E-mail Sent Before The Second Expedition

Second Annual Tuckerman Ravine Hiking/Skiing Expedition:

That's right... it's time for Tuckermans... here are the current details... the weekend of Friday April 9th through Sunday April 11th has been chosen for the expedition... theses dates are now 100 % certain... so far we have 3 confirmed members coming from the Baltimore, MD area and 1 from Hoboken, NJ (you know who you all are)... we also may have some people joining us from unknown parts of Connecticut, North Andover, MA, Cornell University, and the NYC area... bottom line, at least 4 people will be doing this, maybe a few or a bunch more... here are the tentative plans... the base camp for our expedition will be the Royalty Inn in Gorham, NH (1-800-43-RELAX)... last year they had rates (off-season for them) which were something like $50 for a single room and pretty much the same for 2 people in a room (i.e. $25 each)... if you're making reservations, ask about the "Tuckerman Ravine Special" that you saw somewhere on the internet... that's what got us the best rates last year (not sure about this year)... we haven't made any reservations for rooms yet but from last years experience (we stayed there on 4/11 and 4/12/98) it won't be a problem to get a room at the last minute... despite the reasonable price, it was a very nice motel with an awesome indoor jacuzzi as well as a steam sauna and a heated indoor pool... what more could you ask for ??? ... the folks from Baltimore will be flying into Manchester, NH at 1:30 PM on Friday and should be at the Royalty Inn by 4 or 5 to meet up with people and organize the expedition throughout the evening... assuming the weather and avalanche conditions are favorable, we will hike/ski Tuckerman Ravine on Saturday and ski at Sunday River (a huge commercial ski area with actual electro-mechanical ski lifts !!!) in Maine on Sunday... if it makes more sense to do Sunday River on Saturday (is that legal ???) and Tuckermans on Sunday, we will do that... if the avalanche conditions stay "HIGH" or "EXTREME" all weekend, we can alway ski Sunday River both days and if it's raining at Sunday River, we can always drive a little farther north and ski somewhere else... by the way, Sunday River is about a 30 minute drive from the Royalty Inn...

A little info about Tuckerman Ravine and our expedition (maybe this should have come first)... Tuckerman Ravine is a classic high mountain bowl located about a thousand feet below the summit of Mount Washington (2nd highest mountain east of the Mississippi River)... it accumulates snow depths of up to 60 feet in a typical winter and is therefore a great place to ski in the spring and summer... you could go there in the winter but it's usually too cold and windy and dangerous (avalanches, whiteouts, etc.)... the problem is that you have to hike several miles and go up about 2,500 vertical feet before you get to the base of the skiing area... you also (obviously) need to carry your skis and boots on this trek, if you want to ski when you get there... it's definitely a challenge but if you are resonably fit and do some training beforehand (stairmaster 30 - 60 minutes with 25 - 50 pounds in a backpack for a week or two will probably get you ready)... also you will want to do at least one day hike with your skis lashed to your pack to figure out how that's going to work... of course you don't have to take your skis and boots and that will make the trek infinitely easier... just spending a few hours "taking in the scene" at the base of Tuckermans is incredibly enjoyable and probably alot more sane than dragging your equipment up there and trying to ski it !!! ... it's expected that on this expedition we will have some people who will be skiing and some who won't... we are hoping that this year the Sherbourne Ski Trail will still be covered with snow and we will be able to ski down to the bottom of the mountain (avoiding the hike back)... if so, an intermediate difficulty option for those who choose it would be to haul your skis 2/3ds of the way up the trail to the ranger hut and then after watching the action in the bowl, retrieve them to ski back down to the bottom... to give you an idea of a day at Tuckermans, here's our log from last year (as I remember it):

8:00 - big breakfast at the restaurant adjoining the the Royalty Inn

9:00 - arrive at Pinkham Notch (base of Mt. Washington), move the "No More Parking" sawhorse to obtain the final parking space in the main lot

9:00 - 9:30 - buy last minute supplies at Pinkham Notch store

9:30 - start hiking ascent

11:30 - arrive at ranger hut (a.k.a. HoJo's)... change thouroughly sweated up long underwear in port-a-potty... rest 15 minutes... continue ascent

12:45 - arrive at base of Tuckerman Ravine...

12:45 - 1:45 - watch people skiing... watch people falling... watch stupid guy leading his dog along the ridge to the crest of the headwall... watch stupid guy abandon his dog... watch dog start sliding uncontrollably toward rock outcropping... hear ski patroller remark, "we lose 2 or 3 dogs every year"... watch dog miraculously come to a stop 2 feet from certain death... watch "Good Samaritan" skier rescue dog and carry him through the narrow rocky chute... put our ski boots on

1:45 - start our ascent up into the bowl to actually ski

2:30 - after climbing another 400 or 500 vertical feet up the bowl, try to figure out how to put on skis while keeping your balance on a 50 % slope... take some pictures

2:45 - start skiing down the bowl

2:47 - finish skiing down the bowl

2:47 - 4:00 - sit back against a big rock, eat triscuits and cheese-whiz, watch "the show", and wait for everyone else to make it up and down (this was an extremely enjoyable time, "just chillin'")

4:00 - start hiking descent (the Sherbourne Ski Trail was too spotty to ski down last year - it will probably be better this year)

6:00 - arrive Pinkham Notch (approximately 3 hours to get up and 2 hours to get down)

6:15 - drink martinis out of a bota bag (Thanks, Mark !!!)

6:30 - arrive at Royalty Inn

7:00 - 8:30 - jacuzzi, pool, sauna, shower (we did it all)

9:00 - eat about one third of the largest amount of food I have ever consciously ordered in a restaurant... it was sooooo good !!!

10:30 - fall asleep immediately (it was impossible not to)

That's all or at least enough for this e-mail... here's a few URL's about Tucks for further info:


A final note... please distribute this e-mail far and wide to anyone that might be interested in joining us on the expedition (the more the merrier)... they can contact me by e-mail at ablack@home.com or by phone at 410-379-2022... also, any of you unconfirmed expedition members (you know who you are) please check in so that we can make plans to meet in Gorham... see ya soon !!!


P.S. - for anyone looking for a way to get up to New Hampshire from Baltimore/DC area, you can get a roundtrip on Southwest Airways from BWI to Manchester for under $100... their web page makes it really easy to make a reservation... go to www.southwest.com