Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tux Redux

Then: On the Sherby, April 25, 2009
In late April, I headed to New Hampshire for the first time in two years.  Actually, it was almost two years to the day of when I had first gone to Tuckerman Ravine, most definitely got my tush handed to me on a platter on the climb, and through sheer willpower alone skied Left Gully without major mishap.   Note to the uninitiated: heavy alpine skis are fantastic on the downhill, but are wicked heavy on one's back.  Just sayin'.

The plan this time was to fly up to Manchester early Friday morning, and because the weather forecast for Friday was more promising than Saturday's forecast, drive straight up to Pinkham Notch and skin or hike up either the Gulf of Slides Ski Trail or the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, respectively. Oh, and also to bring my alpine touring setup, which was at least four pounds lighter than my alpine setup.

It turned into a gorgeous day on the drive into the mountains.  The overcast skies in Manchester had turned into bright sun, Santana was on the satellite radio, and the sunroof on my unexpected upgrade rental car was open.  Can it get better than that??   (Answer: yes)

I arrived at Pinkham Notch at noon.  Not ideal, of course, but on the other hand, five hours earlier I was in Washington, D.C.  The overflow lots were packed and cars lined Rt. 16.  Apparently, half the world had listened when the prior day's avalanche report advised taking a sick day on Friday.
Now: Obligatory Bowl from HoJo's photo, April 22, 2011.
By 12:40, I was on the TRT, hiking.  I'd wanted to do Gulf of Slides, but I opted for the TRT because it was a known quantity, and I was low on fuel (see lunch contents below).  My pack was lighter than it was in 2009, which is to say it was less than 1/3 of my body weight.  Phew.  It translated into being 30 minutes faster on the ascent to HoJo's and arriving just before 2:10.  I even passed eight people on the way up.  This is HUGE.  If you've ever climbed with me, you know that I am sloooow on the uphill.

If I had planned things better, I would have had more than a vending machine-sized package of peanut M&Ms (which I had actually eaten on the drive up), an apple, a Luna Bar, and 2 energy chews for lunch, and I would have gone into the Bowl to hang out with the 1500-2000 or so people that were estimated to be there. Instead, I skied down the Sherby, which was in pretty decent condition save for the last twenty feet, and called it a lovely day.

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