Tuckerman Ravine, on the east side of Mt. Washington in the White Mountain National Forest, is famous for its spectacular scenery, deep snow, and challenging terrain. Thousands of motivated visitors make the six-mile roundtrip to the floor of Tuckerman Ravine every year. Some push on to ascend the steep slopes above and a smaller number decide that a descent through Ravine is a good choice for them.
Tuckerman Ravine is located within the White Mountain National Forest and is thus managed by the US Forest Service. When added with its neighbor to the north, Huntington Ravine, the area forms the Cutler River Drainage, the most heavily used backcountry area on the White Mountain National Forest. You may visit any time of the year though the most popular seasons are the spring and summer. No matter when you come the most important rule of thumb is to plan ahead and prepare! The terrain can be overwhelming; the weather is often downright inhospitable; and the sometimes-sizeable crowds can cloud your perception of the Ravine’s actual remoteness.
The Tuckerman Ravine Trail provides year-round access to the ravine’s slopes and gullies. It leaves from Pinkham Notch and generally follows the Cutler River to the facilities at Hermit Lake. From there the trail narrows and ascends more steeply to the Lunch Rocks and the floor of the Ravine at 3.1 miles from Pinkham Notch. The trail above Lunch Rocks tackles steep slopes that are covered by snowfields for more than half of the year. This same section of trail is the segment that is regularly closed during the late spring when the main waterfall and crevasses of the Lip begin to open.
The most popular recreational activities in Tuckerman Ravine are skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, ice climbing and hiking. All are seasonal activities, including hiking, which turns into technical mountaineering once the one trail through the Ravine gets buried in snow. Because snow can be found in the Ravine for more than half of the year, all late fall, winter and spring visitors to the Ravine should come prepared with the tools and skills necessary for steep snow travel in avalanche terrain. Every year the US Forest Service Snow Rangers respond to dozens of search and rescue incidents that result from poor planning, improper skills/equipment or bad judgment. Don’t be one of them! The following pages provide additional information about the Ravine and will help better prepare you for your next trip. The more research and planning you do now, the safer and more enjoyable will be your trip in the future.
|Name||Maximum Pitch||Sustained Pitch||Dominant Aspect|
|Lobster Claw (Right-Right Gully)||40||30||S|
|Boott Spur #3 (Gully #3)||50||30||N|
|Empress (Dead End Gully)||40||40||E|
|Tuckerman Ravine Trail||40||30||SE|
Huntington Ravine, on the east side of Mt. Washington, may not be as well known to the general public as its southern neighbor Tuckerman Ravine, but don’t let that fool you. While the snow covered slopes of Tuckerman largely attract those whose goal is a thrilling descent, the lure of Huntington is felt by those looking to be challenged on their way up. During the snow-free months the Huntington Ravine Trail is regarded as the most exposed and intimidating hiking path in the White Mountains. Add a little bit of snow and making your way through the Ravine automatically becomes a full-blown mountaineering challenge.
The Huntington Ravine Trail provides year-round access to the ravine’s pronounced gullies and buttresses. It leaves the Tuckerman Ravine Trail on the right approximately 1.3 miles from Pinkham Notch and then follows the North Branch of the Cutler River to the base of the 800′ headwall. From there it ascends steep slabs and ledges to the climber’s right of the prominent feature known as Central Gully. When deep snow covers the ground the, Huntington Ravine Winter Access Trail (also known as the “fire road”) provides a better alternative to the trail’s lower section by avoiding two bridgeless river crossings. It begins on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail 1.7 miles from Pinkham Notch and from late spring to mid fall is usually too wet to be a pleasurable hike.
Because snow can be found in the ravine for more than half of the year, all late fall, winter and spring visitors to the ravine should come prepared with the tools and skills necessary for technical travel in avalanche terrain. Every year the Snow Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents that often result from poor planning, improper skills and equipment, or bad judgment. Don’t be one of them! The following pages provide additional information about the Ravine and will help better prepare you for your next trip. The more research and planning you do now, the safer and more enjoyable will be your trip in the future.
Navigating on Mount Washington in poor visibility can be difficult. These waypoints are provided to help you, but there are a couple caveats you need to be aware of:
- We assume no responsibility for your safety. You are responsible for yourself.
- Bring a map and compass, and know how to use them in adverse environmental conditions. A GPS is a useful tool, but it is not a substitute for these tools.
- GPS devices are not without limitations. You need to be familiar with your device to use this information properly.
- Information is provided in WGS84 Lat/Long. This is the standard system used by 911 and many electronic devices. If you use another datum, you will need to convert this information.
Excel File: Waypoints