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Tuckermans Ravine

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone-

I'm taking a trip over to Tuckermans this spring. I haven't skied it before and was wondering if anyone had some advise. What are some sick, but sweet runs? I want somthing steep- but no big air. I think I'm going to stay over the night- has anyone done that? I'm prob. going to go in mid to late April. I think that should be a good time of year for it. Anyway, if anyone has any advise it's appresiated!

"There are trails with signs, and there are those with out...Which trail will you chose?"
post #2 of 22
post #3 of 22
These are also good;
http://websmith.ca/ski/tuckerman/ http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/whites/tuckermans.html

My advice, get in shape. I was not last time I went and the 2.5 hour hike up kicked my butt.. then I was really tired, which made it not as much fun as it could have been.
post #4 of 22
I like to stay at the Dana Place Inn. They usually run end of season weekend specials in late March and April. Pay one price for two nights plus a few meals. It's the closest accomodations to the Trailhead - and has a hot tub. That allows you to get the best idea of what it's going to be like up there - and the hot tub is a must after banging down the Sherbourne trail. It's all steep, and fun as you want to make it. If you fall you will need the hot tub.

As a side note Wildcat ski area is right acrossed from Tuck's and usually has cheap last weekend lift tix. The snow goes to corn and the telemarkers come out. I've typically gotten an early start and skiid the day in the ravine, then kicked back for a casual day of spring skiing and wildcat the next.

Tips: Be careful for falling ice (big car sized chunks). Be aware of Mt. W's nasty weather. Skinning up is possible early but not often req'd as the trail gets lots of use. Heed warning signs on the sherbourne trail - the water is cold and your skiis don't glide on mud...
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help! It's going to be a blast in April! Only one more question- how do you scout out falling ice. I'de think once the ice is coming toward you, it's too late! I guess you just have to make sure you're not below a cornice?!

"There are trails with signs, and there are those with out...Which trail will you chose?"
post #6 of 22
When I skied Tuckermans back in 1996, they actually had the headwall closed due to falling ice. Oh my word, we skied the left gullies and watched huge, I mean van sized, chunks of ice come crashing down the bowl. Very cool to watch from very far away. As far as watching out in general for it, it always helps to have a buddy watching you ski and if he sees something (slide, ice from above) scream his head off. Just like in climbing, remember that in chutes and bowls junk will most likely follow the fall line as gravity is in control, so get to the sides of the chutes or behind something if possible. Be careful, it's pretty serious up there.
post #7 of 22
The "closures" are only in an advisory sense -- besides camping restrictions (and maybe some other restrictions of that sort), on Mt Washington anyone is pretty much perfectly free to do anything as stupid as they wish . . . and many do!
post #8 of 22
Tuck's is definitely a hike-in ski area and not true backcountry. They have ski patrol there, post avalanche conditions, close routes, etc.
post #9 of 22
If you're worried about ice fall up there, I recommend going up immediately after the snow stabelizes with the first couple of good thaw cycles. From what I remember, the ice doesn't usually start to fall until later after there is more melt.
post #10 of 22
If Step 1 is "lose the "s", why does step 2 say "tuckermanS.html"?\think about it..
post #11 of 22
Dave, Wrong word. I think he meant the S in appreCiated, (as opposed to appresiated).
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
ummm...I guess I have bad spelling- but I can hold my own on the mtn. TUCKS WAS AWESOME- see other post

"There are trails with signs, and there are those with out...Which trail will you chose?"
post #13 of 22
Step 2 has an "S" in the link because the person doing the coding is from California and is presumably suffering under the common misunderstanding that the name is something other than "Tuckerman Ravine."
post #14 of 22
Jon, thanks for the clarification

Hope you've been getting up there. It's been so good for the last month i've even had to take a few, ahem, sic days. We hit Shoestring and Landslide Gullys a few weeks back in Crawford Notch. Not sure if Shoestring's ever been done before because it's mostly an iceclimb but was filled in nicely - been watching it for five years or so. Planning on hitting that new avalanche clearing on the back of Lafayette this week if weather works out. There's so much open this year it scary.

Did you ever make it to Cham? Pls give report if so.
post #15 of 22
Chamonix was great! We didn't do anything "extreme," since my wife is not into that stuff, but the ski mountaineering possibilities there make anything I've seen in the U.S. look like Blue Hills by comparison. Just kicking back on the deck of La Refuge D'Argentierre after a day of skiing Les Grand Montets was worth flying across the Atlantic.

So far I've been to Mt Wash only once this season, during an avy class, as we've been exploring other places (e.g., Greylock, Hale, Moosilauke, Garfield, Cardigan) that are new to us. But I'd love to hear more about Lafayette! (I've hiked it several times, but never seen anything that looked very promising for skiing.)

Also, this weekend I'm the skier for a team that's doing this:

After that, off to Kirkwood and the surrounding backcountry for an extended weekend, then I'm hoping for Mt Wash at least once every weekend until . . . ?
post #16 of 22
Congratulations on your race, 8th place! What type of equipment did you use? Under 30 seconds to ski a course and then down Tuckerman Ravine sounds pretty fast. Tell us a little about it.
post #17 of 22
Why thank you!

I used my randonee equipment (Garmont GSM boots, Fritschi Diamir bindings, and alpine downhill Dynastar ATV skis from a few years ago) to skin up to the base of Tucks, then (once tagged by our hiker, my wife, via a kiss) climbed up the headwall with skis and one pole strapped to my pack, lightweight aluminum crampons fixed to my boots, a lightweight ice axe in my right hand, a BD adjustable pole (shortened to its minimum length) in my left hand, and a climbing helmet protecting my noggin from any hazards up above. Thus clad, I sprinted off for the first hundred feet, to the cheers of the many spectators.

The ~1,000' vert climb took about 26 minutes (the initial sprint not lasting very long!), including a few brief pauses to catch my breath, plus some inefficient meandering at one point over rocks and brush, as well as an unfortunate extrication of my right leg where it plunged into the snow up to my hip. I wasted a couple minutes changing my gear over from climb to ski mode (remove crampons, undo skis from pack, etc.), but at that point I knew that I stood no chance of overtaking the four teams and one individual who were already ahead of us, and I had enough of a lead on the climber behind me that we were assured of a 5th place finish for the 21 teams (or 6th place including all 30 teams and solo competitors).

The race course was outrageously fun: about 22 gates starting way up above the lip, where it's quite flat. The gates were set very well (by a former UNH coach I know), slowing you down as you approached the lip. The headwall seemed even steeper with gates on it, i.e., feeling like you were looking straight down at the next gate. Then the course gradually flattened, to the point where I took the final four gates in real racer-style, even dropping into a tuck on the final gate, with my pack's many straps flapping every which way, and the uneven snow bouncing my skis every which way also.

I figure that absence some of the inefficiencies described above, I could have moved up to about 4th, maybe even 2nd if I was in better shape, and not exhausted by my recently concluded two-week honeymoon in France, plus recovering from a cold. However, I am amazed by the time of the first place finisher - he must be some kind of climbing monster! Plus I noticed how the separate ski-only times were all fairly close to each other, except for the guy who got a 1:16 - his run must have been spectacular! If I had been on my race gear I figured I could have knocked many seconds off (as well as added many minutes on the climb), but someone that fast must be truly impressive.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

Congrats on the race! That must have been pretty sweet, a race course on tucks! Tiring though- I think I could finish in the top 10000000....maybe. Anyway, thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding. I've been gone for a week (Went to Vegas and the Grand Canyon- wish I could have gone to Alta instead), so I haven't checked the posts for a while. Anyhoot, hope every one has a good spring!

"There are trails with signs, and there are those with out...Which trail will you chose?"
post #19 of 22
I caught a glimpse of the course being set on the lip as we headed up Right Gully for the summit and Ammanoosic R. Only course set i've seen where the steepness had to be taken into account - by placing the gates more perpendicular to the surface than vertical so you didn't get skewered as you came down on top of each gate. Good time BTW!

Here's an tip - take the stock lace-up liners out of your GSM's and replace them with your regular DH boot liners. Still good flex but plenty more support when your headed down.

Auto road will be open next saturday @ 9am for the first assault on the GG. Suspect some contingents of locals will be there including the Green Mountain Boys as it hasn't been this filled-in in a long, long time. We're planning to hopscotch our way to the Jefferson snowfields (which are faaat) and maybe into Kings... Hope you get a chance to get up there.
post #20 of 22
CS, yes, coming over the lip was an experience like I've had in no other race course!

Interesting tip, but the tongues on my GSM liners seem even stiffer than on my Rossi KX, plus my Rossi liners are probably modified too much to fit well in my GSM, and they're falling apart anyway.

Wish I had seen your message re Mt Wash earlier -- I would indeed like to hook up for Saturday, and on the off chance you're reading this now, you can call me at 617-441-2876
post #21 of 22
JS, sorry not to have read this post till too late. Sunday was THE day. The best weather imaginable. Still tons of snow in Airplane, Pipeline, Cinch, Col Gully, Jefferson snowfields & Jefferson ravine. Lot's of people up there for the first major assault - maybe 4 times as many as i've ever seen. I actually knew almost half of them from skiing the Presidentials and Europe over the years (even a few from your recent race). It was a great get together and the ultimate climax to a standout season. Probably be getting up there a few more times because the snowpack is still thick but after last weeks weather the need is subsiding. I'll phone with plenty of notice if we do it again next week.
post #22 of 22
CS, thanks for the report, and no need to apologize - my fault for posting so late.

I wanted to get back to Boston early for some quality time with the Mrs., so I did a quickie trip to GOS. I was disappointed that I could not start skinning until 3540', especially since GOS ski trail makes for some pretty lousy hiking. But the gullies were filled in very nicely. By wandering over way to the extreme left (looking up) of the snowfields, I got some fresh tracks on pristine, unskied, and quite steep corn. By GOS standards, the place was packed: I passed ~20 skiers on the hike up, only to find another ~10 already there upon my arrival.

This Saturday I'm skiing with the guy I did Great Gulf w/ last yr, then May 19 is mtn biking, but May 20 is a possibility.
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