Hiking Tuckerman Ravine

When I moved to New Hampshire, one of the first places I visited was Mount Washington via the auto-road; at that time I was not hiking.  I had read that some of worst weather in the world was here.  With wind speeds over 230 mph and temperatures below -100 F, I was very intrigued.  To top it off, this was part of the Application Trail, many people train here when they are training to complete the Explorers Grand Slam and there are many deaths each year due to inexperience hikers or just people who have a series of unfortunate series of events.  So…it was Time for Tuckerman!

We had started planning our trip in January for a March departure.  However, due to avalanche warnings we kept postponing our trip.  Finally, on the 18th of April we left the warmth of our home and headed north.  What we were not aware of, was that it was the day of the Inferno Race which combines kayak, bike, run, hike and skiing all into one massive race.

Mountain Tuckerman Ravine
Mountain Elevation N/A
Trails Tuckerman Trail
Region NH – Central East
Location Jackson, New Hampshire
Rating Moderate
Features Summit, views, water sources, loop trail
Distance 5.0 miles (loop)
Elevation Gain 1887′
Hiking Time (actual) estimate 5 hours
Weather Conditions rain, snow
Date Hiked April 18, 2009

There were three of us going on the hike and I was by far the least experienced hiker and I later found out on that hike, the one in the poorest physical condition.

So, due to the race we had to park about 2 miles from the trail head; a great way to warm-up I suppose.  The sky was cloudy, it was drizzling, in the 40s and the closer we got to the bowl, the colder it became and the rain became snow.  We made it as far as the hut, however due to the massive cloud cover and very poor visibility we chose not to go ahead any further.

This being my first long hike in these conditions I was fairly well prepared, except for gloves.  I had some cheap gloves that were not breathable which made my hands sweat and then to cool them off in the 30 degree temperature was just as bad.  Finally, we didn’t need crampons (thankfully as I didn’t have any), however using microspikes on my boots along with my trekking poles were very useful; especially on the descent as you are skating through the snow, ice and mush.

I totally want to do this hike again and look forward to making it to the top!


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