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Tuckerman Ravine


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Figured it's about time I got around to posting a trip report for this one. I had been planning on hitting up tucks the first weekend in May pretty much since before blue closed. Lots of people said they were in, then out, then back in, the out again, so it actually came together pretty last minute. I ended up driving up with Vince from Buckmans, some of you may have met him at blue. We left my house in philly around 4pm or so, just in time to get slammed with NYC rush hour traffic. Great start to the trip...


After the delay from traffic and getting a bit lost in New Hampshire trying to find gas without cell reception for gps, we made it to our campground around midnight. Except that the campground was closed, and since we didn't have cell reception, we never got the message to go to a different campground. After driving around aimlessly for about 45 minutes trying to get cell service, we got a hold of the rest of the crew we were meeting and found out they were at a camp site about 20 miles away. All said and done, we ended up getting to sleep around 3am, got about 3 hours of sleep, and were up with the sun to begin the real journey. The campsite we stayed at was about an hour drive from the Tuckerman ravine trailhead, and after a quick stop for breakfast where I found out my debit card no longer worked, we loaded up our packs and started hiking.




Mount Washington in our sights




Half mile walk to the trailhead from where we parked. 'Twas a bit crowded, to say the least.




The first mile or so of the hike was done in hiking shoes, with all our gear strapped to our packs. 60lbs on your back with an ill-fitting pack was a rough start.




Luckily, I brought skins, so after a mile of dirt and rocks, and another half mile of intermittent dirt, rocks, snow, slush, and mud, the snow became consistent enough to skin. While skinning in and of itself is not really any less tiring than hiking, it was a huge relief to lighten the weight of my pack by trading 35lbs of skis, boots and bindings for a pair of shoes.




The last stretch gets too steep to skin, as I found out when my skins gave out and I started sliding backwards, heels unlocked. Luckily, there was no one behind me to take out, and I managed to grab onto a tree to stop. Skis back on my pack, it was hiking in ski boots with some pretty exciting rock scrambling for another half mile, with the bowl in our sights the whole time.




Finally made it to the base of the bowl, after about 3 hours of hiking, skinning, and climbing!




After a short beer and snack break enjoying the scenery and the radness of people sending the icefall, we started the boot pack up to the top of the bowl. As is evidenced by the photo, I think this was the sweatiest I've ever been in my entire life. The first line we chose was about 45° sustained, passing 50° in some spots.




Snowboarders were basically using their boards as ladders the entire second half of the boot pack up near the head wall. I was pretty much crawling up the snow.




Finally up top, the view did not suck. Photos do it no justice. After a flask of miscellaneous whiskey(?) made the rounds, it was go time.




Ready to drop




Probably the steepest sustained pitch I've ever skied. There was a lot of check turning, and it wasn't pretty, but it was definitely rewarding to know that is pushed my limits, both by testing my fitness just to get to the top, and to ski the line we skied, which was down between the two big rocks you can see on the left of the photo. The beer at the bottom was much deserved.




After relaxing and watching others get rowdy or get destroyed, it was time for round two. Since we were pretty cooked at this point, we opted for an "easier" route. Not quite as steep, but the run would be a bit longer and allow for more turns instead of just trying to manage speed the whole time.




This dude with the air of the day, rode straight into the icefall, aired it out about 50 feet, and straightlined out like a boss.




Sweaty but freezing at the same time, we made it to the top again.




Drop in was a bit tighter than we anticipated.




But opened up for some nice spring turns.




After that run, it was nothing but the hillman highway runout and then a mile or so of hiking back to the trailhead to end the day. Totally exhausting, but totally worth it. We also got to see a some pretty rad views on the drive out.



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Nice report. How long was the drive and where did you stay??

drive up took over 10 hours I think due to traffic, getting lost with no gps, and the campground being closed then getting lost again. Drive home was about 6.5, but we were hauling. Normal driving would probably be closer to 7.5 or 8. We camped at some random state park in the white mountain. Pretty nice spot, close to a stream, good views, passable toilets for a campground, and only $25 a night per car, so way cheaper than a hotel, and my camping gear is probably comfier and cleaner than some of the sketchy backwoods motels up in New England. Tough to beat getting back to the campground after a fun day of riding and cracking some beers and getting a fire going.
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  • 3 years later...
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15 hours ago, momskeeztoo said:

Sad to hear. The person was skiing alone? Probably not a great idea, but sometimes if you really want to do something, and you can’t find anyone to go with, you go alone. 

He might've made it if someone was with him. From these threads it sounds like Raymonds Cataract is basically a narrow icefall with sheer 30' drops.

You won't find me on it, buddy or not.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Justo8484 and I headed up to Tuckermans on Friday night, it was kind of last minute and I think we decided we were going for it on Wednesday night or Thursday morning as the weather looked a bit iffy. We left my place around 3 and got to Gorham NH around 1130. That included a stop in Northampton Mass for some beer and food at Progression brewing. The original plan was to camp but it was raining pretty good most of the day so I decided to book a cheap hotel room. We woke up around 7, had some breakfast and drove about 5 miles down the road to Pinkham Notch visitors center. The lot was not overly full and we were able to park in one of the closest lots. We got all of our gear together and started towards the visitors center, there is a pack scale at the visitors center so we took a quick stop there out of curiosity. Justo's pack weighed in at 57 lbs, and mine was around 44 lbs. Since Im a nice guy and knew my pack would be lighter I threw in a few extra beers just to make sure we would not run out. 

The start of the hike was quite warm, Justo decided to start in hiking boots and I went for the ski boot option since my touring boots have a full rubber sole, hence why my pack was quite a bit lighter. It was very foggy, steamy and muddy and about a half mile in we made it to snow and that made the hiking quite a bit easier. We hiked to the second bridge on the Tuckermans trail and the put the skins on and skinned from there to Hojos cabin. We took a quick break at Hojos to put on actual ski pants and get ready for the variable weather we would hit in the bowl. Skis went back on our packs and we hiked from Hojos to the bottom of the bowl. Took a quick look around while having a snack and a beer and decided we were going to hit Right Gully for our first run. 

The boot pack up Right was pretty uneventful, we took our time and got stuck behind a few people that left us pass as we cough up to them. We decided to put our skis on in a little different area than most of the people up there were, and I set a little boot pack at the top to get to where we wanted to go. A lot of people were behind us so I was kind of in a hurry to get my skis on and get moving before the hoards of people got up to the top as well. I pretty quickly jumped into my skis and started on my way down. I quickly realized that I never took my boots out of walk mode on my second turn and ended up doing a bit of yoga mid run and lost a ski, luckily someone stopped it with their snowboard or it would have been long gone and most likely hit someone at the bottom of the bowl or in lunch rocks. Got my ski back on and made it the rest of the way down, it was a good corn harvest snow and the fog kept it quite soft. 

Another beer and a snack and we started up Left Gully, at the top we decided we were pretty cooked and didn't really want to do the boot pack a third time so we headed over to HIllmans Highway which leads back to Hojos cabin. From the top of the boot pack it is a rock scramble over to the top of Hillmans, luckily we were able to keep another group in our sights on the way over and it even  happened that they were going to the same place. Threw the skis on again, put my boots in ski mode and we started skiing, this was by far the run of the day. By this point the sun had burned off a lot of the fog and it was amazing corn snow and a long steep sustained run to the bottom. 

Another beer and some more food and we started to make our way out on the Sherburne trail, we could ski about half way down, then we had to jump over on to the Tuckermans trail and hike out from there. Overall it was about a 7 hour day, 7.5 miles and about 4k in vert. Such a great day and I cant wait to do it again. Back at the truck we had more beer, then got on the road towards Killington to meet up with Jeff on Sunday. Amazing weekend and a great end to the season. 

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At the start
Beginning of the hike
Still hiking
Putting skins on
More hiking after Hojos
Boot pack up Right Gully
Ski yoga
Right Gully from a distance
Boot pack up Left Gully
The hike to Hillmans
Hillmans Highway
The last snack break
Hike out

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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