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Tuckerman Ravine- NY times article

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
From today's NY Times...
A vast, inverted half-dome, Tuckerman is the kind of place that you photograph with a panoramic lens but still can’t capture. Its volume of snowfall (it averages 55 feet in its deepest spot) and the mountain’s altitude — it’s the highest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 feet — makes the area too dangerous to ski in winter. But it also keeps the snow around deep into spring. It is an anomaly, a piece of the Rockies transplanted back East.

For the entire 2 page article...
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/25/tr...pes/25ski.html
post #2 of 14
So which Bears have skied there? Great article, wish I had know about it on my recent trip to the east. We spent 3 days visiting most of the ski resorts on Hwy100 in Vermont.
post #3 of 14
Too dangerous to ski in winter?
post #4 of 14
Fun to read. It strikes me that NYT is basically just a newsprint version of Epic:

A little TR....

Quote:
On Jay Wilkinson’s hike up to Tuckerman that day, he had said that he was only going to ski the mountain one day, just to get it out of his system. He would do two runs, he figured, and that would be enough. But as he sat on the rocks afterward in the waning sun, packing his gear for the hike down, he found himself reconsidering. “My first run was good, and my second run was better; my next run might be even better,” he said. “Even though I said I was only going to do it once, I may have to do it again.”
Prompting some unsolicted MA...

Quote:
Normal spring skiing usually involves a little jump at each turn to get your skis around in the heavy wet snow — so-called hop turns. Skiing Tuckerman involves something more like “leap turns.” The best run that Sunday was made by a man who flew several feet into the air before each turn, his skis cutting into the mountainside at such a sharp angle that his cheeks looked to be touching the snow.
Which eventually gives way to name calling....

Quote:
“Back in the beginning, skiers were known as wackos. And this goes back to that, because you are a wacko to ski this.”
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Too dangerous to ski in winter?
Avalanche danger. It's pretty steep in most spots and because the elevation is pretty low, they get a lot of freeze-thaw-snow cycles leaving a very unstable snowpack and it's recorded the highest wind on the surface of the earth (236 mph). It's not until they get some serious warm weather that the snowpack stabilizes enough to safely ski there.
post #6 of 14

Hillman's Highway

I skied Hillman's Highway in June of about 1996, I believe. Hillman's is a less avalanche-prone chute to the left of Tuckerman's as you look up from below. I was scared away from Tuckerman's proper by the signs on the trail warning of falling ice hazards!!!

Hillman's looked like an equally fun, if less scary, option. The hike up to the shelter/camping area at the base of Tuckerman's was about 2 hours. The hike up from the base to the top of Hillman's was about another hour - 1500 vertical feet at about 40 degrees straight up in ski boots. There was a constant line of skiers going up - and going down. It looked kind of like the pictures of the lines of climbers near the top of Everest. I was feeling fairly adventurous and athletic until this 75 year old guy came hiking down the trail from the top - he claimed to have hiked up to the top and climbed down just about every day for the past 40 years.

Hillman's has a vertical drop of about 1500 feet, is narrower than Tuckerman's and has a more consistent pitch - 45 steepest near the top http://www.firstchairmag.com/bc/tucks/routes-hill.html . It does not flatten out at the bottom as does Tuckerman's - but does not get as steep as Tuckerman's does up toward the top. Since it was June, there was alot of slush sliding down with each turn - gave the feeling of being caught up in an avalanche - on a small scale - with each turn.

Great fun - wish I had gotten an earlier start, and/or been prepared to stay an extra day. Left New England shortly after than and haven't had the opportunity to return - yet. Some day, I hope to make a day or two of it.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorSkiRuns View Post
I skied Hillman's Highway in June of about 1996, I believe. Hillman's is a less avalanche-prone chute to the left of Tuckerman's as you look up from below. I was scared away from Tuckerman's proper by the signs on the trail warning of falling ice hazards!!!

Hillman's looked like an equally fun, if less scary, option. The hike up to the shelter/camping area at the base of Tuckerman's was about 2 hours. The hike up from the base to the top of Hillman's was about another hour - 1500 vertical feet at about 40 degrees straight up in ski boots. There was a constant line of skiers going up - and going down. It looked kind of like the pictures of the lines of climbers near the top of Everest. I was feeling fairly adventurous and athletic until this 75 year old guy came hiking down the trail from the top - he claimed to have hiked up to the top and climbed down just about every day for the past 40 years.

Hillman's has a vertical drop of about 1500 feet, is narrower than Tuckerman's and has a more consistent pitch - 45 steepest near the top http://www.firstchairmag.com/bc/tucks/routes-hill.html . It does not flatten out at the bottom as does Tuckerman's - but does not get as steep as Tuckerman's does up toward the top. Since it was June, there was alot of slush sliding down with each turn - gave the feeling of being caught up in an avalanche - on a small scale - with each turn.
It's been awhile since I skied there but your observations are correct. Hillman's is quite a bit easier than the other side of the place. Even so it comps to most expert runs anywhere in the country for length and pitch. Here is the rest of the story from the other side of the mtn.

There are areas in the headwalls and beyond that are steep enough that you can loose your footing if not careful because your knee and foot are touching the hill at the same time when you walk up. Then...don't y'all think you just come to the flat spot to put your skis on, that ain't happening. You may be lucky enough to fine a little ledge somebody build in the snow. Place your skis on the ledge and then try to figure out how to get into them.

Assuming you survive all that you can go skiing....if you can find the guts to start the first turn. Assume you do, you are almost at your normal top speed on turn 1 or 2. Now the steep terrain (well into the 50 degree range in areas) is the relatively easy part. There are many crevasses large enough to fall into while you are motoring along at your top speed and deep enough that you won't get out on your own, but that won't be a concern if you fell in anyway. No need to stop though....just upunweight a bit and you'll fly right over it ....litterally.

You really don't need to worry too much about the ice chuncks. You can hear them when they break off. It sounds like a firing a shotgun blast when you decide to let a round off while you are in your garage. They are the size of cars usually, so you can see them pretty clearly. Not too much worry about being hit by one though. They go by so fast that the law of averages are pretty much in your favor.

For those of you that just can't see the picture, head over to the "testing the bullet proof turn" thread and look at the picture of the boarder. That's pretty much what it looks like there.

I do like the MA about how to turn on terrain like this above Pure rotary and hopefully some edge engagement.

I didn't mention all the plaques mounted on the rocks at the bottom of Lower Headwall. Those are a partial list of those that didn't have a good day there.
post #8 of 14
Another view
post #9 of 14
At the top of Hillman's, go skiers right past the rock face, Dodge's Drop. Never skied it but it looks radical.

At the bottom, Howard Johnson's, the new one - old one burned.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

At the bottom, Howard Johnson's, the new one - old one burned.
Maybe not:
post #11 of 14
No surprise to find on Epic 2 other Californians who want to ski or have skied Tuckerman's. I skied 3 runs there on April 28, 1990 the weekend before a business trip. It was very warm, 80+ at Pinkham Notch, in the 50's at the top of Left Gully. Left Gully reminded me of the chair 22 Avalanche Chutes at Mammoth. There were probably 2,000 people there on a sunny Saturday, including an ABC news crew. I saw the ABC piece a few days later and still have a VHS tape of it.
post #12 of 14
Best photo I've seen of Tuckerman's Ravine - from the Harvard/Dartmouth ski races in 1937.
post #13 of 14
I've always liked that picture too.
Odd, but I never noticed the two prominent fresh slides before.
Looks like there are several older ones too.
post #14 of 14

Tuckerman Ravine

I`ve skied the Tuckerman quite a few times... We hiked up ,carrying all of our food and beer stayed in one of three sided shelters for 4 days....had good skiing for 2 days --left gully and hour glass and moved over to the center.....climbing up the left gully our knees and toes were touching the wall, fortunately everyone used the steps that were cut by some one..,we put our skis on by jamming the tails into the snow pack as far as possible and clicking in and away.....the group was made up of patrolmen, ex-racers and ski pros......it was survival skiing-forget the "how do I look attitude"---big old farmer turns. wide track ,jump and lose altitude and set...until it leveled a bit....the beauty is in the execution.....we spent all all of one day in our bags in the shelter...wet, veeeery high winds....cold....cooked on our primus stoves ...just went out for the john......we did take a trip to the base for 2 cases of beer.....
please note that ALL of the garbage you bring up --MUST be taken down---
the rangers are very strict about maintaing eco balance---and it`s the right thing to do......we went in late may--before the memorial day crowd.....
great experience---
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