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Tuckerman's Ravine - Page 4

post #91 of 105
Quote:

Originally Posted by hespeler View Post

 

Is it possible to skin up the gullies or does everyone bootpack at that point? As I mentioned earlier I don't have any skinning experience yet but will probably, weather and conditions permitting, skin around Mount Cardigan next week.

 

Boot pack. There isn't a zipper line (skin track) beyond the base of the Ravine. Most also hike, although some still skin, from HoJo's through Little Headwall. You can usually skin to a point on Hillman's but after a while the downhill traffic and the pitch mandate booting up the rest. There are other places on Mt. Washington where you can skin all the way. Less steep and far less busy terrain.

 

Some people hike the cog railway, literally. I've done it. We met a crew member coming down it doing an inspection by foot and he let us continue hiking up. It's an interesting walk. Lots of skiing on the west side of the mountain.

post #92 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by treeski7 View Post
 

this whole "fat skis" thing is really getting out of control...

 

and your daughter must be a giant!


oops, sorry treeski7.  I don't know how i came up with 190mm.  it's getting crazy but not that crazy.  my skis are 97 wide. i love them!  i was worried that they wouldn't be good for bumps and tight spots, but they seem to work better than my older skis. but i wouldn't go wider than that. 

 

i have another tuck question.  this year is obviously a late spring in the east, i don't know how that factors in.  From the topo map linked above it looks like the ravine faces directly east, so it will be getting a strong sun - with a melt/freeze cycle until nighttime temps get above freezing.  If this below ave. pattern continues into mid-April when it's might be just above freezing and melting with the sun in the day, I guess there is the likelihood of wicked icy conditions until it loosens up after noon.  So better to hit it a little later in the season when it's not so cold at night, but just cold enough so it isn't slop.  I don't do much spring skiing, so I'm not too familiar with da corn. 

post #93 of 105

You need freezing nights and warm days to get corn. Otherwise it will just become slush as it won't freeze/set up at night. Facing east means you get up early, hike when it is cool to the Ravine and wait until the conditions modify in the sun and increasing temperatures to soften things and develop corn.

 

If it faced west, you'd have a different time table and less time after skiing for apres.

post #94 of 105

With the recent snow and until it gets warm again, someone could get a great day in just skiing the Sherburne. Skin up, ski down, repeat.

 

It should be noted that the Sherburne is periodically travelled by snow cat so isn't a truly backcountry trail. It isn't groomed, though so it can get kind of gnarly if the cat tracks have frozen into previously soft snow. Shift changes at HoJos are at least one reason a cat would go up and down the trail. Evacuations would be another.

post #95 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

>>>snip<<<

 

kletter1man, skinning up the Sherburne trail is how my friends and I would access Mt. Washington. I haven't been on there in 15 years but I don't expect they have changed their methods. We would be going up long before anyone would be thinking of skiing down. If you are skinning up when people are skiing down, you are way too late and deserve ridicule; for being in the 'crack of noon club'. Also, see comments about 'Sherbie' above.

 

<<<snip>>>

Hahaha, I just came back to this thread to make exactly that point, which I forgot to mention!  Nothing has changed.  To amplify on that, skinning up is by far the fastest way up to the ravine.  Unless you're completely out of shape (which hopefully you aren't, and is incompatible with skinning anyway) you'll blow by the hordes on snowshoes, boots, sneakers, etc etc.  The trail is relatively steep and it's a continuous uphill slog.  Hiking up 2000 ft carrying skis + boots + water, food, clothes, beer, etc,  sucks. 

 

Fully agree with everything else, excellent advice.

 

[sidebar:  many years ago -- 35??  - I was up there and a bunch of college kids had packed up a full keg of beer.  I thought that was pretty impressive.  the whole scene on a nice day is something quite amazing.]

 

For entertainment value, the hike alone is worth it on a bluebird warm Saturday in late April or May when thousands go.  There will be people in banana suits, gorilla costumes, kids on sleds, coolers full of beer, lawn chairs, and lots and lots of skiers tumbling down after biting it off the lip.  The crowd is viewing a circus.  This whole thing belies the fact that the hike with skis, boots, and water on your back is a killer haul unless you're young and very fit.  The climb up the face, or up Hillman's if that's your choice, is the last straw for some.  


Take whatever skis you love the most in whatever conditions you encounter.  Why go to all that hiking trouble, get 3/4 of the way up to the top, and discover as the clouds roll in you have brought baby skis when you need big daddy ones?

post #96 of 105

One more thing.... the times I've gone up there in the winter, the Sherburne was bumped up all the way down.  It gets narrow in some spots, so you have the typical New England luge line; in those narrow spots you make your turns where everyone else made theirs, or else.

 

I had no idea any kind of "cat" ever went up that trail.  I didn't even know snowmobiles ever went up.  People manning the huts up there in the NH White Mountains carry everything on their backs; I've seen them with intense backpacks on their backs.  

 

Helicopters are used for serious injury evacs.  I've seen one land in the bowl.  MastersRacer, are you sure that fuel-driven vehicles travel up the Sherburne?

post #97 of 105

I'm positive about snow cats up there. Maybe not now, but I've seen them parked up there and had to deal with their tracks and/or destruction of thin snow.

 

The AMC huts are certainly supplied by burros (dudes with 100+ pound packs), I've known a couple. It's the USFS that uses cats, I think. AMC never.

post #98 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

Treeski, most people in Tuckerman Ravine on any given weekend spring day don't know what skinning is. They'll walk up in sneakers, hiking boots, or even their ski boots. They also don't appreciate the risk despite the many signs along the way about avalanche, ice fall and crevasse dangers.

 

yeah, now i'm not really sure why that surprised me. i didn't even learn what it was until fairly recently. must have been in an impatient mood.

 

MR, lots of great info in that post - thanks. i've been thinking about heading up this spring with a friend, so this is all helpful for me too.

post #99 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by treeski7 View Post
 

 

yeah, now i'm not really sure why that surprised me. i didn't even learn what it was until fairly recently. must have been in an impatient mood.

 

MR, lots of great info in that post - thanks. i've been thinking about heading up this spring with a friend, so this is all helpful for me too.

 

You're welcome. I encourage people to experience Tucks as it is a part of skiing history. The same camaraderie and excitement that @newfydog's dad experienced is still there.

post #100 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

You need freezing nights and warm days to get corn. Otherwise it will just become slush as it won't freeze/set up at night. Facing east means you get up early, hike when it is cool to the Ravine and wait until the conditions modify in the sun and increasing temperatures to soften things and develop corn.

If it faced west, you'd have a different time table and less time after skiing for apres.

MR, thanks for all the great info in this thread. Can I pick your brain a bit more? Can you expand on a Western facing slope during corn season? Would it behoove someone to start out later in the day to harvest the good snow?

I ask because I assume some of the other slopes you alluded to on Mt. Washington face West.
post #101 of 105
post #102 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by hespeler View Post


MR, thanks for all the great info in this thread. Can I pick your brain a bit more? Can you expand on a Western facing slope during corn season? Would it behoove someone to start out later in the day to harvest the good snow?

I ask because I assume some of the other slopes you alluded to on Mt. Washington face West.


that's a whole different animal.  The west side is skied far less for a variety of reasons.  It's oversimplified, but the wind deposits the snow on west side into Tucks. Some seasons it all but unskiable.  Routefinding is a much bigger deal.   POST THIS QUESTION ON TIMEFORTUCKERMAN and read the trip reports there.

post #103 of 105
Quote:
The Sherburne and GOS Ski trails are in fine shape with new snow blown in

 

It sounds like it is a lot safer at tree line and lower for the moment. Nice skiing too boot. I'll bet Wildcat is OK as well.

 

@hespeler, Where ever you are, when you are considering corn snow, you need to combine the temps at night, the sun exposure and the day time temps to calculate the snow conditions. Calculations done, it is always a good idea to get an early start. It is easier to wait for the right time to ski than to rush for it. You also want to follow the sun, all other things being the same.

 

West obviously gets later sun in NH, so night and day temps are more influential earlier in the day; the sun will be more influential in the afternoon. The closer you are to the data, the better you can make decisions.@kletter1mann rightly points out that the wind effect on the snowpack is totally different. Rather than wind loading, you have wind scouring.

 

I've had some nice skiing on the west side in very soft, spring conditions. 'a totally different animal' for certain.

 

 

Pigs at the summit preparing for a descent. Or something. :D

post #104 of 105

Mt. Washington is likely to get more snow tonight or tomorrow. Right now at Killington it is full on winter with great snow in the trees. It's supposed to get quite cold Sun night. 0 to negative. So Mt. Washington will likely still be in the brutal stages. No corn harvests for some time yet. Any trip there now would have to be well prepared for full winter conditions.

post #105 of 105

On Amazon (free with Amazon Prime)...

 

"Intrepid Descent" captures the classic wilderness experience of skiing Tuckerman Ravine, the infamous and dangerous birthplace of backcountry skiing. Just below the summit of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in New England, the Ravine, with its near ninety degree slopes of rock, ice and snow, has been home to triumph and tragedy since the early 1920's.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Intrepid-Descent-Jeff-Weintraub/dp/B014JOM0XM

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