Weekend Wrap Up February 10, 2013

Start of Tuck trail and Old Jackson Rd. - Photo M. Micucci


Well, well and woo hoo!  To all of you who did snow dances a big thank you goes out from us here in Pinkham  Notch.  The reset button has been hit and winter is once again upon us.  A light but steady stream of skiers and snowshoers passed through here yesterday and today and if rosy cheeks and smiling faces are any indication of the quality of the back country conditions, then things are pretty darn good out there. 

Avalanche Notice Board at Pinkham Notch - Photo M. Micucci
Reports on the Sherburne and Gulf of Slides ski trails have been punctuated by lots of “Wow’s!”, but we are discouraging travel deep into the ravines as avalanche conditions are as severe as they’ve been in some time – in fact, I don’t recall the ‘EXTREME’ rating being on the board anytime in the last two years --and that’s what we had yesterday.    Things do change quickly so be sure to check the latest conditions at www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org  if you’re plans have you headed up that way.

I got lucky, managing to spend the morning at Wildcat www.skiwildcat.com  and came away with aching jaw muscles from maintaining the ear to ear grin for 4 hours.   Reports from Great Glen www.greatglentrail.com  and Jackson Ski Touring Center are equally good so no matter your style of skiing, you likely found satisfaction out there on the slopes and trails of our neighbors in the notch.

Anyway, enough about what’s been and let’s look at the coming week.  Monday and Tuesday look to be the most interesting days ahead with precipitation forecast for both days.  What form that precip takes is up in the air, (pun intended),  but most forecasts are calling for a wintry mix including some rain for part of the forecast period.  Each day should end with snow so while it’s not likely that we’ll wind up with a net gain in the snow pack, adding density to what we have on the ground may be a good thing.   Temperatures will be on the mild side throughout the week and come Thursday some more sunshine, so with lots of still untracked terrain out there, it could end up as a very good week to get out and play.

As I indicated in the first paragraph, traffic has been light out on the trails so be sure you have floatation.  Most areas of the White Mountains got over a foot of new and we got over two feet in the northern Whites.  Hermit Lake now has 53 inches on the ground so there is plenty of snow  requiring snowshoes everywhere you want to go.  That said, don’t forget traction as many areas experienced strong winds so you’ll find exposed stretches of trails that have been scoured leaving a solid layer of ice.   Traction is particularly important if you’re planning on going above tree line.  Please remember that micro-spikes are not crampons.   While they do very well on low angle trails, for the steeper sections of the Lion Head winter route, for example and other above tree line ice, a full crampon is recommended.

This ends the weekend review and my look ahead.  I hope you get out to enjoy what winter has to offer.
Happy Trails!

Mike Micucci
Appalachian Mountain Club
Backcountry Information Specialist

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