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Tuckerman

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

A buddy was asking me to go to Tuckerman this spring, so I was wondering if anyone had any advice? Such as best time to go, where to stay in not wanting to camp, what to bring in, how long a hike, etc?

post #2 of 29

I have been talking of going every year for the past 10 years. Maybe this is the year. I hear the hike in is about 5 miles.  

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Whould be a change for me to meet other Bears.

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

Dorry meant to say chance.

post #5 of 29

All your questions will be answered here:  http://www.timefortuckerman.com/

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

 

I have been talking of going every year for the past 10 years. Maybe this is the year. I hear the hike in is about 5 miles.  

 

There's no way it's 5 miles.  It's only 4 miles from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center to the summit.  It's been a while since I've been up there, but I seem to recall it's about 2 miles from the road to HoJo's, another 0.5 miles to the lunch rocks, and then another 0.5 mile to the top of the ravine.

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

That's funny I was looking at the same site just as you posted.  

post #8 of 29

It's been at least ten years since I was up there to ski, great spring 'right of passage' in the finest New England tradition

 

For a little pre Spring Tuck stoke.....

post #9 of 29

Anybody have a copy of that picture that showed the new chairlift on Tucks? That was hilarious.

post #10 of 29

I don't remember how long the trail is, but I hiked up it last spring (no skis) and it was quite a strenuous hike. I've heard that people do it in ski boots, I can't even imagine that. Folks I saw with skis were all wearing hiking boots. A lot of folks had trekking poles, I was wishing I did. It is beautiful though, a fun hike even if you don't want to ski it.

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

 

 

There's no way it's 5 miles.  It's only 4 miles from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center to the summit.  It's been a while since I've been up there, but I seem to recall it's about 2 miles from the road to HoJo's, another 0.5 miles to the lunch rocks, and then another 0.5 mile to the top of the ravine.

As I recall, it's 3.4 mi to Howard Johnson's then .8 mi up the goat path to the headwall.  It's a tough little hike unless you are really in great shape.  Hauling the basics, like skis and boots, means a pack of maybe 40#, if you are day trippin.
 

 

Phil, I talk about it every year too.  I suppose this year will be the same.  Matt's season pass is at Wildcat so he might be more motivated to go., which would put the pressure on me.

 

post #12 of 29

I've done Tucks 3 times and have hiked up twice in regular hiking boots. Went once in March last year and used snowshoes, which was a must for the snowpack at that time. The hike to HoJo's is really not that bad, I'd say on average we get up there in an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the trail conditions. The hike to the ravine floor isn't too bad either, it's once you've started up the bowl, right/left gulley or wherever you go is when you really start to feel it. It's not a bad idea to take some stuff out of your pack and leave it at lunch rocks before you start hiking.

post #13 of 29

Avoid weekends if posibble.  It gets insanely busy at Tucks.  It's busy during the week as well on primo days. 

 

Just a heads up.

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildone09 View Post

 

Avoid weekends if posibble.  It gets insanely busy at Tucks.  It's busy during the week as well on primo days. 

 

Just a heads up.


 

Of course, being there on a weekend just to soak in the atmosphere can be fun as well!  The scene on a blue-bird April weekend needs to be experienced.

post #15 of 29

Yeah the hike isn't that bad. It's going up the bowl that's a bit hairy....

 

You definitely want poles.  If you're thinking of going off the main path up there you'll almost need poles and want crampons depending on the conditions of the trails. It's just they can get tight and be filled with snow/ice.  Travel in the woods on some of the steep sections is worse.  We did a lot of butt sliding.  Actually pack sliding.

But just doing the main trail is usually pretty tame.

Go early enough and you can ski out!  Now you need snow shoes though to get in probably. 

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

 


 

Of course, being there on a weekend just to soak in the atmosphere can be fun as well!  The scene on a blue-bird April weekend needs to be experienced.

 

A good point - the scene is hysterical.  But from a pure skiing point of view, it can be worse than Killington on Presidents Day weekend regarding crowds.

 

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

I was looking at my work sked and I think I can take some time off the last week of April. Would that be too late in the season to go?

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by captainsundance View Post

 

I was looking at my work sked and I think I can take some time off the last week of April. Would that be too late in the season to go?

 

Of course every year is different, and you never know what coudl happen, but considering snow levels so far this year end of April and well into May "should" be great!

 

The definitive source on conditions at Tucks: http://www.tuckerman.org/

post #19 of 29

Go in April or May! Pick a "blue sky" day. Definitely avoid the weekends if you can. I've spent many a day there in my youth. My recollection is its 2 1/4 miles to HoJos's, them a short hike up to the Bowl or to Hillman's, further if you're going up out of the Bowl to the summit. Get an early start. Conditions vary every year and vary greatly depending on the weather. You would have to be extremely lucky to find a day in March that was a great day to be there nevermind not terrifying or at least extremely dangerous.Spring conditions do not normally occur before April. Go there in March or earlier and expect to encounter avalanche conditions or rock hard frozen snow or both. Not that that cannot be fun if you are prepared, but few people will have the skills. The walk in is a drag because its basically a slog carrying your gear up what is called the "Fire Trail". This was a sort of "road" cut for snowcats years ago. It is badly eroded and/or snowpacked. You used to be able to camp up there which is way preferable to having to carry your stuff up there each day but camping is now controlled and limited to a few open shelters. depending upon snow conditions and how early in the season you go, you may be able to ski out on the Sherburne ski trail. It is often possible to ski down from the summit over the snowfield up there and over the LIp into the bowl and out to the road but few people do. You have to hit the place when conditions are just right. The total vertical from the summit down to Pinkham Notch Camp is around 4200 ft.

post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 

It looks like we will go on Friday the first of May, will drive down the day before and find a hotel so we can hit the trail early Friday. Hope to meet other Bears there, Cheers. 

post #21 of 29

Study the "time for tucks" website, there's a lot of good info. The end of April/beginning of May is the best time to go for good weather, but that is not guaranteed. the weather in the valley means nothing, it could be 20 degrees and snowing or raining or 70 degrees and sunny on top regardless of what the valley was like. I've also seen it drop in the bowl from 65 degrees and sunny to 20 and raining in less than an hour, a lot of unprepared people climbing down were quite cold and wet.

There is camping available by Hermit Lake (HoJo's) with lean-to's and a few tent platforms available, but it is limited on weekends. the only thing available is a well for water, and sometimes the Ranger at HoJos sells candy bars and T-shirts.

The hike up is Tuckerman trail (not "fire road"), and has been a hiking trail since the 1800s with people hiking and dying on it since then. A lot of it is eroded, and can be a rock scramble in places, or it can be covered in snow or ice. Usually at that time of year, it is half and half, with the snow line starting somewhere on the Tuckerman trail. The Sherbourne trail runs next to it, and is the ski trail back to Pinkham. It is closed in thirds, so you may be able to ski all the way down from the bowl, 2/3 down, 1/3 down, or none. I've had it all 4 ways at that time of the year, but don't count on it.

Gorham is the closet local town and has a few hotels there, some are flea bags.

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips, I will more than likely stay in Gorham. I don't mind the flea bag hotels, I used to fly in the Canadian North so I have stay in some real jewels. I was looking to use a day pack to carry in my skis, boots, clothes, food, and first aid kit. I see on the Tuck's site that they say to use a pack with a frame but is that really necessary? 

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by captainsundance View Post

 

Thanks for the tips, I will more than likely stay in Gorham. I don't mind the flea bag hotels, I used to fly in the Canadian North so I have stay in some real jewels. I was looking to use a day pack to carry in my skis, boots, clothes, food, and first aid kit. I see on the Tuck's site that they say to use a pack with a frame but is that really necessary? 

 

 

I did this the first time up many years ago. Trust me your back and shoulders will thank you the next and possibly few days after by using a frame pack. A day pack will put a lot of pressure on a very small area, a frame pack will distribute it properly .

post #24 of 29

I always stay at the royalty inn in gorham. big hot tub, big pool, sauna, reasonable.

post #25 of 29

It's been a long time since I skied Tuckerman.  We stayed at a place called Abbot's which was an informal b&b type place very near Pinkham Notch. I remember using a frame pack and stashing it at Hojo's where we changed from hiking boots to ski boots then shouldered our skis from there.  I think I would probably go with a day pack now, one with a ski carrying system and carry it all the way up the ravine.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn View Post

 

The hike up is Tuckerman trail (not "fire road"), and has been a hiking trail since the 1800s with people hiking and dying on it since then.


 

"Fire Trail" is the local term for the trail. It was actually cut as a fire road sometime back in the 30's. That term pertains to its width and the source of funds that the USFS obtained to cut it. This was something of a joke since it isn't even remotely a road. I can't imagine it was ever traversed by any motor vehicle other than a snowcat. There has been a Tuckermans trail ever since the 1800s. Thoreau hiked it and wrote about staying in the old "A" shelter, which was destroyed in an avalanche back in the spring of 1969.. The old trail was still usable when I was a kid hiking up there and skiing every weekend and I often used it as a shortcut. You may even be able to find it although the last time I tried it was unused and almost impassable. If you walk up to Crystal Falls near the bottom of the trail, the old trail traversed left along a narrow shelf above the falls. You're probably correct that Tuckerman Trail is likely the actual name for the current trail. You're right about the Sherburne trail. It will likely be closed in May although I have skiied it as late as Memorial Day after a snowstorm.

post #27 of 29

RE: Where to stay.

If I were driving up from somewhere distant (and southerly) I would probably stay in North Conway. There are many places to stay there and its a relatively short drive from thee up to Pinkhams. If you are coming from points South, you would reach there first. If you were coming down from Quebec then naturally Gorham would be closer and more convenient. The trail up to Tucks starts at Pinkham Notch Camp which is just down the road from Wildcat ski area for those who are familiar with Wildcat.

post #28 of 29

Coming from Ottawa (Ontario) we always stayed in North Conway. Lots of choices. We always did it the May long weekend.

post #29 of 29

Last year five us skied Tuckerman for the first time and had a great experience.  I think it was the second to last Saturday in April.  We lucked out and It turned out to be one of the nicest days of the season.  Blue skies warm temps and no wind on top.  What a day.  The following week another buddy did the trip and was greeted with rain, freezing rain and pea soup fog.  For lodging the five of us rented a condo for $250 a night so each night worked out to $50 per person and we had our own kitchen and living room to lounge around in. 

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