The first week of April finally brought spring to the high mountains of New England. “If I could wish for a perfect spring day as a Snow Ranger, it might look a lot like today.” expressed the Mount Washington Avalanche Center in their Saturday conditions update.
Friday during the work day plans were formed, and changed by the hour. I ended up driving up with Chris, my MRG tour guide from the previous weekend to Pinkham Notch.
This was the first good spring weekend for skiing and the masses came out to enjoy the mountains.
After several morning delays the crew made it to Hojos and again decision making was not an easy process.
I took off up Hillman’s with Max & Dan while Chris nursed blisters from his first ever skinning experience. It sounded like his ski day would consist of only the Sherburne trail.
Atop Hillman’s the wind was blowing and soft snow we had booted up instantly transitioned to ice. The view, however, did not disappoint. Looks like a great day of spring skiing for those riding the lifts at wildcat.
Our journey turns out was just getting started. After some brief deliberation the group decided that Hillman’s was still a little scratchy and the next ravine down, Gulf of Slides, should provide a softer descent down.
So we traversed the winter desert…. and things started to feel a little funny, almost like we were stepping into another universe.
Soon the snow disappeared and we were sucked down over slippery rocks into the Gully #6 vortex. Damn, from the base much fatter lines were apparent in this zone. Fortunately it’s pull was weak enough to allow us to click in.
Unfortunately this was due a very thin line this season.
Are you ready to jump turn?
The vortex widened and pulled us deeper into the Gulf’s forests.
The utmost focus was necessary,
in order to slip past the sentry sticks trying to strangle us as we made our move to the exit.
Once done with our sporty descent through the vortex we enjoyed prime spring conditions to the parking lot on the Gulf of Slides Ski Trail. Making quick work of the GOST, we all fell over in exhaustion back at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Before we had time to even wonder if Chris was waiting for us at the car or still on the mountain he came flying out of the Sherburne blabbering about skiing remote lines in another dimension.
Turns out badly blistered feet are not enough to keep this man down for long, and figured he could catch up to us. When he gained the ridge atop hillman’s we had already been begun to be sucked into the GOS, when the more powerful vortex of Oakes Gulf sucked Chris off an empty bigelow lawn. If it hadn’t been for the unequilibrium of the Ski Space Time Continuum Chris surely would have been stuck wandering the dry river wilderness for years to come. As we all know, the SSPTC seeks for balance in the mountains and this unbalanced nature overcame the power of the oakes vortex and pushed Chis back up Oakes and down the Tuckerman Ravine back to PNVC, where equilibrium was once again restored.
Once restored we were all able to have a nice discussion of what NOT to do next time visiting the back country.