Ascent to Mount Washington-Huntington's Ravine on 2013-05-27

Climber: Matthew Nelson

Others in Party:Matt Schweitzer
Jim Gollahon
Date:Monday, May 27, 2013
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Mount Washington - Huntington's Ravine
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5463 ft / 1665 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started hiking about 9:45 AM with the intention of hiking through Huntington's Ravine and the Alpine Garden. The lower part of the hike was pretty straight forward, the conditions were good, and the trail relatively clear, just 1 or 2 blow downs.

The first waterfall just off the main trail

The Dow emergency cache

Plaque on a rock just above the Dow cache

The wind picked up alot when we started coming into the exposure of the ravine. We stopped briefly at the bottom of the ravine to get a quick snack and take some pictures on the big rocks there.

There appeared to be just 1 other group in the ravine that day, a group of about 8 that appeared to be climbing just into the ravine. They stopped right at the base of central gully, put up some prayer flags, and hung out there for a while. It looked like they might be spreading ashes. We passed them on the fan and continued climbing.

Schweitzer and Jim climbing the fan

Me on the fan

Schweitzer and Jim near the top of the fan.

Starting at the base of central gully, the snow picked up significantly. There was obviously alot of runoff, but there was alot of snow as well which we weren't expecting. This made the climb a bit more difficult, and we had to pick a route up as the marked trail went across a sheer slab covered in snow and I didn't want to cross it and have it break loose under our weight. I think we ascended just below the marked trail, and the crux of our climb was about 1/3 the way up the slab area where we had to climb up a couple 3ft steps that angled down. The inside corner of the steps had alot of runoff flowing through them, which made it a bit more difficult to get a good hold. We were pretty exposed here and a slip would have been quite bad. By the time we got to this crux section we had already climbed some parts that we didn't feel comfortable going back down, so we were already pretty committed. We made it through without any mishaps, and the rest of the exposed slope climb was relatively dry, and had more foot and hand holds, so wasn't too bad.

Climbing on the exposed slab above the fan. The crux was getting up over the drops seen just to the right of Matt.

Finally off the slab...

The trail from there on up was much less exposed. There were a couple spots that were exposed, but nothing like the lower area just above the fan. There was, however, alot more snow from here on up. In some places I post-holed up to my thigh, but all in all it was a ton of fun, and we made decent time up to the top of the ravine, topping out right about 2:15PM.

Schweitzer and Jim climbing the upper section of the ravine

A selfie near the top of the ravine

A frozen bush near the top of the ravine with Wildcat ski resort in the background

These were the first wildflowers we saw that day, poking out of a hole in the snow on the side of a rock

Lappland Rosebay (Rhododendron Lapponicum)

The wind picked up signifcantly at the top, and there was still a thin layer of snow all over. The signs and cairns had a beautiful covering of ice on them. We didn't stay here long, but moved on into the alpine garden. There wasn't too much vegetation in the garden, but there were a bunch of small purple flowers that had bloomed and were very beautiful.

Topping out...

More flowers

Looking across the Alpine Garden

A little runoff in the garden

It was really cool to see the wildflowers blooming amidst the snow and blowing cold. We made quick time across the garden, and headed down lion's head. We stopped at the shoulder of lions head and ate lunch, took some pictures, and watched some skiers taking advantage of the last few gullies filled with snow.

Skiers in Tuckerman's Ravine, taken from the top of lion's head

Pano taken from the shoulder of Lion's head

The descent was pretty straightforward, there wasn't much snow on lion's head, so we made good time down. We past many of the skiers heading back as well.

A little squirrel on the way down

Tuckerman's ravine trail near the visitor center

We arrived back at Pinkham Notch about 4:30 or 5PM and headed down to the Kanc for the scenic route home. We picked up chinese food in Lincoln and were back in Boston around 9.

All in all it was one of the most challenging hikes I've done in the east, and was a ton of fun. I am a bit unsatisfied with the difficult position we put ourselves in at the crux, but fortunately it turned out all right, and the rest of the day was fantastic. It was a good lesson for next time.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Elevation Loss:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Distance:7.8 mi / 12.5 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Distance:3.3 mi / 5.3 km
    Route:Huntigton's Ravine
    Trailhead:Pinkham Notch Visitor Center  2018 ft / 615 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:Lion's Head
    Trailhead:Pinkham Notch Visitor Center  2018 ft / 615 m

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