Words and video by Jon Miller
Although it’s been nice and cold most of this winter here in the east, we’ve been suffering from a lack of significant snowfall over the past month. However, it turns out that up at the higher elevations things have been slowly and steadily improving ever since a big rain event in early January.
So on a rare bluebird calm day this week I had a chance to tour into Tuckerman’s Ravine for the first time accompanied by a local guide who grew up in Jackson, NH and has spent the better part of his guiding career climbing and skiing every inch of Mt. Washington. Shortly after leaving the trailhead in PInkham notch the snow conditions began improving considerably from the crusty hard base covering the lower elevations.
By the time we were halfway up the Tuckerman’s Ravine trail there was really good coverage in the woods on all sides. Avalanche danger was low to moderate at the posting board at Hermit Lake and a quick 20 minute bootpack later up the little headwall we were standing at the base of the bowl looking up at the bright white walls of Tucks. The lowest avalanche risk was on the right side of the bowl and we ascended The Sluice, dug a snow pit to check the conditions and stability and found things nicely packed down with a decent fout-to-six inches of new snow on top, deposited there by the prevailing winds from the western side of the mountain. Another brief boot pack to the top and I found myself staring down the 50 degree pitch ready to bag a line in Tuckerman’s for the first time ever!
Small fall aside, it was a great run and an experience I’ll never ever forget. The weather gods had smiled upon us.
One thought on “Sneaky Good Snow Up High: Tuckerman’s Ravine Video Conditions Update”
You should learn to keep your shoulders downhill and a you may be able to use those skis for what they are made for. Hint; not for turning uphill!