Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Warm Winter Day in the Tuckerman Bowl

"And it's a fair wind, blowin' warm,
Out of the south over my shoulder,
Guess I'll set a course and go..."
Wooden Ships  ~Crosby, Stills and Nash

Upon arriving at Pinkham Notch we were greeted by a nice, surprisingly warm breeze from the south. At 9:00 in the morning it was only going to get warmer. I took one of the last spaces in the parking lot and cars were already parked along Route 16. We were faced with the decision of what clothing to wear as well as the correct footwear. I decided on two thin layers and my summer hiking boots. We put on our packs and set out for the trailhead.

At the trailhead and putting on the microspikes

Headin' up the trail

Our initial trek was shortlived. Looking up the initial 100 yards of the Tuckerman Ravine trail we saw nothing but a slushy mess and knew it wasn't going to get any better. A change of footwear was in order and we returned to the parking lot to put our winter boots on. We were off again and it was a sloshy, slushy slog. We made it 200 yards up the trail and it was time for the microspikes. I also stripped down to one layer. Onward and upward!

Reached Hermit Lake and took a quick break on the deck

Time to move on to the Bowl

Microspikes were still on until we reached bare rock and it was time to remove them. Wasn't long before we were back in the snowpack and at the base of the bowl. There was a steady stream of people climbing Left Gully and The Chute. A few brave souls were venturing up the snow above Lunch Rocks (I think it's Lobster Claw), that's right - the fall zone of the most dangerous ice in Tuckerman. Brand and I found a large boulder on the left side of the bowl where we could relax, watch the skiers and snowboarders, enjoy the sunny view and eat.

Arriving at the bottom of the Bowl

Enjoying the sunny warm weather


Headin' down

It was soon time to head down. On the way to the main trail I managed a couple of thigh-level post holes until finally hitting semi-solid trail. Without the microspikes I did a perfect glissade down a steep portion of the trail. After a brief stop at the Hermit Lake we continued on down. We took a side trail out onto the Sherburne Ski trail to check the conditions. At this particular section there were considerable bare spots up the trail, looking down there was good snow cover.

Scenic views along the trail

The Sherburne Ski Trail looking up and down

Crystal Cascade was a roaring torrent

Back at the parking lot it was toasty warm. While it was technically still Winter the temperature said Summer and I heard not one complaint all day!

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