Date of Hike: March 30, 2014

Trail Conditions: A warm, rainy morning ensured Tuckerman Ravine Trail's lower half was lumpy mashed potatoes that made for an awkward hike in (and it was even lumpier on the way out since the Cat had recently run over it). The Fire Road was in better shape, as far as the first aid cache, anyway. The Lion Head Trail was also mostly lumpy mashed potatoes, but as we rose it got better thanks to the elevation's colder temps. That said, it was still pretty soft and laden with moisture all the way to the summit.

Special Equipment Used: We brought trekking poles, ice axes, crampons, and rope -- plus avy gear.

Comments: Hiked this one as lead for my work. We enjoyed rain of varying force on our way in but by the time we broke tree line, the rain had been reduced to a fine drizzle until it finally stopped altogether. We never had sleet or snow. As we ascended, the veil of clouds thinned and the the sun nearly joined us. It certainly lifted our spirits and warmed our bodies. Pack covers and hard shells came off, and we got down to base layers. On went the sunglasses. We had the summit to ourselves. Ball caps on, ears exposed, no gloves, having a grand old time.

Avy Note: Due the the Eastern Snow Fields' avalanche we crossed the snow fields on the way to Split Rock with caution, crossing them with huge spacing between climbers. Moreover, not only did we carry beacons, probes, and shovels, before proceeding, we dug two test pits, one in each section. These pits, (representative of the areas we dug them in only), yielded good results. We made columns in each pit and tested them. The lower pit's column of snow -- barring the 4" of mush on top -- partially broke away (about 12" down) after about five good shoulder hits and it wasn't a super clean break. It was mostly wind slab and thin ice layers but there weren't any super weak layers in that pit that concerned us. The upper pit didn't break at all and the stratification seemed entirely different, very well consolidated.

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
North Conway NH