Best Winter Adventure for the Spring

1937-GS*I would open with a note stating this trip  is not for everyone, but for the adventuresome.

As much as we all love the spring, one of my least favorite things to do, is to hang up all the gear I’ve been using all winter; snowshoes, hats, coats, and most important, skis. Fortunately New Hampshire has a winter activity that you can do well into the spring (at least until the snow is gone). Hiking Tuckerman’s Ravine, on the east side of Mt. Washington, and skiing down is a sure way to keep those ski dreams alive, while getting a wild adrenaline rush in time for a beer at the base.

Each year, as many as 3,000 hikers and skiers visit the Ravine in the spring time, to enjoy the warmer days where skis and boots still apply. This undeveloped terrain has no lifts and no groomed trails, truly masking it a backcountry skiing activity. You have to hike 2.3 miles on the Sherburne trail just to get to the base, and even then you have to hike with your gear on a narrow trail to the top of the slope. *This may require some mountaineering skills, so do not attempt if not fully prepared.* This post should act as a guide, not the only resource, of what you should know if attempting this trip.

Things to know:

  • The ravine’s pitch is 55 degrees, making it the equivalent of a Triple Black Diamond (no other trail, at a resort in New Hampshire, has this same pitch).
  • Best time to ski, depending on conditions is in April and up to the first few weeks of May.
  • The ravine loses sunlight at around 2:30 PM, so best thing is to get an early start and head down after relaxing at the base.
  • Weather is always unpredictable- plan ahead and be ready to change plans the morning of.
  • Avalanches and falling ice and open crevasses are always a concern. For updated weather and advisories call the Forest Service at 603-466-2713 or contact the AMC’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center at 603-466-2721.
  • Wear sunscreen- you don’t want to get a bad burn this early in the spring
  • Have the right gear- It will be warm on the hike up but when you stop moving, it will be cold at elevation. Bring a variety of different clothing for the day.p1_50th
  • Have plenty of water- goes without saying.
  • Travel in groups.
  • Review the trail map and when you get to the base plan a route.
  • Be safe.

When you go down, you will be going fast. If you fall, you will tumble all the way to the bottom. It can be very dangerous but most of the time extremely fun and exciting! If you have any questions about the trip or want some tips, leave a comment below! Happy and safe travels to all attempting this adventure in the next few weeks!

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