Fot the last seven years I have gone up to Gulf of Slides on the same weekend that the inferno race is scheduled for Tuckerman Ravine and it is interesting to see how the conditions vary from year to year. It was forecasted to be an unseasonably cold, but also a clear and sunny day Friday. I was happy to find unseasonably good snow pack as well. I took my splitboard and skinned up the Gulf of Slides Ski Trail. Everything was solid as a rock from the subfrezing tempertures on thursday night. I followed the ski trail and used the bushwack shortcut. Everything was in great shape
I was happy to see that the whole ski trail was still covered and there were no portages needed. I did not see anybody else between Pinkham and main gully and was stoked to be up in the Gulf of slides totally alone. I took a couple panoramic shots
Gully 2 Pano
Main Gully Pano
The gulf was perfect blurbird conditions, the only thing in the sky was this plane
I shot this little video when I got to the bottom of main gully
Everything in the Gulf seemed to still be a little hard from the warm day and cold night prior to my arrival, so I took my time converting my ride back to snowboard mode and lashing it to my pack for the climb up, so that the sun could do its work on softening the snow pack. About 15 minutes after arriving, two other snowboarders showed up. After chating for a bit I took off up the ascent. The boot ladder that had been set was perfect, the step hight and steps were practically perfect. It was almost as good as a chairlift
I shot this quick little video on the way up.
At the top I still wasnt convinced it was soft enough to be fun yet so I hung out and had a little snack. Then I strapped my snowboard on, and dropped in
The ride down was more fun than it sounded. The freezing fog that came through the prior night had formed a coating of rime ice on everything making it sound really crusty. But the sun had softened it up enough to be edgeable and fun. But not fun enough to want to climb up for another run. So I decided to start making my way back down the ski trail toward Pinkham Notch. The ski trail was rock hard in the shade, and creamy soft in the sun. The descent was kind of fun, planning your turns on the sunny spots while straightlining the shadey spots.
The ski trail was still top to bottom coverage, for the first time on this “inferno race weekend” in about 5 years.
I got back to Pinkham around 2:30 and headed home. I hope I can take advantage of the great snow pack and get back up there again before the season is over.