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Author Topic: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire  (Read 10035 times)
wooley12
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5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« on: 05/03/11, 11:35 AM »

I post my awesome "No Sweat-Low Adrenaline" Cascade TR's on Timefortuckerman.com so it's only fitting I talk of my east coast exploits here. Helps to keep this a ski "community" as opposed to a "cult". For those who don't know, Tuckerman Ravine is like a 900' vert. 60/50/45 deg. gash on the side of Mt Washington in New Hampshire. Requires a 2.5 mile hike up to get to the base.  A piece of the Cascades on the East Coast. Did you know that at one time the mountains on the east were much higher than the Cascades? So picture a 900' couloir in 60 degree weather and a blue bird sky occupied by 6-700 skiers of varying ability and toss in a few well oiled thrill seekers in plastic sleds. Mayhem and merriment!!

Here you go:

My 1st time!! Just got home. Left my bro's place in near by  Bethel, ME at 10 A.M. and 13 hrs. later I'm home. Took the scenic route and now I know what they mean by "You cahn't git theah from heah". Met @Mhak (Mt. Washington ski patrol) who was working on his tan while waiting for some carnage. Asked if he had seen any of the T4Ters but no one checked in. Spoke with the ranger who gave me some good beta. "You can entertain the crowd in two ways.... and one of them hurts a lot." Hiked up with my sister-in-law. She was completely stoked at her achivement in getting there as she spent last year fighting the dreaded big C. Actually, we were pretty close in climbing ability (300 steps then rest) given my too heavy pack and lack of conditioning. After the appropriate transition time at the base (1 hr) I climbed up and skied from the top......of Lunch Rocks. I spoke with the ranger about climbing all the way up but he said they would not look kindly on my required overnight bivouac half way up. The "ski" down was total survival mode. A mixture of snow plow and stem christy. 1st time skiing on a rutted, slushy sno-cone with a heavy pack and rubber legs. The group on the Lunch rocks was very polite and there were no derisive sounds when the wobbly geezer went by. I was there for the party because I missed one once and swore "never again". Some pals once asked me to go to an outdoor concert and I begged off to go on a date with my honey. The concert was Woodstock.




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« Last Edit: 05/05/11, 04:39 AM by wooley12 » Logged

The stem christie is a legitimate backcountry turn
Joedabaker
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #1 on: 05/03/11, 11:58 AM »

Great story. Fill me in about the overnight requirement to summit?
It appears your life has been full of great options.
Still on my list....
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wooley12
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #2 on: 05/03/11, 01:57 PM »

^^^ The 2.5 mile, 2200'vert climb to the bottom of the bowl left me with only 300' of my daily max. vert. in the tank. In order for me to climb another 1000' of 45+ deg and have anything left to ski down was not in my universe without an overnight stay which is not allowed. Were I 30-40 years younger it would not have been an issue. When I max out my endurance, recovery is measured in hours, not minutes. A lot of the (younger) skiers there did multiple laps. Mountain dangers that day included obvious crevasses and ice falls and occasional human missiles coming down in yard sale fashion. Do it!!
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The stem christie is a legitimate backcountry turn
wooley12
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #3 on: 05/03/11, 02:28 PM »

It appears your life has been full of great options.
Still on my list....

Being on main street in Lake Placid when the USA vs Russia hockey game ended in '80 rocked. Fun was also had at "The Bog" at the 1974 Watkins Glen Grand Prix when the Greyhound bus was offered up.





And I did catch one of the Woodstock acts at a smaller venue with 300 others




« Last Edit: 05/04/11, 11:51 AM by wooley12 » Logged

The stem christie is a legitimate backcountry turn
Zap
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #4 on: 05/03/11, 03:30 PM »

Being on main street in Lake Placid when the USA vs Russia hockey game ended in '80 rocked. Fun was also had at "The Bog" at the 1974 Watkins Glen Grand Prix when the Greyhound bus was offered up.

WOW, you're bringing back memories.  I used to live in Syracuse,NY and made a few trips to Tucks for the skiing/festivities.  A type of Slush Cup on steroids.  Wink

I was also at the Lake Placid Olympics at the US and Russian hockey game.  It still brings a rush of emotions thinking about that day.

I completely forgot about "The Bog" at The Glen.  Somehow I survived launching myself over my dirt bike handles at "The Bog".  Wink
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wooley12
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #5 on: 05/03/11, 03:58 PM »

If you were at The Bog launching yourself over the bars the memory lapse is understandable  Wink

We seem to be living a parallel line. I'm moving to the PNW as soon as the house sells.

Lots of pictures here, maybe you'll see you.

http://www.glenphotos.com/bog/index.html
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The stem christie is a legitimate backcountry turn
Zap
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #6 on: 05/03/11, 08:46 PM »

We seem to be living a parallel line. I'm moving to the PNW as soon as the house sells.

Great, I enjoy touring with "young partners" who break trail.   

Noticed you live a bit east of Alpental.  Wink
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T. Eastman
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #7 on: 05/03/11, 08:58 PM »

Thanks for the East Coast flashback tour!
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wooley12
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #8 on: 05/04/11, 08:31 AM »


Noticed you live a bit east of Alpental.  Wink

Yeah, I live 3 miles north of I-90 about 2620 miles to the east. But I do have a season pass.
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The stem christie is a legitimate backcountry turn
Joedabaker
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #9 on: 05/04/11, 10:26 AM »

From what I hear the whole Tuckerman Spring fling is the reason video cameras were invented.
Thanks for sharing those great moments in history.
Burning a Greyhound bus pretty classic stuff!
Hope your sister-in-law gets better too!
I have a hard time seeing Zap's freakflag flying as he jacks on the gas and the bike kicks his a.., only to get tossed over the bars.
« Last Edit: 05/04/11, 12:17 PM by Joedabaker » Logged
slipslider
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #10 on: 05/04/11, 11:57 AM »

I better get this out before the neurons finally fizzle out.  Back in the olden days, I (and a group of other kids) was taken up to Tuckerman's on Easter weekend by an older friend of the family.  I distinctly remember that it was the first year I had skied anything longer than the hill in my back yard.  It sounded like a great adventure for a 14 year old boy, and (to this day) I do not know why my parents bought off on the idea. 

We over-nighted in a bunkhouse not too far from the trailhead and walked up to the base of the headwall in our ski boots (not particularly problematic as ski boots in those days were not very different from what we now use for hiking).  The year was 1964 and it must have been March 28, as I remember during the drive to the trailhead hearing radio reports about a huge earthquake in Alaska. 

No one told me what I was in for, so I just marched ahead, admiring the view, and chuckling at the eggbeater simulators that were coming down all around me. 

The pitch gradually (asymptotically) got steeper as I went up, until near the top it appeared too steep to hold snow.  I do not remember seeing any of the rocks that the photo shows on the upper half of the cirque.   The beauty of Tuckerman's is that you can go up as far as you like and stop only when the pit of your stomach tells you "enough".   

Unfortunately for me, I never bothered to look back over my shoulder, and it was only when my nose got perilously close to the snow in front of me, that I decided that it was time to ski down.

When I turned around to see how high up I had gotten, I became paralyzed with fear.  No chance I could hike down.  It took me a half hour just to stomp out a spot to put on my skis ... something that seemed like a pointless exercise, considering how many accomplished skiers were having so much difficulty.  The only thing I could do was traverse across the entire bowl from (skier's) left to right to lose some elevation and get back to comfortable terrain.  Eventually I ran out of room and was forced back to the left.  While attempting to change directions, I became frozen, half way through a kick turn, facing straight downhill with my two skis pointing in opposite directions.  After a few minutes in this position, I decided that the possibility of an eggbeater did not look so bad.  An uphill kick turn might have been a better tack, but the pitch seemed too steep.

A couple of iterations of this and I was out of mortal danger.  I got down to the picnic spot with my legs shaking, and fear slowly leaving my face ... some kind soul handed me a beer (my first ever).  Two big lifetime firsts in one day.

I have never been back, but the memory is still vivid.  Thanks for the TR.

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Daniel_G
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #11 on: 05/04/11, 01:33 PM »

Thanks for the TR. Never seem to get back in season for Tuckerman's. been hearing about it my whole life.
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wooley12
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #12 on: 05/04/11, 06:34 PM »

SlipSlider- Amazing tale. Leather lace up boots, bindings that allowed a little lift of the heel, elevator shaft steepness...I can understand how an experience like that can stay etched in your mind. Most of the action was on routes 1,2 & 3 as impending ice fall and crevasses dominated the right side and the snow was spotty at the top in the center part on the day I was there.

Some beta on the runs.
http://www.timefortuckerman.com/routes.html
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The stem christie is a legitimate backcountry turn
runcle
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #13 on: 05/04/11, 09:12 PM »

Great stuff!

Brings back many fond memories of my first trip "skiing" up there. I fell into one of those huge show chutes in the fog near lunch rocks and rode down 30 yards or so. I couldn't see a thing and remember hearing skiers whizzing by me at terrific speed and being terrified that I might get nailed. I wound up working up there at Camp Dodge for the YCC program and met my to be wife putting in the sewer system at the Tucks Lodge. My wife composed a song about our adventure " And Greg ol Boy said dig to you hit, but all we kept finding  was the same ol'  $#%^"

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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Greg Blaisdell
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #14 on: 05/06/11, 10:02 PM »

I first skied Tuckerman Ravine about 22 springs ago at the age of 8.  We got about halfway up and my dad (who carried most of my gear to the basin from the parking lot) realized it was getting pretty steep. I still remember trying to click into my bindings on a 40-45 degree slope (verified years later on a return trip) and thinking how scary it was.  Must be even tougher without a person there holding your ski.  It is an interesting insight into how backcountry is done in the east, and although not totally peaceful, it is an awesome experience for anyone who has never experienced it.
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jtack
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #15 on: 05/11/11, 05:06 PM »

What a great collection of stories, it sure is on my list of must ski places, and this just made it all the more exciting to contemplate. thanks
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peteyboy
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #16 on: 05/11/11, 10:16 PM »

So many great memories from so many years ago.  Remembering being sucked into the Venus Flytrap of the Headwall on my first trip in the early or mid-'80's and continuing up as it steepened beyond my comfort zone convinced it was going to faintly bench just ahead - which it never did - until I got too gripped to go any higher, and shaking as I chipped out enough of a ledge to get my alpine skis and pack off my back, I was suddenly startled out of my skin when a dude launched the Lip right over my head.  Awakening in the Hermit Lake lean-to to the sound of certain impending avalanche death to realize in the morning it was an avalanche alright - just a roof-alanche.  Climbing Hillman's Highway in bluebird still skies, topping out as the first cottony wisps crested the bowl rim, pushing off as the skies turned gray and the first flakes fell, with a sideways blizzard by the time we reached the bottom 5 minutes later, to watch it snow 18 inches in two hours.  But the best was my wife yelling at me on every jump tele turn (on her Atomic Tourcaps, Super Loops and original T2's) for taking her up & down 55-degree Left Gully (not realizing she was skiing it perfectly - too busy barking at me to worry about her technique).  Spring weekends at Tuck's are the World of Backcountry Skiing's alltime best Gong Show.
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Gregg_C
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #17 on: 05/12/11, 10:12 AM »

My weaning at Salmo-Creston Pass in the mid '70's on heads, cables and leather boots seems so tame.  I missed out on so much not getting to ski in the East.  Begs the question, has anyone acutally moved west to east for the skiing???
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icelanticskier
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #18 on: 05/18/11, 03:21 PM »

  has anyone acutally moved west to east for the skiing???

probably not, but that's a good thing. lots of folks go west to ski for a time and come back and don't "bother" to ski. i went west and came back a couple of times. no regrets. in fact, i was blown away at what i had left here and stuff just keeps opening up and it's so accessible yet so uncrowded all winter. it really is amazing.

mt washington is a very different place in winter. most days i don't ever see another skier or another set of tracks in tux or other areas. nice to have a mountain with over 4000 skiable vert, great terrain, snow, and close to home. gets busy in april, but that's pretty much it.

tux, not april


skiing the lip, same day, february, not another skier or track in there. great snow. typical in winter.


funny how folks instantly think crowds and gong show when they think of skiing mt washington. not so most of the time.

nice report woolyman!

rog


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is this love at 1st sight, or should i ski by again?
allenat@ylor
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Re: 5/1/11 Tuckerman Ravine New Hapmshire
« Reply #19 on: 05/22/11, 12:33 PM »

Lots of good memories in tucks. Learning how to ski steep stuff, learning how to drink, learning how to ski steep stuff hungover. Going the fastest I ever have on skis, my most epic fall... the list goes on.
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