Tuckerman Ravine and Mt Washington

July 26, 2014.

This hike was planned for a little while as Andy has been wanting to do Tuckerman Ravine. So fresh off doing Glen Boulder and Boott Spur last week to see if I could handle this hike I am ready to go back up to Washington for the second week in a row. Meeting everyone (Andy, Phil and Jen) at 7 at Pinkham Notch and we are ready to go.

Simple little plan, hike up Tuckerman Ravine Trail all the way to the summit of Mt Washington and then back down via Lions Head Trail. Great day for hiking as the temps are in the low 50's and the sun shining brightly. First stop is the short side trip to Crystal Cascade, the same cascade I stopped at on the finish of last weeks hike.

Back to the "trail" as you can see in this picture it is more of a rocky road than a trail.

Continuing my string of turning my ankle as we get about a mile up the trail. Damn it hurts and every time goes numb for a minute or two. Walking gingerly on it we continue up past the junction with Huntington Ravine Trail, hoping to get to that one by summers end, and a few minutes later the view up to ole George and Lion Head.


The hike up is pretty mild as the trail gains elevation at a pretty steady rate. Less than two hours from starting and we reach Hermit Lake Shelter and all of Tuckerman Ravine is right in front of us.

Funny thing is it does not look as daunting as I had imagined. Don't get me wrong it is wicked impressive and massive but noway as intimidating as all the hype makes it out to be. I guess that is because it is July and in winter it is supposed to be a different animal. I'll have to check it out later this winter as I need to get Boott Spur Link anyways. That and Andy wants to ski this at some point so plenty of reasons to come back. To the right is an impressive slide, Hillmans Highway, made worse by Irene a few years ago. It is also a popular ski route during the winter.

A zoom in and the trail going up the headwall is visible from the shelter.

Taking a break to refuel before heading up and there are a couple of chipmunks running around on the deck to entertain us. Packing up and heading out and soon the terrain begins to change.


It is impressive where all the rock or I should say boulders have fallen off through the ages and line this area. We pick our way up and the surrounding area is impressive. The views into the deepest part of the ravine where the water rushes down in and looking behind us are the Carters and Wildcats across Pinkham Notch.


Up at the first aid cache the view of the headwall is unobstructed and all the water coming down over it.


The hikers up ahead of us are just little specks in this massive ravine.


A look at Lion Head from the trail and Andy steadily making his way up.


As we get higher up the clouds are rolling by overhead. We are protected from the winds in the ravine so it will be interesting to see what it is like once we get over the headwall.

Getting closer to the main waterfall.

A video of the waterfall.

The gang at the top of the waterfall where the trail crosses the stream before it plunges over the edge.

A look down into the ravine from the top of the falls and the top of the falls.


The final push to the top of the headwall and reaching it the summit is still a ways away.


At the top of the headwall a view over to Lion Head with the Carters and the Wildcats.

A view over to where I was last week on the Lawn Cutoff.

The winds up here are in the low 30's as the clouds roll in and out possibly ruining a view day up on the summit. A view over to Boott Spur and a look up to the disappearing summit of Washington.


A quick stop at Tuckerman Junction and across the way Monroe is visible for the first time today.


Making the final push and I reach the top of Tuckerman Ravine Trail at the Auto Road and wait for the rest of the gang.


A few minutes later and they all join me.



Then the way over to the summit and we get in line at the crowded summit. Still think they should have two signs up here. One for the tourists and one for the hikers!


Inside to the crowded cafeteria and a repeat of my lunch from last week, two steamed hot dogs. A good half hour break for lunch and then outside for some pics as the clouds allow for some views. Looking east to Ball and Nelson Crag which are another redlining trip in the future. The northern Presis of Jefferson, Adams and Madison are cloud free also.


Two trains leaving the summit not far behind each other.


Just behind the train there is a white post on a pile of rocks. It is about 200 yards from the summit and the final resting spot of Lizzie Bourne. Back in September of 1855 she was hiking up from the Glen House with relatives when the summit clouded in with fierce winds. Not able to go any further she lay down and died that night. They had no idea how close they were to the summit and safety.

After spending quite some time on the summit it is time to start heading down the way we came up, Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The trail (jagged rock pile is more like it) is crowded with hikers heading up and down. While making my way down I roll the right ankle again and in slow machine crumple down on the rocks. Son of a B it is painful when it happens but soon I start up again gingerly make my way down. This is like the fourth week in a row I have rolled my ankle twice each time. Just thankful I haven't broken it yet. We make it to the junction with Lion Head Trail and make the left turn onto it. Just a short distance is the junction with Alpine Garden Trail.


Lion Head is just ahead. Across the way a different perspective of Tuckerman Ravine's headwall.


Reaching Lion Head and another look at Tucks.


Andy looks so small with Boott Spur in the background. And looking down at the drop off from Lion Head.


We continue making our way down Lion Head and I look back and still can not see the profile in the rock that gave it its namesake.


It is a slow steep descent and finally seeing where our end destination is, Hermit Lake, it is close but not close enough.

A couple of rock ledge climb downs mixed in with a ladder and we make it back to the junction with Tuckerman Ravine Trail just below the shelter. Back down towards Pinkham Notch and as we approach the junction with Raymond Path I get red lining greedy and let them know I'll meet them down the trail at the next junction. I head down Raymond Path and this is a great little section of trail that is so different from Tuckerman Ravine Trail. I make quick work of this section and reach the junction with the Huntington Ravine Fire Road, the winter route up to Huntington Ravine.


Heading down the fire road and I reach the junction with Tuckerman Ravine Trail before the rest of the gang gets there. From there it is the usual slog out back to Pinkham Notch as the few miles seem to go on forever. Seems like every exit ends up feeling like that where time seems to slow down and the miles go really slow. We all make it back to Pinkham Notch and take our final pic of the hike.


Two great weeks in a row on Washington and another great day out with the family with an excellent route choice by big brother. Where to go next weekend?

Final numbers: 8.4 miles, 9 hours and 40 minutes.

Redline Miles: 5.2, Total to Date: 523.7