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Tuckerman's

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Who has skied it? stories? advice? I hope to ski it this year and would like to hear about everyones experiences if they have any.

thanks eirc.
post #2 of 24
All the advice you could ever want is here: http://www.timefortuckerman.com/

I skied it a few years ago, or rather I stood atop it and controlled my shaking just enough to make it back down without falling. I've hiked up to lunch rocks a couple times... Loads of fun to just sit there and watch the scene. It's definitely an experience.
post #3 of 24
It's a pet peeve of mine, but it's not Tuckerman's...It's Tuckerman Ravine.

Follow KevinF's advice and get an account on the time for Tuckerman forum. There are links to the daily snow report there. Here's a 1 paragraph primer.

Practice with your gear carrying setup before you go. It's about 4.5 miles just to get to the skiing and a lot of that may be over snow and slush-covered rocks. That's not the time to figure out how to stabilize your load. Don't plan on going much before May 1 unless you are an experienced mountaineer. It's extremely dangerous up there..and I'm not talking about the skiing. Plan for horrible weather and you won't be disappointed. It has the worst weather on the east coast up there and the weather station on top of Mt. Washington has recorded the highest measured windspeed on earth. For your first trip, you may want to just hike up, bring a lunch and a 6-pack or bottle of vino and just watch. Don't plan on being able to ski down that far. Need to save some leg energy for the slog to the bottom. If you do decide to ski down, expect to do some base repair over the summer. For a relatively easy intro, consider Hillman's Highway which is not in the Tuckerman Ravine cirque but on a ridge adjacent to the Ranger Station known as Howard Johnson's.

Good luck!
post #4 of 24
Dude there is no way it is 4.5 miles from Pinkham Notch to the lunch rocks. I haven't been up there in a couple years but I know I've made it to the top of Mt. Washington in about three hours from Pinkham Notch. I'm fat and slow at hiking. I think its more like 3 pretty easy miles, and like 2.5 to Hojo's.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman View Post
Dude there is no way it is 4.5 miles from Pinkham Notch to the lunch rocks. I haven't been up there in a couple years but I know I've made it to the top of Mt. Washington in about three hours from Pinkham Notch. I'm fat and slow at hiking. I think its more like 3 pretty easy miles, and like 2.5 to Hojo's.
Yeah, those distances sound about right. It's about 4.5 miles to the real summit of Mt. Washington, and about 3.5 to the top of the ravine itself.

Regarding timeframes... I've always gone up in mid-April, as that way you'll have a decent probability of being able to ski past HoJo's. Look at http://www.tuckerman.org/ for details on avalanche danger. The Pinkham Notch Visitor Center will be staffed, as will HoJo's -- the rangers there can give you info on the current snow conditions as well. I wouldn't go before April just because of the horrific weather. There have been huge crowds though when I've gone on nice weekends in April.

bjohansson's right in that it's a slushy, slippery walk to HoJo's, and then it starts getting steep. Most people get changed into ski boots at Lunch Rocks, and that's when it gets really steep. That's not when you want to figure out how to hike on steep snow in ski boots!
post #6 of 24
It's 3000 verticle feet of climbing from the parking lot to the top of the headwalls so my suggestion is to lay off any heavy drinking the night before. It's a LONG tough hike with a lot of gear on your back hungover...so party when the skiing is done.
Mid April or later is best and ideally you want a warm sunny day when things will soften up....60's or better. There is a serious freeze thaw cycle up there so if it's not warm enough the upper half of the snowfields will be unskiable.
Always hike up the route you choose to ski for obvious reasons.
If you hike all the way to the top be prepared for some SICK steeps off the tops of the headwalls where you can pick wide open lines or tight chutes....ranging in pitch from 45-55 degrees and make sure the line you pick has a runout in case you fall...if not you could be going into or over some serious rock/cliff bands.
Many people only hike up halfway or until the've reached their comfort level as the higher you go the steeper.
Have fun but use caution as it can be extremely dangerous....
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treewell View Post
It's 3000 verticle feet of climbing from the parking lot to the top of the headwalls so my suggestion is to lay off any heavy drinking the night before. It's a LONG tough hike with a lot of gear on your back hungover...so party when the skiing is done.
Mid April or later is best and ideally you want a warm sunny day when things will soften up....60's or better. There is a serious freeze thaw cycle up there so if it's not warm enough the upper half of the snowfields will be unskiable.
Always hike up the route you choose to ski for obvious reasons.
If you hike all the way to the top be prepared for some SICK steeps off the tops of the headwalls where you can pick wide open lines or tight chutes....ranging in pitch from 45-55 degrees and make sure the line you pick has a runout in case you fall...if not you could be going into or over some serious rock/cliff bands.
Many people only hike up halfway or until the've reached their comfort level as the higher you go the steeper.
Have fun but use caution as it can be extremely dangerous....
Good start on advice, there's a lot more. I've had a great powder day at the end of April, pretty much unskiable(teeth rattling frozen crud), and great spring skiing.
Don't forget to go prepared, especially warm clothes. There's no supplies at the top if you forget something. And just because it's 70 and sunny in the valley at the start of the hike, doesn't mean it isn't 10 below and overcast at the top.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice. ill check out timefortuckerman.com. I hiked it this summer. took about 2 hours. seems like it would be a pretty hard hike with all your gear. i have also heard that because of the snow at the base of the bowl it levels off a little bit near the top. Makes sense because its pretty steep up there in the summertime and alot of rocks.
looks to be a definate experience.

eric
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman View Post
Dude there is no way it is 4.5 miles from Pinkham Notch to the lunch rocks. I haven't been up there in a couple years but I know I've made it to the top of Mt. Washington in about three hours from Pinkham Notch. I'm fat and slow at hiking. I think its more like 3 pretty easy miles, and like 2.5 to Hojo's.
You're right. It's 2.4 to Hermit Lake and another 0.5 to the Lunch Rocks. Feels like 4.5 with a load on.....
post #10 of 24
the best advice any one can offer about tuckerman (imo) is don't be affraid to turn back without getting any turns. if the weather goes south or the slopes freeze up, people can get seriously hurt up there between the elements and unsafe conditions. pick your day well for high chance of sunshine and warm weather, but be ready to call it off at any moment. most folks ski the ravine in april and may, but the rock pile can still have horrible weather and avi conditions during those months. so just be wary of those things and be ready to get turned around.

try going when the sherburne is still open top to bottom so you do not need to hike down. i prefer april to may for this reason, but it all depends on weather and snow conditions.

i have always been more wigged out by climbing up than skiing down. nothing you can really do to prepare for climbing up a boot ladder! you can stop if you feel uncomfortable though but that usually requires either finding a rare safe place to get your gear on or kicking out a shelf for yourself.
post #11 of 24
I like being among the first to walk up in a given day. You might not get the benefit of a well trampled path, but you might not get the disadvantages either. You don't have to worry about that idiot dropping his snowboard a hundred yards above you, and you don't have to worry about killing anyone other than yourself if you fall.

If you walk up before the bowl softens for the day, you get to play an interesting game of roulette wondering if its going to be soft when you do decide to drop in. Several times I've chattered my teeth across the snowfields and come over the lip at just the right moment to have perfect newly soft snow.

The place freaks me out when it is packed...fun, but its definitely not a safety in numbers situation.
post #12 of 24
http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/a...d=110081424 3

Never tried this before - showing a site.

You can see Hermit Lake where HoJo's is located. That is where you would stay if you choose to camp.

This shot is not of the ravine itself. This is Dodge's Drop above Hilllman's Highway. You can also see the trail that leads to the bottom - Pinkham Notch. You can usually ski down to the bottom until the beginning of May if you don't mind a few nicks in the p-tex.

I grabbed the link from T4T.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson View Post
You're right. It's 2.4 to Hermit Lake and another 0.5 to the Lunch Rocks. Feels like 4.5 with a load on.....

next time, climb sober
post #14 of 24
I skiied there many times in my teens and early twenties when camping was allowed in the Ravine. I've skiied most lines at Tuckermans including Dodge's. At its best it is great skiing, scary skiing, challenging skiing. All in all though nowadays it is overpopulated with gawkers there for the show. Much of the good skiing in the Bowl and on Hillman's and Left Gully gets spoiled by over use and either mashed into deep mush or heavily moguled. It is a far cry from the great Spring corn skiing on challenging terrain that was once conmmonplace there. Walking up and down in the crowd is a bore. I dunno, maybe I'm just getting old. Hopefully in time the geeks and gawkers will find something else to do and we will see a return to great skiing.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
Hopefully in time the geeks and gawkers will find something else to do and we will see a return to great skiing.
I really doubt that the "geeks and gawkers" will be going anywhere anytime soon. I actually like the Lunch Rocks crowd and watching the insanity of skiers trying to get down a slope they obviously have no business being on. It would seem weird to be there without the crowds.

I'm not a big fan of large crowds -- in fact, I usually opt for activities that won't be crowded. But sometimes the crowd is what makes it worthwhile. Tuckerman Ravine in April falls into that latter category, at least for me.
post #16 of 24
I`ve skied The Tuckerman fairly often in the past...Particularly the left gully and Hour Glass. Most of the time ,when I`ve been there--Hillmans was pretty bad.....We were fortunate enough to get a shelter , someone had left clear plastic on the open side---we spent 2 days in our bags and ate while in our bags....the weather,wind, rain, snow etc was really bad----socked in with 125+ mph winds for the 2 days...couldn`t even walk down for a case of beer--but, had a bit left over...the other days were glorious....there were not many people there----we often left our skis at the lunch rock overnight and slept with our boots in our bag to keep them warm.... we had one person with us --his first trip. he thought he needed form to ski there---didn`t realize one did what was necessary to lose altitude in a hurry---firm , solid farmer turns and edge sets.form goes out the window at Tuckerman..falling is not an option.. so .he trekked up beside the left gully and started across the bowl---he would not make that first turn down--kept a traverse almost all the way across to the right gully , which was pretty bad..finally made it down......he made one trip in 5 days.....he would walk half way and ski down....later he opened a ski shop and made us promise not to tell......
The Tuckerman didn`t seem to have the crowds then --just after memorial day......the last trip was about 8-10 yrs ago...we kept counting our quarters for the coin-op hot water shower at the rangers office at the bottom...that was our trip.....we just kept going back---it put skiing, fashion and tech. in perspective and made self preservation paramount....it is mtn. sports at it`s best and in proper perspective.
post #17 of 24
I've skied down the Sherburne ski trail when the last two-thirds were grass on a pair of Dynastar Verticals. You'd be suprised at how little damaged was incurred. I've actually used them since.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
I skiied there many times in my teens and early twenties when camping was allowed in the Ravine. I've skiied most lines at Tuckermans including Dodge's. At its best it is great skiing, scary skiing, challenging skiing. All in all though nowadays it is overpopulated with gawkers there for the show. Much of the good skiing in the Bowl and on Hillman's and Left Gully gets spoiled by over use and either mashed into deep mush or heavily moguled. It is a far cry from the great Spring corn skiing on challenging terrain that was once conmmonplace there. Walking up and down in the crowd is a bore. I dunno, maybe I'm just getting old. Hopefully in time the geeks and gawkers will find something else to do and we will see a return to great skiing.
Dodge's is on the menu this spring. How does it compare to for example Left Gully, The Chute, and The Sluice. Is the exposure different and how does it compare in steepness and length?
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treewell View Post
Dodge's is on the menu this spring. How does it compare to for example Left Gully, The Chute, and The Sluice. Is the exposure different and how does it compare in steepness and length?
Dodges

Dodges is not skiable some years. Every year seems a bit different the way the wind fills in different areas of terrain. My recollection is that there was no run out, just a pile of rocks at the bottom hence the no-fall designation. It is much steeper than most standard fare at Tuckermans. Once you get used to skiing steeps though, the lower portion of Dodges seems like nothing special, steep and narrow but nothing you haven't done before, specially if the bottom is a little mushed out. The top portion, though is something else. Often a cornice forms there and even late in the Spring, if it is still skiable, when the cornice has receded, the slope there may approach vertical. As a rule you do not want to ski something you have not walked up but the top section may be too steep for kicking steps. I think people usually walk around the top section. The pitch on Dodges is said to be around 60 degrees. To me the top seemed more than that. That's probably the intimidating part, launching yourself down the start. The first few turns for me were just survival turns, knowing that falling was just not an option. I actually think you could fall on the lower section and be Ok, particularly if the snow was soft. the top though, simply looking down it, you realize there would be no stopping if you fell. You would be bouncing around the rocks that are up there if not free-falling. Greet feeling after its all over though!
post #20 of 24
[oops!)
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
You can also see the trail that leads to the bottom - Pinkham Notch. You can usually ski down to the bottom until the beginning of May if you don't mind a few nicks in the p-tex.
I always go the third or 4th weekend of April. the best I ever got was 2/3rds of the way down.... I did miss them closing the lower third by 1 day, I think 2 years ago. But walking down is easy. I'm in lousy shape, carrying a 65 pound or so pack, had to walk the entire tuckerman trail and with 2 stops for a cigarette, I made it down in 45 minutes this past spring.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn View Post
I always go the third or 4th weekend of April. the best I ever got was 2/3rds of the way down.... I did miss them closing the lower third by 1 day, I think 2 years ago. But walking down is easy. I'm in lousy shape, carrying a 65 pound or so pack, had to walk the entire tuckerman trail and with 2 stops for a cigarette, I made it down in 45 minutes this past spring.
My first trip was in 1966. It was May 15th and I was in 6th grade. We hiked up with our skis held in a wooden vice like thing. We tied a rope around our waist and to the skis and dragged them up - on the snow. There was a ton of snow that year. We skied Hillman's.

On the way down we skied the Sherburne trail, all the way to the bottom.

Went back every year until I graduated from college. In spring I would spend a month there, after school. When you are there for some time you get to see the dangers - ice falls, hard surface human falls(!), rocks and falling into water falls. I got to ski it all in the ravine.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoweguy View Post
next time, climb sober
Big talk from a guy from Philly.

One thing for sure, I have always been smart enough to know that Tuckerman Ravine was no place to be with impaired judgement.
post #24 of 24
we always go the weekend after Easter, be prepared for anything the weather changes fast and you should go up with someone who has skied it before or get all the info you can. I have done it 4 years in a row, (had to turn around one year because of weather) it is always my favorite weekend.
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