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A day fit for a King - A day in King Ravine, Mount Adams, NH.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

April 14th, 2013. Closing day for most major resorts in the East. I decided to spend my Sunday at the great Mount Sunapee. My school schedule for the week was looking a bit funky, no class Monday for Marathon day, no class Tuesday (because I never have class Tuesday), no class Thursday for reading day, and a final on Friday. I have a pretty tight schedule most of the time, so I don't like to waste time doing nothing. I decided to spend my Monday in the majestic King Ravine, situated on the north side of Mount Adams, NH. I had been up there once before for a hike during Hurricane Lee in 2011, and fell in love. School and weather kept me from hitting it last spring, so I couldn't blow off and opportunity to get up there again.

 

* I'd just like to add that it has been five years since I started ski racing, and as much as I love it, it has been five years since I have actually got in some skiing. With a tight schedule for racing in training, and having people down your throat about doing stupid stuff that could result in a season ending injury, it is IMPOSSIBLE to sneak off to the backcountry/side country to get in some play time. Yea, I do love racing, but being able to just go out and enjoy the day and not have to worry about results whatsoever would be nice. This trip would end the five year gap.*

 

I started up the Airline trail at roughly 8am, and about 90 minutes and several fights with tree branches, I reached the King Ravine split. There was one set of tracks going in to the ravine floor, and those disappeared at the Great Gully/Chemins Des Dames junction. Gauging by the complete lack of tracks and how completely even the snow was going into the trail, I think it would be safe to say that I was first in here for the season.

 

 

The fact that there were no tracks going into the ravine was quite terrifying, but with the the ravine so close and a guarantee of fresh tracks, I had to continue on.

 

 

 

After trucking through the snow, I found myself at the at the bottom of the Great Gully and "The Seven". I trekked up the Great Gully, staying in the bush as much as I could. The snow was very granular, corn like in quality. Stepping into it was like quick sand, perfect avalanche snow. After about 40 minutes of carefully working my way up, I felt a light movement under my feet. I slowly moved my way over to a small bush that was poking out of the ground. After securing myself on the bush, I took my skis off my pack with my boots already clicked into the bindings. Boots already in the skis, can't be too hard to get in, right? WRONG. Lace up liners! Complete pain in the ass to get into, even moreso with the shells already clicked in. I struggled a good 10 or so minutes until I finally got them on. Game time. With my line already planned out in the event of an avalanche, I took off. And with me came more than a foot of snow down the gully. I could hear it coming down behind me, and I took the escape route on the skier's left of the gully. I took a slight tumble while turning off into the escape route zone, and ended up taking a 100ft slide into the bush. Normally wouldn't be an issue, but being in a t-shirt, it was a little painful. I guess I'd have some cool injuries to show off to my friends back down at school.

 

The rush was quite unreal, and the result was more than two feet of snow now sitting at the bottom of the gully. Would make for some great skiing later on in the day. The "Seven" gully was in the same shape, so I decided to give that a go as well. Basically the same result, and I decided to throw on a sweatshirt and gloves as a precaution.

 

I decided it was time for lunchbreak at my "lunch rock". I sat there for a good half an hour or so, soaking in the sun for a goggle tan and looking up at this.

 

 

12:30 hit, and I decided to take a couple of runs in the runoff. I don't have a go-pro, so I had to make due with putting my phone between my stomach and waist band on my bag. I didn't want to risk losing my phone earlier on in the day, so I didn't bother recording the first two runs. With the danger of an avalanche gone, I decided to give it a go. That is what phone insurance is for anyway, right? First up was the Great Gully. I only went up about half/third of the way, as there wasn't much deep snow left up top.

 

 

 

 

 

Great stuff. Now time to give "The Seven" the same treatment. Sadly my phone gave the "battery too low" message. Whatever.

 

 

 

 

I decided to head down as it was now 3pm. Didn't want to risk getting stuck around in the dark. I skied down to the ice caves and took my skis off for the next quarter or so of a mile. Had to turn around one more time to look back at what I had just skied.

 

 

Now time to turn my 90 minute ascent into a less than 30 minute descent. I threw on my skis again, and started to gun it down the 5 foot wide trail, skiing off into the trees every 80 or 90 feet to slow myself down. It started to open up a little bit and get flatter. Once it got flat enough (about a 3/4 of a mile past the caves), I started to gun it down. 35 minutes later and several annoying river crossings later, I was at my car, my sweatshirt and snowpants SATURATED in sweat. I struggled my ski boots off immediately, and dropped to the ground in exhaustion. I plugged my now dead phone into my car, only to get the horrible news about the marathon. 4 friends were in the race, all of them with a ~12pm start. After some phonecalls and texts later, I took a sigh of relief. Everyone that I knew was ok, but the next (and final week of school) are most definitely going to be hard, both getting onto campus and having to see those directly impacted.

 

Once I got my stuff together, and my legs stretched out to a degree, I decided I had to get one last picture from the road of the King.

 

 

I must say, it was nice to get out for the day and it was a great first for me (going to King Ravine). I'll most definitely be up there again atleast one more time this season, should be good for another month or so. Most importantly it was nice to be able to ski for the first time in a long time, and it was nice to be able to re-connect to the sport that I had simultaneously engulfed and distanced myself from over the past five years.

 

To Tuckerman this Thursday, and Huntington and Castle next week. Maybe Jefferson Ravine if time allows this season.

post #2 of 13

you got after it !nice stuff great snow except for the video!!

 

hold the phone sideways!! your not taking pictures...

 

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Couldn't do anything about the camera being like that. Had I put it sideways it would have fallen out into the snow. Do remember that it was held between my stomach and backpack waistband. nothing else holding it in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

you got after it !nice stuff great snow except for the video!!

hold the phone sideways!! your not taking pictures...


post #4 of 13

Great trip report. I grew up in Maine (am still growing up here) and started climbing in the White Mountains as a little boy. Some of the best times I can remember as a kid were in those storied hills. For me it is holy ground. Always nice to live vicariously through the reports of guys like you who kick it on your own. Quite a hill to have all to yourself. You earned those turns. Well done.

D1

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post

Great trip report. I grew up in Maine (am still growing up here) and started climbing in the White Mountains as a little boy. Some of the best times I can remember as a kid were in those storied hills. For me it is holy ground. Always nice to live vicariously through the reports of guys like you who kick it on your own. Quite a hill to have all to yourself. You earned those turns. Well done.

D1

 

It is holy ground for me too. Had a pretty wild experience up there back in 2011. I led a group of kids from my school up to the top of Washington, via Tuckerman Ravine. When we got to the top they decided to take the shuttle down, and I decided to go down alone. I decided to head towards Huntington Ravine and followed this crazy French guy with a big red bag. I followed him down the ravine a little bit, and knew something wasn't right. I was literally descending a rock face, not the trail itself. Come to find out, it was Pinnacle buttress. No ropes, nothing. Sadly my phone was near dead and in my bag (which my friends brought down in the shuttle). Crazy experience. Ever since then I've been hooked.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post

 

It is holy ground for me too. Had a pretty wild experience up there back in 2011. I led a group of kids from my school up to the top of Washington, via Tuckerman Ravine. When we got to the top they decided to take the shuttle down, and I decided to go down alone. I decided to head towards Huntington Ravine and followed this crazy French guy with a big red bag. I followed him down the ravine a little bit, and knew something wasn't right. I was literally descending a rock face, not the trail itself. Come to find out, it was Pinnacle buttress. No ropes, nothing. Sadly my phone was near dead and in my bag (which my friends brought down in the shuttle). Crazy experience. Ever since then I've been hooked.

Been there and done that - though in the opposite direction. Around 1970 I went to this climbing camp in Jefferson - kind of an Outward Bound before there was such a thing. I was 14 at the time. Did lots of routes on White Horse, Cathedral, Eaglet and the Pinnacle in Huntington. It was a very cool climb because of the exposure. You could (as I remember) move to the right, unrope and get off the face.

Year before that, a week after my 13th b'dy I hiked into Tuckermans and while skiing down Shelburne Trail (?) fell and broke both tib and fib. Got a shot of Demerol in the ER. It was an Age of Aquarious moment for this young teen - if you know what I mean. The day was April 26, 1969 - the day of the first Inferno Race since Tony Matt shussed the Headwall in 1939. Was also 10 days before my Bar Mitzvah. My mom was wicked pissed. But I did get to wear those bell bottoms to the service - they were the only pants that fit over the full leg cast.

From my 8th grade history class in Lewiston I could look over the distance and see the Hill, and dream. I just love that hill and have been "hooked" for as long as I can remember.

Last time on it was a few years back when we celebrated my uncle's 85th b'day. He wanted to do a climb into Tucks, so up the Fire Trail we went. And then to Peter Limmer's for the obligatory visit.

Magic time. Magic place. Forever. You will have great memories as well.

Happy trails.

D1

post #7 of 13
I miss the Whites. :-| I've had many memorable moments skiing there.

But I do kinda like the Rockies. ;-)
post #8 of 13

In 1962 or so in March a friend and I did a speed traverse of the northern Presidentials. Started up Lowe's Path at the break of dawn, up Adams, skied across Jefferson to Mt. Washington and down  to Pinkhams. We finished up a little after noon. Not much great skiing but a pretty fast trip, never saw a soul until we got close to Pinkham Notch Camp.

post #9 of 13

I am sitting on the couch thinking about my birthday trip to Sugarloaf tomorrow. While scrolling down the DirectTV listings I was also thinking how I had not seen any Warren Miller movies listed lately. No sooner had I formed the thought when I came across a listing for Warren Miller's Like There's No Tomorrow. SWEET! So I hit it wondering what snow eye candy I might be treated to. I could not have imagined that what greeted me was a Miller video TR to Mt Washington.

The two guys who hit Tuckermans were filmed in all its splendor. The Headwall, a monster of a massif face, is reported to be 60 degrees at its most severe facet. And these guys, despite their obvious skills, approached it with the respect it demands. As I watched them carefully and tentatively pick their way down doing jump turns, I thought back to the 1939 Inferno Race when Toni Matt, a 19 year old Austrian, shussed the same terrain on decidedly different gear.  I have heard that he did not intend to but just lost track of where he was. Too bad Warren was not there to catch that. If any of you folks who are wondering what all the fuss is about this place called Tuckerman Ravine, this film will answer all your questions.

Anyways, Warren, thanks for the early b'day present. I may just have Tuckerman dreams tonight.

D1

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post

I am sitting on the couch thinking about my birthday trip to Sugarloaf tomorrow. While scrolling down the DirectTV listings I was also thinking how I had not seen any Warren Miller movies listed lately. No sooner had I formed the thought when I came across a listing for Warren Miller's Like There's No Tomorrow. SWEET! So I hit it wondering what snow eye candy I might be treated to. I could not have imagined that what greeted me was a Miller video TR to Mt Washington.
The two guys who hit Tuckermans were filmed in all its splendor. The Headwall, a monster of a massif face, is reported to be 60 degrees at its most severe facet. And these guys, despite their obvious skills, approached it with the respect it demands. As I watched them carefully and tentatively pick their way down doing jump turns, I thought back to the 1939 Inferno Race when Toni Matt, a 19 year old Austrian, shussed the same terrain on decidedly different gear.  I have heard that he did not intend to but just lost track of where he was. Too bad Warren was not there to catch that. If any of you folks who are wondering what all the fuss is about this place called Tuckerman Ravine, this film will answer all your questions.
Anyways, Warren, thanks for the early b'day present. I may just have Tuckerman dreams tonight.
D1

The minimum slope at King was 45 degrees. Some parts of the Great Gully and Seven were well over 65 degrees in slope. Stupid steep if you ask me. Anyway, I'm off to Tuckerman tomorrow to drop some cliffs and get some relaxation time in before final exams this week. I'll post here with the results.
post #11 of 13

Awesome trip!

5 years just bashing gates??

Here's the Tuckerman segment on the Kastle film. Davenport and Hugo Harrison

Everything's a Nail, Here's Your Hammer

Tuckerman's at 24:40

http://youtu.be/jZ7v2soqaLs
 

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post

The minimum slope at King was 45 degrees. Some parts of the Great Gully and Seven were well over 65 degrees in slope. Stupid steep if you ask me. Anyway, I'm off to Tuckerman tomorrow to drop some cliffs and get some relaxation time in before final exams this week. I'll post here with the results.

Happy trails. I'm off to the Loaf. Will look forward to your images.
D2
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Awesome trip!

5 years just bashing gates??

Here's the Tuckerman segment on the Kastle film. Davenport and Hugo Harrison

Everything's a Nail, Here's Your Hammer

Tuckerman's at 24:40

http://youtu.be/jZ7v2soqaLs
 


Yea, 5 years of bashing gates (well, no slalom, so more body checking than anything). It's been fun, but tiring, and it has been nice to take a break from it. I'll put up pictures from Tuckerman in a bit, just need to get a hold of em. Only got one run in, lost a shell footbed and booster strap off of one of my boots. Not fun.

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