It’s not over… \:D/
After a postponed trip last weekend due to the high probability of heavy rain, I was hoping this week would be better. Forecast for this weekend was rain on Saturday, 40% chance of rain on Sunday. Showers in the morning + in the late afternoon. Yikes!!! 😕 We were going to roll the dice.
A few weeks ago I was hoping to hit the snowfields and/or Great Gulf once the autoroad opened, I had never done this, unfortunately snow was rare on top in June 07. After last week canceled trip and based on some valued info, reports and comments that was given to me, I decided that the only way to get some meaningful turns to be had was in Tucks.
I left Ottawa on late Saturday afternoon. Two hours later, I picked up my friend SuperNat in Montreal which had finally decided to join me on this trip after a few flip flops. “When do you get a chance to ski in June?” she asked herself. Another 90 minutes and we were at US Customs, to our surprise, the border guard didn’t seem surprised when we mentioned that we planned to hike AND ski at Mount Washington. His answer was “Going to ski the Headwall, are you?” I guess that this man knew the attraction of this place called Tuckerman Ravine. 😯
It was getting dark and as we were driving on I-91 toward St.Johnsbury, we saw a U.R.A. (Unidentified Running Animal). It was definitely not a deer, probably not a Moose either. It seemed big and dark and ran across the Interstate, it ran like a cat? Was it a bear, we were even speculating that it might have been a Mountain Lion? We’ll never know for sure. It was foggy and once we got off the Interstate, it started to rain. This time we really saw a Moose up close on Highway 2. We arrived at the Motel in Gorham just before 11pm.
THE NEXT DAY – SUN(?)DAY
Forecast still called for showers after 2pm, regardless, we didn’t start hiking up until 9:25am. It was hard to determine what to put in the backpack clothes wise, I ended up bringing too much. No fleece, jacket or extra shirt needed, but you never know. As we started hiking up, the temps might have been around 60F at Pinkham Notch. It was muggy, it was the latest I’ve ever hike the Tuckerman Ravine Trail with skis and boots on my back. Let’s say that he weren’t setting record pace as we got passed by 2 groups of skiers (total 4-5, I believe). We arrived at Hermit Lake, we took 30-40 minutes break to eat. The temps here was 61F. At this point, we could clearly see that this was late in the season. A tiny patch in Hillman Highway (a few feet at the most), all the surrounding was very green where trees were. The Bowl, a collection of discontinued patches except a right diagonal toward Sluice.
It took us an extra 50 minutes to get to the Bowl, I had time to take a few pictures of the steep steps up the trail as I was faster than SuperNat. The playground was getting clearer as we got closer. Nothing really left in Left Gully, a tiny crevasse patch at the bottom of Chute with no runout. The snow in the Bowl was fairly low and the only place to ski (safe and smart place) was up along Lunch Rocks. The only skiers and boarders were the ones that passed us during the hike. All of them had finished their day as we hiking up the slope at 1:20pm. I measured my first run from the top of the snow and not the Bowl all the way to the trailhead, as being 130 meters in vertical (427 feet). The slope was up to 37 degrees. The hike up took me approx. 20 minutes. As we hiked up, we could clearly hear the water rushing under the snow at the level of the waterfall. You could get a real good view of the Bowl and the crevasses and waterfall from this point of view. I took a few pics as I was waiting for Natalie to make it to the top.
Slightly below the top part, the snow was narrower and you didn’t want to get close to skier right as a huge hole was running across the cliff. After that it was the area was fairly wide open. As I got at the bottom, I started heading up again, as for Natalie, she was calling it a day. She had fun, but we had a rough week behind and ahead for her, so she didn’t want to over do it. Oh yeah, the run took about one minute, but it was fun!!! 😛 After my second run, I decide to take a breather and eat part of my lunch. Instead of leaving right away, especially that dark clouds were moving in, I decided that I had to return to the top for one last run. The snow was soft, but not too soft. The top of the snow was undermined on the edge with a tiny hole (10″ across) in the narrowness part maybe 30 feet from the top.
I had never seen Tuckerman Ravine with so few people, maybe 5-10 hikers made up this way during the 2 hours we were up there. I saw one person climbing up Lunch Rocks to eventually cut across the top of the snow to make to the rest of the Tuckerman Ravine hiking trail. We left the Bowl at 3:30pm and eventually left Hermit Lake at 5pm. The hike down was hard and definitely notice that I need a better system with my skis. The tail of my skis kept hitting my legs, which was extremely annoying to say the lest. I don’t think that this old backpack was conceived to carry skis, even if there are some side straps. The ski are too low and I had to readjust my skis on my pack 3 times in the 2 hour hike down. Oh yeah, the rain never happened and the sky was blue bird. We got at the bottom slightly before 7pm, I spent the best $1 I even did, I took a shower at Pinkham Notch. Then we headed back for the looong drive to Montreal with a stop for some delicious Pizza at House of Pizza in Lancaster. Finally made it to Natalie house at 1am, Natalie wished me happy birthday and I was then off to Ottawa. I eventually got to bed at 3am, happy of a beautiful day of skiing.
Suunto data info:
Hiking and skiing: 9h26
Ascent/Descent: 1077m (3533ft)
Skiing: 3 runs from 360m (1181ft)
Hiking up to ski: 70 minutes
Skiing: maybe up to 3 minutes
My mom would say that we are CRAZY!!! But it was way better than staying home and cleaning the house.
No regrets, this trip was definitely worth it. 8)
PS. Sorry Natalie and I took many pictures, but none of us have digital cameras. 😮 Maybe I’ll scan and post the best pics in a few weeks***.
***edit: pictures took 5 years to be posted online, they were posted on June 10, 2012.
Tuckerman Ravine – June 10, 2007
Text originally published on Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:16 am on firsttracksonline