This is my first trip report so I hope it comes out OK.
I headed up to N. Conway, New Hampshire this past Friday for two days of backcountry skiing, one of them being Tuckerman. The Saturday tour turned out to be a bad day on the mountain – we never reached our objective and had an awful slog back down to the trailhead. We attempted to ski the narrow hiking trail here and there to no avail.
Feeling dejected, exhausted, and sore as heck we decided to retire to our respective hotels and make a decision about Sunday later on. Later that night the others in my group decided to bail and drove home due to the rain in the forecast for Sunday.
I sat in my hotel room pondering whether or not I should give Tucks a shot on Sunday or just go home. I couldn’t believe that I drove 6 hours only to get shut out and not even see and do what I came to do - Tucks. I cursed the fickle weather, my job taking up too much my time, my lack of proximity to the mountains. I cursed everything. I decided to sleep on it and make a decision in the morning. When I woke up I felt a lot better physically but rain clouds were hovering overhead. As I sat there drinking my coffee (hotel room coffee) I decided awww what the hell let me give it a shot. I frantically packed my pack, checked out and got in the car for the 30 minute drive to Pinkham Notch. My plan was to skin up to Hojo’s, hopefully meet some people to join up with along the way and chat with the Rangers about conditions but I knew I would probably only be skiing the Sherburne as I probably didn’t have it in me to go up in the bowl.
As soon as I pulled out of the parking lot the rain began to fall and got heavier and heavier. My conscience kept telling me to turn around and go home but something kept me heading northward. As I got closer to Pinkham something magical happened. The rain turned…white! By the time I got to the parking lot it was a full-on snowstorm! With a renewed sense of determination I grabbed my gear and headed to the trailhead, noting that the avalanche threat was low on all aspects.
I began skinning up the TR trail and was quickly reminded how sore I was from the prior day’s tour. All I kept thinking was, “just ski the Sherbie and get some turns in.”
When I got to Hojo’s I was spent. I took a break and listened to everyone’s plans for their ski runs. I spoke to a Ranger who said visibility in the Lower Snowfields looked good and Hillman’s Highway had the race (Son of the Inferno) on it the day before. I looked at the start of the Sherbie and I looked up at Hillman’s, then the Sherbie, then Hillman’s…
The group I skinned up with passed by and told me they were headed to Hillman’s. I mustered up all my strength and told them to wait up so I could strap my skis to my pack for the boot up.
I wound up having a nice run on Hillman’s and a lot of leg-burning fun on the moguled up Sherbie all the way down to my car which I reached at 2:30.
Well I did it. I made the pilgrimage to Tuckerman despite things looking so grim. And, I’ll definitely be back.
Some pictures are below. They didn’t come out great as visibility was poor.
Skinning up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail:
Some pics taken while on the side of Hillman's:
Shot of Hillman's from the bottom:
Edited by hespeler - 4/15/14 at 6:54pm