I headed up north on Friday for my annual late April pilgrimage to Tuckerman Ravine. Although it has been a very lean snow year in New Hampshire and Tuckerman Ravine was less filled in than usual, the colder than normal April has sustained the snow that we did have and even added a little more. Last Tuesday we had received several inches of snow in northern New Hampshire and additionally some of that snow had been transported by the northwest winds into Left Gully. Left Gully was skiable from the top of the head wall to the ravine exit.
On the way up, consistent snow cover began at the last crossover to the Sherburne Trail on the hiking trail. Since I knew I would be carrying my board for most of the trip I took along my resort board and boots instead of my backcountry splitboard setup. I love the performance of my real board so much better than my splitboard.
There were very few tracks yet as I ascended the gully. As the sun warmed the snow it got softer and softer as I climbed. The unconsolidated top layer was tough to climb with my soft boots on because it just wanted to slough away on the harder bed surface below when I put my weight on it. Even with microspikes on it was tough to get traction. I was wishing I had worn hard boots to kick steps. It wasn’t avalanche type slab but very sloughy slab. Even on the descent I had to be careful not to sideslip too much because it would just set off huge sloughs of wet snow and I wanted to preserve the surface for others as best I could. I took a couple runs and then headed home to enjoy the rest of the day with my family.
The Ravine with Left Gully looking like the best option
Looking Down the Gully from near the top