire. For those who don't know, Tuckerman Ravine is a 900' vert. 60/50/45 deg. gash on the side of Mt Washington in New Hampshire. Requires a 2.5 mile hike up 2000' to get to the base. A piece of the Cascades on the East Coast. Did you know that at one time the mountains on the east coast topped out at over 14,000" ? So picture a 900' couloir in 60 degree weather and a blue bird sky occupied by 6-700 skiers of varying ability and toss in a few well oiled thrill seekers in plastic sleds. Mayhem and merriment!!
Hiked up to the ravine with my sister-in-law. She was completely stoked at her achievement in getting there as she spent last year fighting the dreaded big C. Actually, we were pretty close in climbing ability (300 steps then rest) given my too heavy pack and lack of conditioning. Upon entering the ravine, I spoke with the ranger who gave me some good beta. "You can entertain the crowd in two ways.... and one of them hurts a lot." We discussed my climbing all the way up to the top but he said they would not look kindly on an overnight bivouac half way up that I would have required. So after the appropriate transition time at the base (1 hr) I climbed up and skied from the top......of Lunch Rocks, about 300' up. The "ski" down was total survival mode. A mixture of snow plow and stem christy. 1st time skiing on a rutted, slushy sno-cone with a heavy pack and rubber legs. The group of revelers on the Lunch rocks that had loudly cheered and jeered the antics on the slope was very polite and there were no derisive sounds when the wobbly geezer went by. I was there for the party because I missed one once and swore "never again". Some pals once asked me to go to an outdoor concert and I begged off to go on a date with my girl friend. The concert was Woodstock.