Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuckerman Ravine, Southeast Face of Mt. Washington, White Mountains, New Hampshire

Tuckerman Ravine is one of New Hampshire’s unique natural resources.  My wife Catherine, friend Dundee, and I did an uphill 2.4 mile snow and ice packed hike to the base of Tuckerman.  The short video below shares highlights from our 4 hour hike via the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.  Our trek starts with the 2.5 hour hike from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch Hut up to the Hermit Hut Shelter, and includes our 1.5 hour downhill hike return to our car. 
Tuckerman Ravine is a vast open bowl perched on the southeast slope of Mount Washington, the highest mountain in the Northeast at 6,288 feet. In the spring snow depths can reach 100 feet in the Ravine.  

Needless to say, Tuckerman Ravine is a very dangerous area subject to avalanches and falling massive blocks of ice the size of automobiles. It also is very exciting and challenging for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts. The open porch of the Hermit Hut shelter is a great place to watch the skiers.

How do I get to Tuckerman Ravine?
Tuckerman Ravine can only be reached by hiking uphill - there is no ski lift, road, or method of access - other  than to hike.  You start your hike (many wear their ski equipment on the hike) at Pinkham Notch to the Hermit Hut Shelter (http://timefortuckerman.com/tuckermanravinemap.html).  Then you hike straight up the headwall of the Ravine, so you can extreme alpine, snowboard, and telemark ski.  This video shows skiers on the Hillmans Highway, Left Gully, and Bowl.

Once reaching the Hermit Hut Shelter, extreme alpine, snowboard, and telemark skiers continue to climb another hour or so up to the headwall of the Ravine’s various self-made ski lanes.  This video shows skiers on the Hillmans Highway, Left Gully, and Bowl

A Training Hike for Us

Later this summer Dundee and I with five friends plan a 10 hour hike to the peak of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak at 5,269 feet, and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.  (http://www.northeasthikes.com/knife-edge-katahdin-baxter-state-park-maine/).  We are using this Tuckerman Ravine hike to begin building our physical endurance, and at the same time enjoy this marvelous extreme ski ritual of spring in New Hampshire.

To see a graphic of Tuckerman Ravine ski routes go to Time for Tuckerman.

Microspikes or Crampons?
My video says we put on "crampons" on the trail.  In fact we used "microspikes".  To learn the difference go to Microspikes or Crampons?  For most hikers in the Whites today microspikes have replaced crampons - and some of the older hikers still refer to crampons when they indeed wear microspikes.

Winter and Spring Travel for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines
A good reference for people for winter and spring travel is run by the Tuckerman Ski Patrol www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org. This site gives people information from November to Memorial Day on avalanche danger and snow/ski reports for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines.

AMC: Avoiding perils from the Tuckerman Ravine abyss:
Here is a quote taken from Rob Burbank's Union Leader April 3, 2016 Outdoors with the AMC: Avoiding perils from the Tuckerman Ravine abyss:
 (http://www.unionleader.com/article/20160403/NEWHAMPSHIRE03/160409925#sthash.Frhjcxe1.dpuf)
"SPRING CONDITIONS in Tuckerman Ravine have been variable, and U.S. Forest Service snow rangers recommend that skiers looking to take on the ravine's notoriously steep terrain obtain and heed weather and avalanche advisories posted at the Appalachian Mountain Club Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, Hermit Lake Shelters, and online.

Tuckerman Ravine is an undeveloped ski area in the White Mountain National Forest. Rangers at the Mount Washington Avalanche Center post advisories on weather and terrain and issue avalanche ratings at mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.

In addition to the precipitous terrain, ravine visitors should be prepared to deal with varying conditions, which can include icy patches, crevasses, and undermined snow. Add to that, car-sized ice chunks breaking off the ravine's upper reaches and hurtling into the Bowl, and the dangers posed by avalanches.

The snow-covered walls of the ravine are highly reflective, and visitors should protect eyes and exposed skin by wearing sunglasses and sunscreen.

Ski runs in Tuckerman Ravine are steeper than routes at nearby developed ski areas. Adding to the challenge, skiers must work for their runs by hiking uphill for 2-1/2 miles or so to reach the ravine. There is no ski lift, no snow grooming, and no indoor shelter at Tuckerman Ravine. But it does boast some of the most challenging terrain in the eastern U.S., making it a magnet for accomplished skiers and snowboarders, and legions of spectators who also make the climb to take in the scene.

Weather and trail conditions can also be found by clicking on the "Conditions" tab at outdoors.org."
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"Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle ($3.99) and hard copy at Amazon.com ($11.95)

1 comment:

  1. Great experience, Steve! Thank you for sharing!

    Ann

    ReplyDelete