We crossed another cool bucket list item off our list this past weekend: skiing Tuckerman Ravine at Mount Washington! It was no small feat getting all of the way to the top on our own two feet 😉. Plus, look at all the stuff we had to carry!
Casey picked me up at our apartment at 3:30 Friday afternoon; then, we met Chris at his work in Merrimack, NH. After picking up some dinner (crispy ranch snack wrap at McDonalds!!! Yessss) and some crampons and an ice axe from IME‘s in North Conway, we made our way to Pinkham Notch (Yes, it was dark out by that time; I took this picture on our way out on Sunday).
Fortunately, Casey has done this same adventure many times in the past and was able to guide us so that we didn’t make any of the same mistakes he made the first few times he skied Tuckerman Ravine. As he predicted, it took us about 90 minutes to hike up to the lean-tos at HoJo’s. We trekked in the dark, and he set a fast enough pace that I certainly wasn’t doing any talking. Fortunately, we didn’t run into any White Walkers.
It wasn’t long before we had to pause to ditch layers, until we were all the way down to t-shirts!
We had to march through some untracked snow, but we found an empty lean-to where we spent a chilly night. In the morning, Chris and I enjoyed some Clif Bars and peanut butter apple wraps while Casey had oatmeal. We all had some instant coffee.
We put on our crampons and packed up our lunches and skis.
When we stopped for a bathroom break at the Caretaker’s Cabin, we were glad to see that the avalanche danger was low (regardless, we were grateful to have beacons, shovels, and probes – thanks, Tony and Sam!). The residents of the Caretaker’s Cabin recommended skiing north-facing slopes, since the snow had melted and refrozen on the south-facing slopes, creating a hard crust.
It was time to head up to the bowl; we certainly weren’t done hiking yet! We made our way the rest of the way to the base of the ravine.
We started up Left Gully, with Casey leading the way.
When we reached the top of the hour glass and the slope started to get icy, we decided to switch over to our skis on a narrow ledge, one at a time, to ski down to the base of the ravine. The swapping of gear was precarious, but the skiing was great fun!
After lunch, we headed up Right Gully. This time, we made it to the top for a much cleaner, less nerve-wracking transition to our skis.
This ride down was even more fun! And, by the time it was over, the sun was starting to set.
We skied down to the Caretaker’s Cabin, filled up on water, and then made our way back to our lean-to, where we cooked up some delicious Mountain Meals (One of Chris’s mom’s birthday presents to him. Nice job Linda, they were delish!).
In the morning, we woke up to find a blanket of fresh snow. It made skiing down the Sherburne Trail to the parking lot really fluffy and pleasant.
We rewarded ourselves with some yummy breakfast sandwiches at The Met Coffee House in North Conway before the car ride home:
Would we do the whole thing again? Absolutely! Earn those turns!