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 (  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.  (  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 This site gives people information from November to Memorial Day on avalanche danger and snow/ski reports for Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines.
"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 ($11.95)

1 comment:

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