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Mt. Washington via Tuckerman Ravine Trail - Aug 7, 2010

ChileMass

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Date: Aug 7, 2010
Trip: Mt. Washington via Tuckerman Ravine Trail
Distance: 4.1 miles, 4300' vertical gain
Conditions: Absolutely Perfect
Rating: AMC Guide sez "Moderate" - it was Strenuous as Hell!


The Northborough Once-A-Year Crew decided to do the classic hike up the big rockpile via Tux this year, when my 2 teenage daughters actually requested to do it!! And these were the kids that until last year used to complain about every hike! My hard work has at last paid off.....

The conditions were perfect. I'll bet there aren't 10 days per summer that are as windless and sunny as last Saturday. Very little mud and the only water on the trail was a little just at the top of the Tux headwall. But there were so many people! I've never had to park in the overflow lot before, and when we came down in the afternoon a second overflow lot was full, too. There were buses and cars from all over the US (furthest away I saw was Washington State), and the trailhead was packed. Still, we were pretty psyched to get going - our group was 5 adults and 7 kids, including my 14- and 18-year-old daughters, who were making by far their most ambitious hikes to date.

When we left Pinkham Notch station (9:20AM) it was 56*F and just beautiful. The lower section up to Hermit Lake Shelter was, as always, a boring, rocky walk up the road. Not much to report except all the people. We heard so many different languages being spoken! All the kids were by now waaaaaay ahead of me, hiking with my buddies Dan (fireman) and Larry (workout freak). My buddy Rob, his girlfriend Diane and I got to Hermit Lake about 20 minutes after our first group, who waited about 10 minutes before heading out. So much for hiking with my girls. I had a nice lunch in the warm sunshine leaning against the wall of the shelter.

The 2nd leg thru Tuckerman Ravine was spectacular. My 14-year-old told me later that when she saw the bowl for the first time she had an "Oh my God" moment. There were multiple waterfalls, blue and yellow wildflowers everywhere, and almost no wind. Just exactly perfect. We took our time climbing up to the headwall and then up the steep rockfall to the top of the ravine. Even when we came out to the intersection with Alpine Garden and Lion's Head trails there was almost zero wind and 100+ miles visibility.

The 3rd leg up the rockpile sucks for sure, but you gotta do it. From the top of Tux, it looked like a stream of multi-colored ants climbing up to the summit. There must have been 100 people visible. Soon we could see to the west over to Monroe, the Lakes of the Clouds hut and the lower Presidentials. I saw some really big mountains in Maine to the east that must have been Saddleback and Sugarloaf. It's always ironic when you finally see cars parked above the last rocks on the trail and come out into the parking lot and auto road. The smooth roadway felt mighty good by comparison with the rockpile. Those last stairs going up to the snack bar are a bitch, too. 38*F when we got to the top - not bad at all.

2 different bridal parties were getting married on the summit rocks (!!??), and there were dozens/hundreds/seemed like thousands of tourists milling around all over. I had to basically elbow my way into the snack bar and finally found our kids. They had arrived 1:20 earlier!! The AMC book says 4:15 to the top, we did it in 4:40, so the kids and my other 2 pals did it in 3:20. Pretty impressive.

So a great day in the Whites, and I'm proud of my kids and all of our group. I'm really pleased that our group of little kids has matured into a crew that will definitely continue our hiking and camping traditions. I'll post pictures in a couple of days.

CM
 

thetrailboss

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I concur. Saturday was as good as it gets! Nice to see you around these parts, CM!
 

ChileMass

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Most of our crew at the summit. Taken Saturday, Aug 7, 2010.



Mt_Washington_Summit_Aug_2010.jpg
 

thetrailboss

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Michael - I was barely hanging on at that point. What you see is what you get....

Fortunately, my 2 excellent hiking daughters (far left, and kneeling down in front of me) look like their Mom....

Just giving you a hard time....you look blitzed. ;)

Hope all is well.
 

Skier75

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Nice TR.

We hiked Washington via Ammonoosuc and Crawford Trail up then down Gulfside to the Jewell Trail down the weekend before. It's been some beautiful hiking weather, that's for sure. It's amazing how many people are at the top when we get up there, between hikers, the Cog, and people driving up there. The people that kill me are the ones that drive and take the Cog, they seem to be the first people that want to get the pictures in front of the Mt. Washington sign, like they deserve it.....oh well so be it....

This past weekend we hiked up Lafayette and Lincoln. It seemed that was more strenuous than Washington, at least for me it did.
 
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