T2 - Second Annual Tuckerman Ravine Hiking/Skiing Expedition Results
we made it !!! ... we came... we saw... we kicked a** ... here's how it went... the expedition members numbered 6... Allen, Mark, and Stuart were returnees from last year... Paul (who had skied Tucks 10 years ago), Brian, and Kim were new members... Saturday (April 10th) dawned clear and sunny in Gorham although a few evil looking clouds hung over the ridge on the east side of the valley... the weather and avalanche reports looked good so we went for it... we got an earlier start this year... by 6:30 AM we were ordering breakfast and we were on the trail by 8:45 AM... the hike went remarkably well... we got to HoJo's in under two hours, rested a bit, and did the remaining hike to the base of the ravine in about a half an hour... kudos to Brian and Kim who were hiking for the first time with heavy ski boots in their packs and awkward (and heavy) skis lashed onto their packs... we all made a concious effort to keep the pace slow and steady (to avoid getting too sweaty and too out of breath) and that made all the difference in the world... other observations on the hike... the trail was very consistent this year with a nice packed but not frozen snow surface... and what was up with all the dogs ? ... I personally cataloged about 15 breeds (german shepherd, springer spaniel, labrador retriever, golder retriever, beagle, etc.)... it was like the Winchester Kennel Club Show out there... anyway, when we got to HoJo's the wind really started picking up and the clouds started rolling in over the ravine... by the time we got to the base of Tuckermans the winds were gusting to 40 or 50 miles an hour so we scurried over to the biggest rock (wind break) that we could find to assess the situation... after resting and eating a little it was time to ski... everyone had their own "project" so we split up at this point... Brian and Kim got their first taste of skiing in the bowl... unfortunately the skiing conditions couldn't have been much worse (frozen/wind-blown crust mixed with uneven chopped-up crud)... Congratulations go out to them for skiing Tuckermans for the first time (it doesn't get much harder than this)... Mark and Stuart continued their exploration (from last year) of "The Left Gully"... Stuart reached a personal high point climbing in the gully... Mark found some really soft and smooth granular snow to make a few turns in on the right side of the gully during his descent (at least one of us found some good snow)... Allen reached his goal of doing more than one run in the bowl... he and Paul did two runs from "the big rock on the left side of the bowl"... for future reference, the ledge underneath "the big rock on the left side of the bowl" is an awesome place to put on your skis... an unknown skier upon arriving at this ledge was heard to say, "Wow, this is like the Taj Mahal of flat places !"... truer words were never spoken... one of our members "had a (partial) yard sale" in the ravine... this member shall remain unnamed but rest assured that the aftermath was captured on film for posterity (or maybe for blackmail purposes)... when we met up back at the "wind break" rock the weather was getting worse (we were definitely seeing "the dark side" of Mt. Washington) and we decided we'd better get down the mountain quickly... but who's idea was it to try to ski "The Little Headwall" back to HoJo's... what a mistake... we spent most of this part of the descent crashing into each other or into people we didn't know or else getting our skis caught on little trees and finally taking our skis off in frustration and carrying them through unskiable terrain... the highlight of this part of the expedition was watching that guy carrying the snowboard slide down the bank next to the snow bridge and fall into the creek... we thought about rescuing him but he got out pretty quickly and said he was OK... can you say "hypothermia"... at least he was with friends and not too far from the ranger hut... once we got down to HoJo's the rest of the ski out (The Sherburne Ski Trail) was great... the trail was well covered with natural snow and was alot of fun to ski... we all agreed that skiing to the bottom (or close to it) was a lot better (and quicker) than hiking all the way back down... the expedition members celebrated their success by gathering in Mark and Stuart's room and watching womens curling (the winter sport, not the thing they do to their hair) on TV and downing several rounds of Tuckerman Pale Ale... then it was on to the jacuzzi and then off to a feast at Mr. Pizza... finally we went to bed and fell asleep immediately... and that's about it (other than skiing at Sunday River the next day which was great)... for those who participated, Thanks for making the expedition a success and a whole lot of fun !!! ... for those who didn't participate, we'll be doing it all again next year... mark your calendars (for whatever weekend is around April 10th), we'd like to see you there !!!...
P.S. - as always, please forward this message to anyone you think might
be interested in future expeditions... Thanks !!!