Tuckerman Ravine

April 30, 2017.

While there is still snow in the bowl we are going to check out the skiers in Tuckerman Ravine. Andy has wanted to do this for a while and it has interested me to see how much snow actually accumulates in there. The Bowl averages over fifty feet of snow every winter due to it being blown off Mt Washington into the ravine where it collects. Arriving at Pinkham Notch and it looks like a beautiful day. The weather forecast is for rain much later in the day so hopefully they got this right. A zoomed shot of Tuckerman Ravine from the road and there are already skiers climbing up the headwall.


Supposed to meet Andy and Nancy at nine but I couldn't resist showing up early in hopes of getting a parking spot in the lot. I couldn't believe the lot on both ends were already about filled when I pulled in. I did score a spot about a hundred feet from the Visitor Center. So I waited for a while and watched all the skiers pack up and take off up the trail. We got started sometime after nine and soon reached Crystal Cascade where the fall was roaring. I even caught a faint rainbow that the mist had made above the base of the fall.


We bare booted up to about 2500' then stopped to put on the spikes. The trail was bare for a bit then the packed down snow began from all the traffic the trail has seen during the winter. We passed the junction for Huntington Ravine Trail and shortly after the first look at Lion Head from the trail.


Fifteen more minutes up the trail and through a small opening in the trees I spy a waterfall way up in Raymond Cataract. There once used to be directions to get there in the guide book and some people still venture up to the Alpine Garden Trail via it. Supposedly the "trail" leads behind one of the waterfalls which would be a cool site to see someday. Add that to the bucket list!


Arriving at the Hermit Lake Shelter in under two hours and the crowd there is continuously growing. I was mildly surprised that it wasn't more crowded considering the parking lot was full when we left and people were starting to park on the road. A look up into Tuck's and there didn't appear to be that many skiers up on the "slopes" either. Where were all these people hiding? I also found it curious that while we were standing there watching and trying to figure out where to go not many of the skiers were heading up. Maybe it is more of a social event than a skiing event.


From this vantage point there were only about a dozen people heading up The Chute, one of the trails on Tuck's. We packed back up and started making our way up to the base of the ravine to get a closer look at the action. Halfway up I saw a skier wipe out on the Left Gully and go for quite the ride. I can't imagine how he didn't get hurt as he slid from one side to the other in the narrow run and then back. Just above the top left of the picture is where the guy started his slide.


Reaching the floor of the ravine and again I couldn't believe there was not more people here. The number of skiers just didn't correspond to the number of people in the parking lot.

What I found more surprising was the lack of skiers actually coming down. We probably spent thirty minutes on the rocks waiting for some runs and maybe saw a half dozen people come down.

Soon after arriving it started spitting rain/sleet and then the wind kicked in chilling us quite a bit. Not letting up we packed up and started heading back. On the way down it was a fairly consistent line heading up which made for a lot of stop and go. I will say it was amazing seeing all sorts of people underprepared for the conditions. Parents bringing their kids to ski and wearing only sneakers struggling up the ice and snow. Others in shorts with no coats not knowing what awaits them once above the scrub with the cold wind. I tried to find a comparison shot but it was hard not having any reference point but this is the best I could come up with when we were last up here in 2014.


All in all a pretty good day even though it started out sunny and clear then turned cloudy and cold. I would have liked to seen more skiing but I'll come back another time and check it out. I also want to get back later in spring to check out the snow arch that forms near where the trail heads up the headwall. Check it out on Google images as it is pretty cool to see but not as cool as in person.

Final numbers: 5.8 miles, 6 hours and 5 minutes.

Redline Miles: 0, Total to Date: 1296.0