Back close to where my season started 191 days ago, back on October 28th at Wildcat.
Back to Tuckerman Ravine after a few years of missed opportunities. Four weekends of rain in May 2005, car accident in late April 2004. It had been already 5 years since my last visit.
The April 29th 2001 visit when the snow never soften up with the exception of Right Gully.
This trip was initially planned for the Saturday, however the forecast of rain made us want to take a chance for the Sunday, even if the temps were suppose to cool down.
Sunday morning at Pinkham Notch. We were freezing, did we have enough clothes for the hike up? Temps at the summit was 16F that morning.
We started hiking up at 8am sharp, the hike to Hermit took us 1:45. It was a quiet hike for a Spring weekend, I guess we weren’t the only ones concerned about the snow not softening up. It was a quiet walk with the exception of my old time buddy (aka Lucky Luke on Zoneski) singing roughly translated Red Hot Chili Peppers songs in French (you don’t want to know).
So we got to Hojo at 9:45am and we literally chilled for a while, because temps was 31F and stuff wasn’t going to soften up with this wind. The last part of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail was snow covered, hard and slippery. Not a good sign. Up at Hojo we talked to Porter Fox and Scott Markewitz who were doing a story for next year’s Powder mag. There was also another person doing a story for Associated Press.
After 45 minutes of talking and adding another layer, we headed toward the Bowl. Who was there to meet us? I heard “Hi Patrick” from Mark Renson which I meet at MRG and is also part of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol. The Bowl looked is terrible shape for early May, crevasses were numerous on the Lip side, the runout under the shorten Right Gully was very short. There was a crevasse also in the middle of Chute and the top of Left Gully. The last week weather really didn’t help.
After putting our boots and eating a quick lunch we choose Chute for our first run. It was 12:10pm. The climb lasted 25 minutes and we stopped just under the crevasses. I think that I was able to measure the slope at between 47-52 degrees. The snow was sweet, however the skier-right was still frozen as expected. The Vertical of our descent was 340ft.
Right after, we started climbing the longer Left Gully. This time it took us 45 minutes which included some chatting. The snow was undermined at some places halfway near the rocks. We stopped maybe 50ft from the top Left side which seemed very hard for a climb. There was also a minor crevasse just under the top right corniche. This was probably the best and longest descent possible (without taking to many risks) in Tuckerman Ravine area, even Hillman looked in bad shape. The vertical descent was 660ft.
After a small break, we went for another run. Lower Headwall as high still possible without running into crevasses. 15 minutes and 280′ vert. Lucky Luke decided on a repeat while I skied all the way to the bottom of the Bowl (429 ft vert)
3 runs and 1465 ft vertical for the day. A great day which looked more like my May 7th 1992 visit (except for the snow) – 14 years to the day earlier with the same Lucky Luke. I always said it was always Quality over Quantity. This being said, Sunday was Day 51 in my season – beating last year’s record of 50 set on my last day at Mammoth. 8)
I felt like doing another run, but we had long hike out of the Bowl all the way to Pinkham. Yes, Sherburne is all gone. Followed by a loooong drive back home in Ottawa.
We started our Bowl-Pinkham hike at 3:15pm with pit-stop at Hojo. The hike down lasted 2:15
Drive from Gorham-Lucky Luke’s home in Bromont, QC: 2:45
Then my solo drive from Bromont-Ottawa: 3h.
Arrival at home: 1am
Lines indicate what we skied.
May 5th Picture from http://www.tuckerman.org.
May 7th ski routes. (Left Gully, lower Chute, Lower Headwall)
Tuckerman – 7 mai 2006
Originally posted on Tue May 09, 2006 11:52 pm on firsttracksonline