MAY 25TH, 2002, WAS CLEAR AS A BELL AT MT. WASHINGTON IN THE WHITES OF NEW
HAMPSHIRE! Yes, Bob (Mae West) and Sue (Mime) headed up Tuckerman's
Ravine with 5 other Montrealers (Gonzo wannabees). Never has a day shone
so brightly at this infamous weather area, where we have all seen freezing
rain, fog, 90 mile per hour winds (crouch! crouch!), snow squalls and
skiers in August at the Headwall Bowl.
As you can see from the attached
photos, in spring there now is a danger not just of avalanches but of ICE
FALLS (quote "WARNING- ICE FALL DANGER- Massive blocks of ice the size of
automobiles travel at high speeds, hit rocks and send deadly shrapnel in
all directions" end quote). This sign certainly lifted our spirits and
made us look forward to a carefree climb, along with 100's of other
hopeful people with death-wishes. As we hiked up Tuckerman's, we saw
snowboards, skis, water tubes, crampons, dogs with booties, children in
backpacks, people ranging in age from 3 weeks to 82 years old. What a
happening place! LOVE IT!
The other 5 hiked ahead (you would remember
Keith of Katadhin, he slept with Ross? Larry? in Millinocket and
followed Gordon (not too closely!) and Greg along the Knife's Edge.) with
Keith leading the way to the top.
The Headwall and Ammonoosic is still closed at this time of the year so
the "winter" route is the
newly constructed Lion's Head Trail (around the avalanche area). Reports
were that our group had to dodge the skiers who were coming down from the
cone of Mt. Washington but enjoyed windless, sunny, warm (T-shirts only)
hiking conditions on top of the snow pack.
YES, no rocks to leap from one
to the other as the snow filled up the crevasses. Just watch out for ICE
FALLS AND OUT-OF-CONTROL SKIERS! They took 3 and a quarter hours to "top
out" so they were pleased. Coming down was tough as the snow was icing
up...regretfully they coudn't hop a ride down on the back of a skier or
snowboarder! MAE WEST and MIME scouted out Hermit's Lake Shelter area
for the perfect picnic area with a million-dollar view of the Headwall's
ski area and the infamous Hillman's Highway (where people die every year
crashing into rocks, falling into crevasses or getting caught in an
avalanche or ICE FALL).
Bob and Sue lounged, had a picnic with a Mae
West, took pictures, snoozed (surprised, anyone?!) and caught major sun
rays, tanning quickly in the bright sunshine. Literally not a cloud in the
sky all day. We headed back down Tuckerman's to our group and ended the
day with a great dinner and social with our group of 10 (the ladies had
enjoyed a day in North Conway).
All in all, a special day