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Tuckerman Ravine 3/30/08 (Photos)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Finally made the mecca to Tuck's on Sunday 3/30. I took an AVY Level 1 course with a bunch of patrollers, mostly from NJ. They did a great job with the course BTW!

Unfortunately (or maybe not for my weary legs ) the headwall was virtually unskiable due to avalanche danger on the high end of Considerable. Nobody attempted to scale the headwall except for several people who did climb the right gully area.

On Saturday a few of us skinned up to the Gulf of Slides area. It was my first ever attempt at skinning so it took me quite a while to get used to it but by the following day I was loving it. Saturday the wind was howling 80+ mph as we got near the first big slide path. Visibility was bad and it was risky up there so we turned back. There had been ~6" of pow the night before so the ride back down the narrow GOS trail was sweet even though I can't tele for sh1t!

My legs were pretty sore on Sunday but I had to get out and head up to Tuck's since it was a beautiful day with 100% full sun all day and Zero wind!! : After I loosened up, skinning up the trail up to HoJo's was sweet but loong. From there up to the base of the ravine we had to walk and dig a few snow pits along the way for part of our AVY training.

The Ravine was spectacular. But under all that fresh snow there was some nasty rain crust. You could really see it on the North facing aspects. Scary! Hillman's Highway had just slid recently and you could see a river of ice at the lower end of it. Our instructors decided to hold their simulated rescue scenario down there on the debris field. It was a long day but one of the most memorable experiences I've had in a long time.

The Sherburne Trail was in great shape with not a single rock to be found skiing down. Again though, a brutal ride for a newbie tele skier with a big pack on his back but I got down without an explosion. Should be in good shape up there in Tuck's after some of that ice layer melts off though.

Boy, did I take a long nap after I got home from work today though! Here are a few photos:

Steve heading up for Gulf of Slides trail with a pretty big load. Snowshoes for him - no skins.



Saturday on Lower GOS trail




About 1,800' further up the GOS trail



Steve and Chuck checking the snow off GOS trail




Our AVY class ready to head up to Tuck's



Tuckerman Ravine trail (a brief flat spot)




HoJo's on a fine day (a really welcome sight)




The day's report




Ravine view from HoJo's. Still a long steep hike



About 1/2 way up from HoJo's




My newly skinned K2's with a backdrop of really really shiny snow



Some
pit analysis along the way



Gettin' closer




Near the ravine base with Wildcat in background




One of the always friendly Rangers advising on conditions




Yeah - hooray for me :. Now I need to learn to ski those tele-things.




A very smallish little man way out there somewhere




A bit of a slide below or near the left gully




Several skiers did hike up the Right Gully area



Just left of center Headwall



Slogging through some chunks heading back down toward HoJo's



A river of ice below Hillman's Highway with avy debris




More of the ice with tree flagging in slide path




Doing our homework in the debris field




A darn good trip - even without getting to slay the Headwall!
post #2 of 15
Wonderful trip!

Did I ever tell you about the couple I met on the trail in street clothes who really thought there was a Howard Johnsons up there?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Wonderful trip!

Did I ever tell you about the couple I met on the trail in street clothes who really thought there was a Howard Johnsons up there?
LOL!! That's beautiful. I'd have to say they were more than likely from my neck of the woods down here on Long Island. For that, I apologize.
post #4 of 15
Awesome TR!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Did I ever tell you about the couple I met on the trail in street clothes who really thought there was a Howard Johnsons up there?
I don't want to believe this, but I do...

Carve,

I see that there are quite a few members of your group hiking on snowshoes. What are they wearing for boots? I'm assuming that ski boots would not work very well...

Looking into my options for getting myself up there this spring.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm far from an authority on hiking up to Tuck's but most folks on snowshoes were wearing decent insulated hiking or hunting type boots. At least on Sunday you could have gotten to HoJo's on almost anything, with snowshoes or without since the trail was so well packed like a good Intermediate groomed trail. You probably could have made it there in sneakers. But you wouldn't want to hike up in alpine boots.

However, once you got beyond HoJo's things got much more variable. Alpine, tele or other good boots with gaiters were needed. Although there was a pretty good bootpacked path, you could easily posthole up to your crotch in spots if you weren't careful. (Bye bye sneaker!)

Several people I saw hiked up to HoJo's and beyond without skis or snowshoes just for a good hike or to take photos.

The snowshoes worked out very well but I would recommend good ones like the MSR Ascent type. If you want to hike lighter and can ski/skin on tele or AT gear, that's the best way, IMO.

Most snowboarders did use snowshoes. No big floaty ones were required since there was not much deep snow to navigate. I knew we wouldn't be climbing the headwall so I didn't bother to bring crampons for my tele boots. You could probably get by without them though on most days from what I've heard.
post #6 of 15
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Couple of Gaper questions here. How long does it take to get to the top (at a comfortable pace for a person in "average" shape, stopping to rest a couple times)? And, how long of a run is it when you do ski down-typically (vert feet, legnth of run, time, whatever)?

Thanks;

Looks like a great way to spend a day/weekend if I could get out that way.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by krp8128 View Post
Awesome TR!!!



I don't want to believe this, but I do...

Carve,

I see that there are quite a few members of your group hiking on snowshoes. What are they wearing for boots? I'm assuming that ski boots would not work very well...

Looking into my options for getting myself up there this spring.
Every year is different, and it depends when you are going. Late April/ May requires nothing but good hiking boots, since you'll probably only see snow on the last third of the hike to HoJo's or not at all, and it'll probably be packed. Crampons are nice, but not necessary, if you encounter ice on the hike, which sometimes happens also.
post #8 of 15
'nother gaper question: who organizes the avy1 classes? the rangers at Pinkham notch.
cool pics!
the wind has done a number on a lot of the mountains lately
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Couple of Gaper questions here. How long does it take to get to the top (at a comfortable pace for a person in "average" shape, stopping to rest a couple times)? And, how long of a run is it when you do ski down-typically (vert feet, legnth of run, time, whatever)?

Thanks;

Looks like a great way to spend a day/weekend if I could get out that way.
I have to plead a bit-o-gaper myself on that. I actually paid little attention to my watch that day. I just followed the group up, talked to some people along the way, took my time and stopped often to catch my breath. I'd guess I made HoJo's in about 2 to 2.5 hours but it felt shorter. The Ravine floor was another ~30 to 45 minutes.

The run back down seemed much longer than I expected but I struggled with my lousy tele skills and pack so I stopped often. But it's a good long run down. The vertical is about 1,900' to HoJo's and another ~600' up into the ravine.

You can see it all and more on Google Earth, BTW.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by acaffrey View Post
'nother gaper question: who organizes the avy1 classes? the rangers at Pinkham notch.
cool pics!
the wind has done a number on a lot of the mountains lately
This particular class was given and organized by instructors from the NJ region of the NSP, mostly for it's own members but there was some availability for non-members, like me, as well. But they did have some assistance from the local rangers, etc as well.

I'm sure there are other options out there but if you wanted to take such a class next year p/m me and I'll contact my friend to see what they have planned for 2009.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post
This particular class was given and organized by instructors from the NJ region of the NSP, mostly for it's own members but there was some availability for non-members, like me, as well. But they did have some assistance from the local rangers, etc as well.

I'm sure there are other options out there but if you wanted to take such a class next year p/m me and I'll contact my friend to see what they have planned for 2009.
It's on the Apalacian Mountain Club's schedule for 3-15-2008 and assume it's the same one but rescheduled. If you click on the link, and click again, it gives you all the details.

http://www.outdoors.org/about/calend...5&action =day#

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carvemeister
I have to plead a bit-o-gaper myself on that. I actually paid little attention to my watch that day. I just followed the group up, talked to some people along the way, took my time and stopped often to catch my breath. I'd guess I made HoJo's in about 2 to 2.5 hours but it felt shorter. The Ravine floor was another ~30 to 45 minutes.

The run back down seemed much longer than I expected but I struggled with my lousy tele skills and pack so I stopped often. But it's a good long run down. The vertical is about 1,900' to HoJo's and another ~600' up into the ravine.
I usually take about 2 1/2 hours up to HoJo's with an 80 pound pack and I'm way out of shape. If in shape, not wasting time and only carrying a day pack w/skis, it can be done in about an hour. I made it down in 45 minutes last year, but I got into some kind of groove and pretty much ran the whole way. It's always taken me twice as long to get down in the past.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn View Post
It's on the Apalacian Mountain Club's schedule for 3-15-2008 and assume it's the same one but rescheduled. If you click on the link, and click again, it gives you all the details.

http://www.outdoors.org/about/calend...5&action =day#
Not the same class. There is no relationship between that one and the one we took. That AMC course sounds great though, especially with meals and lodging included.
post #13 of 15
"Steve and Chuck checking the snow off GOS trail"


I understanbd that this was an avy skills class, but just out of curiosity, why was the pit dug so far off of and away from the area where real danger lurks? I don't know anything 'bout EC skiing, but that pit seems to be dug in a tree area at least 1000' feet below the ravine. To me, that would not be representative enough of the conditions actually present in the area where the exposure is the worst.

Tele.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
I understand that this was an avy skills class, but just out of curiosity, why was the pit dug so far off of and away from the area where real danger lurks? I don't know anything 'bout EC skiing, but that pit seems to be dug in a tree area at least 1000' feet below the ravine. To me, that would not be representative enough of the conditions actually present in the area where the exposure is the worst.
Very good observation. It would have been impossible to get anywhere near any big exposure areas on Saturday. That was the day before the actual avy class and Steve and Chuck, who are two of the instructors, were just doing some very general snowpack analysis.

That day the wind was blowing 80+ mph in the exposed areas. Where they dug was not that far below the point where we had to turn back. The avy conditions were already known to be very high and there was no possibility of skiing anywhere too far above that part of the trail. No reason to go out near a big slide path in near zero visibility and dig just for practice. In addition, that was the GOS area and the class would be in a completely different area the next day.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Did I ever tell you about the couple I met on the trail in street clothes who really thought there was a Howard Johnsons up there?
My first trip was in 1966 and I kept watching for the orange roof. That was by far the hardest hike I had ever taken. We tied a rope around our waists and dragged the skis.

HoJo's back then was a lodge. It served soup and sandwiches and burgers. There was a big deck with picnic tables and people hanging out with beers and wine. Tent camping was allowed where ever you could find a spot and the area was packed with people. At night there were bonfires and parties.

HoJo's burned down and camping in tents was banned. The big party faded away. The new HoJo's was just a place to check in with a deck.

Sounds like a unique Tuckerman's experience, lucky you and thanks for the trip report.

bz
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