Andy was up for an adventure so we decided to ski Great Gulf via Huntington Ravine. For those who don’t know, this is not, in any way, the most direct route to get to Great Gulf. Typically you can just skin/boot up the Cog and you’ll get to the top of Airplane Gully in an hour or two depending on conditions and your fitness. Going in from Pinkham Notch we found will take you twice as long. But we were able to ski most of the way back to our car instead of having to walk back down on the West side of Mount Washington.Read More
There is so much snow on Mount Washington. Raymonds Cataract is filled top to bottom. It’s even possible to thread together a full ski from Lion’s Head rock.
I’ve tried to get out skiing with John for a while. It seemed our schedules never quite meshed up. But this past Wednesday we made it happen. John set a new standard for ski partners. What he lacked in speed on the ascent and transitions he made up for with in other ways. He picked me up at my house; I didn’t have to drive at all. Then he stopped by my house a couple days later with a selection of fine beers to sample. Pretty exceptional. 5 stars.
My plan for the day was to boot up Hillman’s Highway and drop into Oakes Gulf again. But after eying up Raymond’s Cataract from the Tuckerman Ravine Trail we decided to ski it first and figure out the rest of the day from there.
Typically getting into Raymond’s Cataract is a bit of a slog. You need to enter from high up above tree line and work your way through some rocks and alpine scrub before you can start sliding on snow. But, with the amount of snow that’s in there now, you can start skiing from the Lion’s Head Winter Trail well before you hit the typical tree line. All of the small trees that would normally block your progress are completely filled in.
After exiting the Lion’s Head Winter Trail we were able to skin up to about 4800 feet. The snow was super firm with some sheets of crust poking through in places. We started out skiing very hard sastrugi before it evened out into firm windslab. John took a little fall in the sastrugi because he forgot to tighten up his boots but he quickly got into a groove doing telemark jumps turns through the steeper sections.
After a long section of moderate open bowl skiing the Cataract chokes down and you get to what is normally a frozen waterfall. In most years you’d need to skirt around to the side through shrubs. But on this day it was just a steep pitch of snow that was super fun. The cataract keeps choking down and then you get to the bottom of the drainage. Here we had to make our way to tight trees and deeper snow. Nothing too terrible but it wasn’t great. Luckily, it ended pretty quickly and we popped right back out onto the Huntington fire road.
It was great to make some fun turns in new terrain that was in spectacular condition. We filled up the rest of the day with a great run down Hillman’s Highway and the lower snowfields to the Sherburne trail.
Even the long ski out on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail was fun and we were able to make it all the way back to the lot by skiing on the side of the road. While people were getting skunked in Tuckerman Ravine we found what were probably some of the best turns on the mountain.Read More
With the backcountry filling in well it’s time to start getting in some more vertical each day I’m able to get out. I’ve now knocked out 76,000 feet of uphill on my skis this season; well on my way to my goal of 100,000 feet.
While my goal of hitting 100k is not only in reach, but ready to be surpassed, my secondary goal of putting in bigger days in the backcountry linking up multiple ravines is on my mind. Time to put int he work to get ready.Read More
North Gully is defined by a large, overhanging rock buttress on its east side. In the unusually hot sun the shade the buttress provided looked appealing and we hoped that it would provide some relief from falling snow and ice.Read More