|The Harvard Cabin|
Well, I finally made it up for an overnight at the
Before I mention anything
else though, I should clarify that the Harvard Cabin is not affiliated with the
Appalachian Mountain Club.
The cabin is
maintained by the Harvard
we’re all here on the same mountain, in the same national forest, with the same
special-use permits from the Forest Service.
No reason not to be friends.
for the uninitiated: what is the Harvard Cabin?
Where is it?
|Inside the Harvard Cabin|
The Harvard Cabin is a fully enclosed, self-service,
public-use cabin near Huntington Ravine.
Its location makes it a great staging area for ice climbers, backcountry
skiers, and mountaineers, but everyone is equally welcome. Inside the cabin is a propane stove and
plenty of cookware. Water comes from a
stream behind the cabin – clear, cold, mountain water. The cabin is unheated, but there is a wood
stove that generally burns from 4 pm until 9 pm. There is room for 16 people to sleep in the
loft, and another 16 may camp outside in the vicinity. Outside the cabin is a privy (solids only).
|The sleeping area in the loft of the Harvard Cabin|
Every morning at 7, the Mount Washington Observatory
broadcasts the weather
over the radio.
forecast includes a general summary for the higher summits and the Mount
Washington Valley, as well as specifics on temperature, wind, and
Around the same time, the
cabin gets a visit from the Forest Service Snow Rangers.
The Snow Rangers visit Tuckerman and Huntington
Ravine each morning to write a report on snow conditions and avalanche
The weather and avalanche reports
posted inside the cabin.
cabin is a large advisory board, which is updated daily with both reports and
specific conditions for the main climbing routes in Huntington Ravine.
|The Fire Road|
The caretakers, Rich and Marcia, live in the cabin all
winter to keep things running smoothly.
have spent eight winters in the cabin between the two of them, giving the place
the feeling of home.
Rich and Marcia
offer a wealth of knowledge, hospitality, and levity.
They are among the coolest and most amicable people
around, and would love to have your company.
Overnights at the cabin operate on a first-come,
first-served basis. Your best bet is to come by the Pinkham Notch Visitor
, where there is a registration book for the Harvard Cabin.
The cabin is 2 mile hike from the visitor
Take the Tuckerman Ravine up,
passing over three snow-covered wood bridges, then hang a right onto the Fire
Road when you see the orange sign for the Lion Head Trail.
A few more tenths of a mile brings you to the
advisory board and the cabin.
with Rich and Marcia upon arrival, with whom you’ll pay your fee of $15 per
person per night to stay inside, or $10 per person per night to stay outside.
Some more beta, as they would say at the cabin:
- The water is not filtered or treated. Guests may bring purification or filtration
methods if they would like.
- You are responsible for your own food, but no
need to bring a stove, cookware, or utensils.
Bring your own sleeping bag. Sleeping pads are useful too, unless you
enjoy sleeping on hard wood floors.
- Bring a headlamp.
- Pets are not permitted inside the cabin.
- Please leave pet dinosaurs outside.
- Pack it in, pack it out.
cabin closes for the season on April 5!
One week left to pop in and check it out
After a night at the cabin, I headed to Huntington Ravine
with Marcia. We brought the whole outfit:
crampons, ice tools, harnesses, helmets, hardware, protection, and rope. Marcia hadn’t seen Escape Hatch yet this
season and it was my first time climbing in the ravine, so we headed for the
far left side of the ravine. The conditions
for the approach were great. It was just
soft enough for solid footing, just hard enough to avoid postholing. Before the route got steeper, we donned our
helmets, harnesses, and crampons. Safety
first. Conditions were pretty mild
though, so we were able to work our way up the snow slope without feeling the
need to get out the rope.
Before long, we made it to the top of Escape Hatch, which
is marked by a shovel handle poking out of a cairn. I’d share a picture, but it’s more fun to see
it with your own eyes after earning it.
We ambled over to the Alpine Garden Trail and looked from side to
side. A frozen pool to the left, the
Lion Head Trail beyond. A dotted line of
cairns tracing the top of the ravine to Nelson Crag. A rock spotted slope up to the summit of
Marcia and I hiked over to the Lion Head and began the
descent. We carefully made our way down,
as the trail is extremely steep. Making
full use of the crampons and ice tools, we carefully passed one steep section
after another, both of us hyper aware of the number of injuries that are
sustained over this 0.4 mile stretch of trail.
We safely got back down to the Fire Road, took off our crampons, and
walked back to the Harvard Cabin for a hot drink.
Lion Head beta:
- The first 0.4 mile of the Winter Lion Head Route
from the Fire Road is extremely steep.
- Crampons, a mountaineering axe, and the
knowledge to use both appropriately are a must when taking the winter route to
Lion Head or the summit.
- This is one of the most common locations where
visitors sustain injuries. Don’t take
Depending on conditions, parts of this trail may
be exposed rock, rock with verglas, packed snow, etc. Be sure that you are prepared for a wide
range of possible conditions.
- Swing by the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, the
Hermit Lake caretaker’s cabin, or the Harvard Cabin for the latest trail
As always you can check AMC Conditions
for the latest report from the snow stakes and/or call us
Pinkham to see what we're seeing out our windows and for the best trail
advice we can give you! Starting March 23rd we are going to be starting the Bed and Breakfast Tuckerman specials here at Joe Dodge Lodge
again for $49!
From skiing safety to lodging, check out our comprehensive resource for properly preparing for your trip to Tuckerman Ravine >>
For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice,
please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
front desk. We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from
6:30 AM to 9:00 PM or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To make
reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available
Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm.
Happy Winter Adventuring!
AMC Backcountry Information Specialist
Labels: 4000 foot peaks, Alpine Zone, AMC Huts, avalanche reports, Camping, Huntington Ravine, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Pinkham Notch, ski and stay packages, White Mountains