Winter is Here!

Wildcat from Tuckerman Ravine
Well folks!!!  By the time I get this published, conditions may be completely different again but let
The Tux Trail
me give you a glimpse of what is going on up here in the Notches!!!
I myself have been cross country skiing over at Great Glen Trails so unfortunately I have not collected any great pictures over the last few weeks.  "Skiing?" you say.  Absolutely!!!  It's tough and it's not what we used to have but if you want to get out in the winter these days you need to seize the day and go when the "moment" is right!
We had no snow at all until just after Christmas.  We then had several storms spread out, each dropping 4-5 inches of snow.  People actually skied and ENJOYED the John Sherburne Trail down from Tuckerman Ravine (top to bottom) for a couple of days after each storm!  That does NOT mean it is skiable today!  But if you are interested, give us a call and we can pass on our most recent report!  You'll note the pictures of the Sherburne I've included...still skiable but tending towards not necessarily enjoyable!  (All pictures are compliments of Ben Cargill.  Thanks Ben!)
A few weeks ago we got the incredible rain which brought
Looking down on Hermit Lake
the snow pack down and froze it over as the temperatures went down again.  Then we received this light fluffy stuff that blew absolutely everywhere!  Finally we got another few inches of powder and really outrageously high winds which not only blew puffs of white outs all over and created some crazy drifts, but scoured the surfaces at the same time.  This has left us with some pretty hard pack snow which in places in deep and hard packed, in places is deep and breakable, and in places is down to ice over the grass!  Mount Washington is claiming 15 inches of snow on the summit.  We are registering 10 inches and Tuckerman Ravine has 24 inches at the snow stake.  Check the AMC Trails Conditions for the current snow amounts at our other locations!
People have been skiing Front Country successfully for several weeks now.  Our downhill Notch partners, Wildcat and Attitash, are open and running and people have been enjoying themselves daily. With the cold temperatures they have been able to make snow and groom so they progress...
The backcountry for skiing is another story.  Other than the Sherburne you may have some difficulties with rocks poking out and patches of ice interspersed with
The Top of the Sherbie
deep drifts.  If you have some luck out there, be sure to let us know!  Someone tried Avalanche Brook and said it was pretty gnarly.  I myself tried a short backcountry trail off of the Great Glen system and it was pretty narrow due to the rocks poking through the shallow snow pack.
Cross country skiing frontcountry has been nice.  Again our Notch partner, Great Glen Trails, is open and running nicely.
Be sure to check out our Lodge and Ski Stays at Joe Dodge Lodge to make use of these facilities!
You may actually have some nice luck with snowshoeing because of the drifts! If I was heading out to elevation or on a basically not used trail, I would expect to use them!  On Mount Washington, we are TODAY using the Lion Head Winter Route to gain the summit.  This means you now need your crampons and ice ax to go "up" and I would suggest they are a good choice anywhere above treeline you plan to head at this point in the game! And be sure to check the Mount Washington Avalanche Center report before you go!
Challenging for sure!
Folk are ice climbing and ice climbing successfully!  We had some extremely happy people come in the other day having summitted through Central Gully!  I hear they are having successful fun climbs through Odells and Pinnacle as well.  Check NE Climbs or NE Ice for better information!
It is gorgeous up here in the Notch!  I recommend coming up and base camping out of the Joe Dodge Lodge and even deciding what to do once you get here!  We'd be happy to set you up with snowshoes, hiking poles, or light traction out of our demonstration program and then give you the best trail advice we can find to send you on your way!

We are available by phone at (603)466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM or by email at  To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm. 

Happy Adventuring!
AMC Backcountry Information Specialist

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