Junk show at Tuckerman’s Ravine?
Rumors of mayhem and unorthodox backcountry etiquette on the slopes of Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mount Washington last Saturday, buzzed on skiing forums over that last few days. Enough so, that the popular forum based website, TimeForTuckermans.com, ended up removing a thread from a snowboarder caught in a wet-slide (one of four that day)…only to be cheered on by lubed-up observers. However, through the power of the world wide web, his initial post has been resurrected…with video too!
Saturday I hiked up to the summit with my roommate to enjoy some record temps at the summit, it hit 56 at 6288ft.. The East Snowfields were buttery soft and untracked lines were plentiful. Traversed over to The Bowl, hiked up a bit to get over to Center Headwall. Standing at the top, I noticed the runout of an avalanche below, under the skiers left side of the main headwall. Figuring I’d be alright more to the right of this I started hammering turns down at a pretty good speed, snow was fairly smooth still. I made it to below the rocks before my routine run changed.
At this point I felt the whole slope give way and start groaning underneath me. I realized quickly I had just touched off an avy and my first instinct was, “Oh $h*t, just point it.” I was able to stay on my feet for a hundred feet or so as the snow was breaking all around me thinking I might beat it. But it had me and soon I was on my ass “paddling” back, just focusing on keeping my board downhill and myself on top of everything, popped back up on my feet and rode it till falling at the very end. At a certain point before coming to rest, I realized I would end up OK and actually started to enjoy it a bit, crazy, I know. At the time of the slide, I was wearing a foam big hand, which also ended up safe on top. The Lunch Rocks erupted into a cheer, hopefully a once in a lifetime experience. Fortunately it was a pretty shallow fracture, only 8-12 inches maybe tops with a clear run out, I was lucky. Here’s what I looked at just after coming to rest below. –TDawg
Many critics say that the crowds cheering on the snowboarder should be given a good tongue lashing (to put it lightly) for turning a potentially serious situation into something...at the very least...entertaining. Others comment that things have totally gotten out of hand on Tuckerman's, with people sliding down the headwall on blow-up dolls and people camped out and eating lunch in obvious run-out zones...all while chugging beers and sipping vino. And still others say that TDawg was irresponsible for riding his snowboard in such hazardous conditions. Seems to me that there is an accident waiting to happen at Tuckerman's, but hopefully those who enjoy the ravine will learn a lesson from last weekends events before that accident strikes.
Now it's easy for us, sitting here in front of our computers, to armchair quarterback this one. Trust me, I've been the center of a few slanderous remarks on this very website for things I may, or may-not, have had control over...and it's not fun. Personally, I try to keep most of my thoughts to myself in these kind of situations because I never know what might happen in the future and you better be willing to take the same heat when the tables are turned.