Date of Hike: April 1, 2014

Trail Conditions: The warm weather has made Tuckerman Ravine Trail's lower half soft by day's end, and now featuring a mud spot or three, and it was still lumpy like the other day (3/30), though not as bad. There was a hard path in the middle of the trail, probably from the skiers skinning up. The Fire Road was in decent shape. The Lion Head Trail was much firmer than the other day, though still soft on the lower steeps. Before the steeps and above treeline the trail was well packed, to include a few icy spots. There was no fixed rope at the "Hillary Step" and the nature of the trail has changed from mini well-stepped switchbacks to a straight shot up the middle. The snow at higher elevations was pretty crusty. Lots of surface rime on the crust... interesting.

Special Equipment Used: We brought trekking poles, ice axes, crampons, and rope.

Comments: Hiked this one as lead for my work on what was a warm, dazzling day to be on the mountain. I ran into one hiker who said he was playing hooky from work so he could climb. I told him no such luck for me, I was at work (though I would have been skiing if I did bail). He smiled. Lots of skiers out, they seem to locate softer snow as many were carving it up. Lobster Claw, Right Gully, and the Sluice were being skied from top to bottom, in addition to numerous other skiers playing in the bowl. The cone had some tracks, but it was crusty. There was evidence of activity in other areas, like Hillmans, but not the Chute, Lip, or Headwall.

Avy Notes: There were two small point releases at the bottom of Right Gully, but it didn't seem to bother anyone. Meanwhile, a few people were working on the avalanche area on the cone, digging snow pits, etc. One of the two we dug the other day looks like it had been visited a lot. The debris field was impressive. I swear it was 20' thick in the middle. Moreover, one section of the crown line looked very tall from a distance. Guessing maybe five or six feet. I came to a conclusion about the south side snow fields that we traverse on our way to Split Rock, right or wrong: I suspect the constant and varied paths of travel over that area has created strong, well packed, diagonal sections that hold that side together like rebar. That's my guess for whatever it's worth.

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
North Conway NH