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Anyone ski Tuckerman's Ravine?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm just curious to see if anyone has skied there and if they could relate it to anything you might find on a ski resort anywhere else in N. America. I know it's backcountry but I hear it is very popular in the spring so I figured it can't be that difficult, right?

Thanks and share any opinions you might have!
post #2 of 27
the higher you climb the tougher it gets.....it's double black diamond + ob terrain, normally lotsa room for big turns and slidslipping were you need too, but you gotta pay attention on the way up scoping your line as you go...that's my first hand take.....it is the real deal and the experience to last a lifetime.....
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzboy283
I'm just curious to see if anyone has skied there and if they could relate it to anything you might find on a ski resort anywhere else in N. America. I know it's backcountry but I hear it is very popular in the spring so I figured it can't be that difficult, right?

Thanks and share any opinions you might have!
If you feel comfortable hiking and skiing a 40-55 degree pitch, and can do so safely and without pissing everyone else off, yes it is quite easy.

Its very much fun, and very cool.
post #4 of 27
Tucks is fun place to ski and a right of passage of sorts for East Coast skiing.
Go to
http://www.timefortuckerman.com/
for all your Tuckerman related questions.

M.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrotech
Tucks is fun place to ski and a right of passage of sorts for East Coast skiing.
Go to
http://www.timefortuckerman.com/
for all your Tuckerman related questions.

M.
Thanks Astrotech, I came across that website last night and found it very informative.
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have one more question for everyone though, is this the only place you can ski on Mt. Washington aside from Hillman's Highway? Is it possible in ideal condtions to ski from the summit of Mt. Washington all the way down? How far from the summit is Tuckerman's Ravine?

Thanks
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzboy283
I have one more question for everyone though, is this the only place you can ski on Mt. Washington aside from Hillman's Highway? Is it possible in ideal condtions to ski from the summit of Mt. Washington all the way down? How far from the summit is Tuckerman's Ravine?

Thanks
Maybe a third of a mile?

Its very possible to ski from the summit down through the snowfields to the ravine. I've done it several times.
post #8 of 27
The summit snowfields are great. So is Oake's Gulf in a good year as well as many other gullies and chutes around the mountain. The Great Gulf Chutes are awesome, when skiable. there is also the Gulf of Slides. Friends of mine rode the Cog RR up one especially good year and skied down Ammonusuc Ravine. I haven't done that one but have skiied most everything else. This year hasn't been a very good year for snow up here though. I would guess this will not turn out to be a very good year for Tucks but who knows? There are so many variables including local snowfall amts, wind and drifting conditions that is hard to say what the ski conditions will turn out to be. One year not long ago the mountain got 10 ft of snow in the month of May alone.
Just a word about Tuckermans itself.....This is a great place with some of the worst and some of the greatest skiing I've ever had. The scene has always been part of it but it has become very crowded and kind of a party scen that I find increasingly unnapealing. I come ftom the era of unlimited camping, mind you, when the Cowshed, a shelter designed for 60 people routinely held double that and people were camped so thickly about it was hard to move. Nonetheless many of the people who go there now are not skiers and many who are cannot ski well. The classic runs like Left Gully and Hillman's are apt to be heavily bumped up and waiting in line to climb up and dodging falling skiers when you do get to ski can be a real drag. Skiing the Chute or the Center Wall or Dodge's Drop, when they are skiable, can be breathtaking, unforgettable experiences.

Incidently, the run from the summit down into the bowl, through the connection, down the lower snowfield or little headwall and down the ski trail to Pinkham Notch Camp is a run of about 4200 vertical feet!
post #9 of 27
I'm always surprised at how many people ski Tuck's, because the potential for death or dismemberment is so real. Coming over the headwall for the first time is a real bowel-clencher. It looks like you're approaching the edge of a cliff. If you fall, you're going to slide a long way at a high rate of speed.
That being said, there are lots of great runs at Tuck's. Some are a little less steep than others. I would recommend starting on hillman's highway, which is a long chute with a steady 35-40 degree pitch. Wide enough for turns, but it chokes down a little in one spot.
Have fun!
post #10 of 27
I haven't been there in years, and first skied there before I got into the biz.

I remember it being quite steep and if you want to seek out some really hairy areas, you can find them there FOR SURE. It is a somewhat risky place to ski, and not for the timid.

The thing I remember the most was hiking up the steepest sections by just putting the toe (maybe 3") of your boot into the "steps" and climbing till you decide to put your skis on. You will find little flat "platforms" just wide enough to get your skis on so you can click into the bindings. That will tighten the butt muscles a bit.

Go and have fun.
post #11 of 27
Although the skiing at Tuckerman's can often be so extreme as to redefine your conception of "expert", there is usually quite a bit that is far less than expert. The lower portion of the bowl, for example grades out from moderate to essentially flat. The lower portion of Hillmans is basically a moderate mogul run and the Sherburne trail like any old fashioned intermediate trail, except that you're likely to be dodging rocks, bare spots etc.. It just isn't very good. Usually these areas are deep in soft, wet heavy mush. Ditto for most of the mid to lower slopes in the Bowl due to the high use the place gets. An exception would be after a rain storm which, contrary to what you might expect, often improves the skiing by washing off the soft snow on the surface and exposing firmer, underlying snow. The East Snowfields on the summit Cone are not terribly steep and are wide open. Great fun to ski but not really challenging. The secret for people skiing up there who wish to ski into the Bowl without having to encounter the really steep upper Headwall is the Right Gully, so-called, which really isn't much of a gully but really just a finger of snow which often extends up to the flat area which the East Snowfields drop onto. Reaching it might involve taking your skis off and hiking a hundred feet or so through the krummholz but it is not nearly as intimidating as the Headwall and could be sideslipped.

I'm not really encouraging less than expert skiers to ski the Ravine, though. It can be dangerous and the less than high level expert terrain is scarcely worth the effort, in my opinion.
post #12 of 27
Hiking up is definately the scariest and then finding a place to put on your skis, eesh. We went last year and had a blast. Definately a dangerous place in all aspects though. While lounging on lunch rocks I noticed several small rocks just fly bye above me. Also a huge chunk of ice broke off when we were there. It was about the size of a frig, luckily it hit nobody.

Alfonse
post #13 of 27
I made the "mistake" of hiking up in August of '83. Too steep and Too many big boulders to believe they could ever be covered in snow. Still, many friends say it is time to go to Tuckerman's when the Forsythia are in bloom.
post #14 of 27
i agree with oisin, aside from skiing the summit snowfields (a really long trip up just for that), right gully is probably the easiest run at tucks, but depending on snow conditions the runout is right onto lunch rocks - not fun if the gully is icy. Lucky thing is, right gully gets a good amount of sunlight, so it usually gets pretty soft.

my first tucks experience was at right gully. hiked up to the first cliff band with some friends (they descended there), and i said hell, if i'm hiking up and the snow is good (great corn), i'm going higher! ended up at the top of the gully shitting my pants - steepest i was on at the time! but oh what a run!

of course, depending on avy and snow conditions, you can always hike up the bowl as high as your comfort level permits, put the skis on and descend.

In nice snow, there's always hillman's. hillman's is a pretty long slog up (it's faster to ascend left gully then traverse over the summit to hillmans, but you don't get to see what you're going to ski that way), but an incredible run and well worth it. It's not all that steep either, but i'd say a bit less forgiving than right gully if you happen to down.

i've yet to tackle the headwall...hoping to this year, but I tend to get pulled to GOS to stay away from the crowds...
post #15 of 27
I forgot to mention "setting up". On a warm sunny corn snow day in April or May the instant the shadows reach the snow it sets up to become hard frozen granular. Suddenly steep slopes can become almost impossible to ski and extremely dangerous. This is one of good things about Right Gully. It is on the North (South facing) side and so is one of the last places to be hit by the shadow line. Nevertheless, if you are above the Bowl, you want to time your descent to reach the ravine before the shadow line reaches it. A couple years ago my wife and I, traversing across from Lion's Head, reached the top of Left Gully just as the shadow line was reaching it. A real bummer, the top of the gully was just awfull and one of the best parts of the run down wasreduced to just a grit-your-teeth and get down it experience.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice guys, you've been real helpful. I can't help but wonder, but from the pictures it doesn't look that intimidating at all? I know, I know pictures probably don't do it justice so I am taking everything into accord.
post #17 of 27
Hello,

I'm scheduling a trip to Tucks in mid-to-late April with my crew. We are all expert alpine skiers but have so far limited our adventures to lift accessed backcountry. (Stowe - Chin, Hells' Brook, Hourglass & Jay, etc)

We are planning to hike in with skis/boots strapped to pack. At Hojos we're planning to change into ski boots for the ascent. Skis obviously still on our packs. This is the normal way for alpine skiier to do this right?

Also, getting back to the Pinkham notch parking lot. Ski or hike out? II believe you are not allowed to ski out, but I would be interested to hear someone confirm that fact.

Anything else I should be aware of? We're all expert skiers, and would look at the avy report. Do people leave gear in Hojos when they ascend? Beer? How much clothing would you recommend I bring? Also what time is the latest we would want to start the hike from Pinkham? And do people typically take multiple runs or is one enough?
post #18 of 27
Most people bring their boots up to the bottom of the ravine which is a steep mile or so from Hojo's. I did not put my boots on till the ravine. You cannot ski out on the walking trail, but there is a trail that skis out to the road. Whether or not its skiable depends on snowpack and time of year.

Alfonse
post #19 of 27
Check out www.chauvinguides.com for their shade times and conditions report-helpful site. The crowds both at the parking lot and at the trail are starting to show up around the middle of April so arriving earlier is better. I would guess the base of the ravine to be closer to a half mile. The sherburne trail is the one which leads down from hojos-check chauvin guides to see if it is open. I would leave the beer in the car. Clothing-I would definitely bring a good shell and layers.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
So is anyone planning on going this year? I was maybe thinking an early april trip to Wildcat which would allow me to hit Tuckerman's up as well. Any advice?
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac
Check out www.chauvinguides.com for their shade times and conditions report-helpful site. The crowds both at the parking lot and at the trail are starting to show up around the middle of April so arriving earlier is better.
How early is early? I probably will be slow on the ascent and can chill some place along the way if I can get a good parking spot. Are conditions (skiing, crowds) better in April, May or June? Especially this year.
post #22 of 27
April, for sure.
post #23 of 27
TR from 3/22 on TGR. Looks a bit hard still, but is setting up nicely if they're skiing Dutchess already. R Gully and Lobster Claw will be the first to corn up.

http://tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27363
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
hey peter, thanks for the link, it was an informative thread.
post #25 of 27

the latest from Tuckerman's

Okay, I had some of the best, and most terrifying skiing at Tuck's this past Easter weekend. Got a great deal at Joe Dodge Lodge, stayed with a good group of people, met some fantastic skiers.

Everyone said it might be too early for good skiing off the Headwall. Well, the weather and the snow conditions were better than anyone ever expected. I didn't arrive to Pinkham until about 1:30 Saturday afternoon. By 2:00 I had my gear on my back and was hiking the trail uo to HoJo's. There was no time to get up into the bowl, the sun had already fallen behind the mountain, but I did mount my Volkls and ski Lower Headwall and all the way back down the Shreburn Trail (which was nicely covered). Advice: bring a dry, wicking shirt or jersey to change into when you gear up on the trail. The temps drop quickly, and now is the season for hypothermia. I loved skiing the Sherburne directly back to the Lodge!

Easter Sunday was glorious! Sunshine and not too many tourists. We got up to Lunch Rocks about 11:30. I put on my ski boots there, left a cache of gear (including cans of Guiness, important for survival) with friends and kicked my way up the side of the Headwall. Scary stuff: very, very steep. But at the top I saw the Upper Snowfields with remarkably untouched snow, so I climbed to the summit. The Snowfields are like skiing a dream: you are so much higher than everything around you. Wildcat, across Rte. 16, looks like a child's mountain in comparison.

Watch for vertigo. After you climb the Headwall, you cannot see the bottom of the ski area. You can't see Lunch Rocks or your friends and suporters or the few ski rescue heroes that work there. You can look out over everything, yes, but because of the angle of the mountain, you cannot see directly below you to the big bowl.

Coming over the Headwall for the first time is definitely a rush! Don't be timid. I made the mistake of sliding to a perpindicular stop to take in the view and almost fell over. The Wall is that steep! Well, I had been watching skiers descend as I was climbing so thought I might try one of the tight rock-ordered chutes into the bowl. Everything was fine until, while jump turning, my right tip hit a rock and the rear tip hit ice and the combine pressure forced the ski off my boot. Yes, I tumbled halfway down the bowl before I could get on my back and slow and finally stop myself. Great applause from the spectators. But I was pissed because my ski was stuck between two rocks well above my head. So I kicked my boots into the wall and climbed up until a wonderful young woman manged to snag my ski for me and deliver over to the Ladder, where I climbed up again just to ski down more gracefully. Which I did!

Really, don't try to ski the Headwall without knowing how to maneuver on steeps. Pick your line as you are climbing up. Give other skiers some room, for both of your sakes.

If you are not used to hiking, practice carrying your pack or your skis a few days before climbing up to the Bowl. I swaeted a lot during the hike up!

Skiing Tuckerman's is a thrilling and memorable experience. I am headed back out there on April 23!

Be careful, but ski hard, Joe
post #26 of 27
Very nice description. Thanks. Now, where did you say you left the Guiness?
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Awesome write up Aleph, I really want to get up there. Do you recommend wide powder skis for the conditions there?
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