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Thread: Mount Washington Via Right of Right Gully/East Snowfields/Tucks/Down Boot Spur

  1. #1
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    Mount Washington Via Right of Right Gully/East Snowfields/Tucks/Down Boot Spur

    I have said this statement at least 4 or 5 times this winter - "this just might be the best day in the pressies I have ever had". Some winters - I never get to the top of the rock pile due to weather, etc.. - this winter - 5 times up top - on diff routes. Well - not sure this Saturday on Washington could be topped for a late march outing. With the weather and avalanche conditions - well quite frankly - perfect. We decided to forget lions head and take a gully up.

    2:00am - leave Massachusetts to get to pinkham
    5:30am - get to gear room - get ready - training for Rainier - so load up that 45 pound pack with junk I don't need today. But - it has to be done.
    6:00am - get going to meet folks at Hermit Lake. (I couldn't get a spot due to getting out of work pate on friday)
    7:10am - arrive Hermit Lake - tucks trail well packed/groomed due to snowcat, etc... all the other trails looked broken as well (boot spur, Raymond path, Huntington, etc....)
    8:00am - meet folks (thank god it wasn't cold - hanging out for an hour)
    9:00am - start up little headwall -

    Nice packed snow the whole way to the base of the bowl. Hot - with that that sun baking the bowl - it felt like 60 degrees today. I could have gone shirtless. Nice trail that skiers/snowboarders use to get there - easy to follow, etc... Because the weather was so darn good, we chilled out for a bit at the base of right of right gully to watch a few ski runs come down the head wall and just soak up them rays!!

    About 9:30aM OR 10AM - we start up the gully. The snow was just awesome for kicking in steps. I had a rope and pickets but there was not a need to use it. Got really good axe placements for self belays and good steps being kicked for the most part - snow was fine for self arrest - if a fall was to happen - thankfully - it didn't.

    Nice snow to climb anyway. About half way up, the angle starts to increase from 40 or so - to probably 45 degrees - maybe more - maybe less - I really don't know. We did a bit of front pointing for maybe 30 to 50 feet and this section had about an inch of snow with hard snow or ice underneath that. Couple of steeper sections and then there is a nice rest spot where is kind of levels off of a bit - took a 5 minute break - drank some water, watched more skiers, etc..

    Started back up - angle is steady (pretty steep) for about the next 75/100 feet or so - some front pointing and then it eases a bit and we just keep plowing up and then we topped out not far from the lion head/alpine garden intersection. I have never done this gully before and it was a really nice fun moderate snow climb.

    After we topped out - still no wind, etc.. Just continued on after drinking more water - (lots of water today) - (I had 2 liters in the pack for weight - ended up drinking most of it -i n addition to my regular supply!) -

    Going to take the beaten path up the cone?? - Nope - decided to head up the steeper east snowfields. Had some fun switch backing up that and then finally got back on the tuck trail somewhere on the summit cone - followed that the rest of the way up. Summit at 11:45 - Hung out on top for maybe 30 minutes - again almost no wind and not that cold.

    Went back down tucks - and then took a stroll over to boot spur - easy hard snow, ice and rock to top of boot spur. Coming down boot spur was a mix of rock and ice and this had to be negotiated slowly and carefully - while not hard by any means - just tricky with the rock/ice mix every 2 feet. rock,ice, rock, ice, rock,ice, etc...

    Same deal - just steeper coming down boot spur link - ice, rock, rock, ice - some steeper sections here - hit the treeline - it’s all snow back to Hojo's.

    all in all - an awesome day - while I have climbed steeper things before - never with 45 pounds on the back - so this was a good test and felt darn good.

    Back at car at 4pm - and then the hard part - drive home - Hermit lake was sold out all weekend - couldn't get a spot so just ended up driving home - which sucked. But worth it - for the fifth time this year - "this may have been the best day above treeline this season"

    - I have had insanely good luck this year with weather up there.
    Accomplishments:
    Fastest known time around the flume visitor center boardwalk
    Voted the "best barnes field" party organizer 2008
    Only person to get bit by a dog on mt washington
    Most known ascents of the picnic tables on the kanc
    Most rounds of the pinkhman notch visitor center stairs - also fastest known time of climbing the stairs from the gear room to the gift shop
    Adopter of la casa in millinocket and the cheap beer store in gorham

  2. #2
    Senior Member blueZ's Avatar
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    giggy, I did almost the same thing as you have done: ascent by headwall of Tucks, summit, descent via boott spur trail, (boott spur link to tuckman)

    I had a late start, 11:00am, back pinkham @ 6pm, lingering on the summit about 1 hour, great day!!! Too bad i didn't see you...

    Mt. Washington from Boott Spur
    http://juno.bumc.bu.edu/~junyu/sprin...tWash2_jpg.jpg

    North Presidential From mt. Washington Summit

    http://juno.bumc.bu.edu/~junyu/sprin.../north_jpg.jpg

    Tuckman Ravine
    http://juno.bumc.bu.edu/~junyu/sprin...uckman_jpg.jpg

    more pictures: http://juno.bumc.bu.edu/~junyu/sprin...gton/index.htm
    Last edited by blueZ; 03-28-2005 at 10:07 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    cool - how was the headwall? There seemed to be a parade heading up that way.
    Accomplishments:
    Fastest known time around the flume visitor center boardwalk
    Voted the "best barnes field" party organizer 2008
    Only person to get bit by a dog on mt washington
    Most known ascents of the picnic tables on the kanc
    Most rounds of the pinkhman notch visitor center stairs - also fastest known time of climbing the stairs from the gear room to the gift shop
    Adopter of la casa in millinocket and the cheap beer store in gorham

  4. #4
    Senior Member blueZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giggy
    cool - how was the headwall? There seemed to be a parade heading up that way.
    Yes, there are many skiers. They are brave!!!

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    May not have met either of you posters above on the summit, as I was on top of da Wash about 1 pm, having hiked up the Ammy via Lakes Hut and Mt. Monroe, a bit ahead of the Brutus Brigade (I had a Metheny concert to attend in Boston on Saturday evening, so had to hustle down the Jewel). Agreed, fantastic weather for the Presi's, even better than the previous weekend. And, I am up there again this coming weekend, wondering if I can make it three in a row for superb weather.

  6. #6
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    I think I was on my way down about 12:30 or so - I know I got up there at 11:45 (looked at watch) and then didn't look again until back at car about 4pm and I screwed around at hojos for about half hour on the way down.

    hope the concert was good - I had to drive about an hour south of boston and missed my exit on 16 - eneded taking all backroads from 16 to 93, finally ending up in tilton - (not payin attention) on the way home - it was a long drive back. crashed out as soon as I got home -- and my wonderful wife had dinner on the table waiting. totally unexpected and very appreciated.
    Accomplishments:
    Fastest known time around the flume visitor center boardwalk
    Voted the "best barnes field" party organizer 2008
    Only person to get bit by a dog on mt washington
    Most known ascents of the picnic tables on the kanc
    Most rounds of the pinkhman notch visitor center stairs - also fastest known time of climbing the stairs from the gear room to the gift shop
    Adopter of la casa in millinocket and the cheap beer store in gorham

  7. #7
    Senior Member blueZ's Avatar
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    as Dr. Wu said: "It was the greatest day in history. "

  8. #8
    Senior Member Meo's Avatar
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    I missed all of you by an hour or so. We were at the summit at around 2 or 3 PM that day. Climbed via Huntington's Central gully, down via Lion's head (first time on LH winter route; it's damn steep!).

    Nice weather indeed! And a very busy day in Tuckerman
    "Standing waist high in snow
    What brought me here I do not know"

    Clutch, The Yeti

  9. #9
    Senior Member blueZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meo
    I missed all of you by an hour or so. We were at the summit at around 2 or 3 PM that day. Climbed via Huntington's Central gully, down via Lion's head (first time on LH winter route; it's damn steep!).

    Nice weather indeed! And a very busy day in Tuckerman
    Meo, You are great!!!

    I have heard Huntington Ravine Trail is not hikable in Winter. Did you use rope? Do you think crampon + ice axe will do it??? If yes, I really want to try it!!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    central gully is steeper than lions head - no?? I have done south gully but not central.

    Bluez - central gully is considered an ice climb - but believe it is mostly steep snow - It is on my radar and since I am begineer ice climber - I would rope up and use protection - but I believe most people solo it - (no rope/pro) - but its not like lions head - you fall - your going for a long ride.
    Accomplishments:
    Fastest known time around the flume visitor center boardwalk
    Voted the "best barnes field" party organizer 2008
    Only person to get bit by a dog on mt washington
    Most known ascents of the picnic tables on the kanc
    Most rounds of the pinkhman notch visitor center stairs - also fastest known time of climbing the stairs from the gear room to the gift shop
    Adopter of la casa in millinocket and the cheap beer store in gorham

  11. #11
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giggy
    Bluez - central gully is considered an ice climb - but believe it is mostly steep snow
    Depends on the conditions. Typically a snow climb with a pitch or two of relatively easy ice. Rated NEI-1. Bad runout if you fall. When I was there, there were reports of falling ice...

    Doug

  12. #12
    Senior Member blueZ's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info!!!!

    Friends told me huntington ravine trail is extremely dangous. I was scared to hike it even in summer. After hiked Washington, Madison, Jefferson in winter, I'll try huntington trail, at least in summer. I'm not afraid now.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueZ
    Friends told me huntington ravine trail is extremely dangous. I was scared to hike it even in summer. After hiked Washington, Madison, Jefferson in winter, I'll try huntington trail, at least in summer. I'm not afraid now.
    All of the winter routes up Huntington require technical climbing skills and there are lots of rocks on the floor to injure falling bodies.

    In summer, there is a short scramble (need to use hands) and some exposure (scary view down), but it is not difficult (if dry). IMO, it doesn't deserve to be feared by most hikers. (Respected yes, feared no.) Go up it your first time and see how you like it. (Up is easier than down, but both directions are very doable.)

    Doug

  14. #14
    Senior Member Meo's Avatar
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    Last weekend, there was still a lot of snow in the ravine. All the boulders in the Fan were still buried. Central is mostly a snow climb in these conditions, at least until past the junction with the Pinnacle gully. Crampons and a general mountaineering axe are sufficient to this point (steepness varying between 30 and 60 degrees). But there's a short but steep ice section right after that junction. Experienced climbers will easily climb it unroped, but last Saturday almost everyone in the ravine were roped. As for us, we used 3 screws on this ice pitch. 2 of us had 2 technical tools (much more easy), the rest of the group including me had only one mountaineering axe, which was ok (but I had to cut some holds at times). Helmets are mandatory, a lot of falling ice there!

    After that pitch, the remaining ascent was another steep snowclimb. We were still roped as we wanted to practice some climbing techniques. We left the gully on the left side at the end, a steep but spectacular finish!

    Giggy, of course Huntington is steeper, but I was expecting it to be steep, and it's wider. But I didn't expect Lion's Head to be that steep (first time I take it) , and with all the trees a fall could result in serious injury. I passed a couple who was using a sling to downclimb the steepest section! It's a tough trail at the end of a hard day when one's tired...
    "Standing waist high in snow
    What brought me here I do not know"

    Clutch, The Yeti

  15. #15
    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    meo - gotcha - I didn't mean it to sound rude or anything. It was actually a seroius question. Sometimes it is tough to gage the steepness of lions head due to the lack of exposure. and a fall on lions ehad has potential to be well - a real pain.

    I was actually curoius to how much steeper central was to lions head. My guess it would be something like south gully with some ice - both times I have been up south - the ice bulge was not there.(or I missed it somehow). or actually looking at central from the base of the ravine - it almost looks less steep than south. I can't really lead ice yet - (well maybe I could on easy stuff) so I will probably get it next year with a guy I climb with. I can place pickets, but not too confidant on screws just yet. Interesting comment on the mountaineering axe. I wondered about it grabing in the ice bulge there. I have a black diamond alpine something and it doesn't get great placements on ice at all. - I might bring my tools when I do central.

    When I bring a newbie up it (lions head) - I usually take a runner, couple of biners and a 30 feet of acc cord - just in case they need a "fixed" line to get up those steep sections.


    you take the trees of lions head and add some exposure - its pretty damn steep. There are a couple of sections I downclimb it.

    anyone have a clue of the grade of right of right gully??? I would guess 40 - with maybe a couple of sections of 45 /50. It didn't seem as steep as south gully - now that I think of it.


    bluez- there are many gullies going up hunt ravine in winter - I could be wrong - but don't think any of the mactually follow the summer trail. which really isn't that bad. from stuff you have done this winter (tucks headwaLl for one) - you would have no problem on it. I did it a few years ago and you have a pay attention no doubt, but its not that bad.
    Last edited by giggy; 04-01-2005 at 02:18 PM.
    Accomplishments:
    Fastest known time around the flume visitor center boardwalk
    Voted the "best barnes field" party organizer 2008
    Only person to get bit by a dog on mt washington
    Most known ascents of the picnic tables on the kanc
    Most rounds of the pinkhman notch visitor center stairs - also fastest known time of climbing the stairs from the gear room to the gift shop
    Adopter of la casa in millinocket and the cheap beer store in gorham

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