Return of the "Knee Hammering" Rocks (Mount Washington)

Date of Hike: 5/16/10

Tuckerman Ravine Trail: 2.5 miles
Lion Head Trail: 1.6 miles
Tuckerman Ravine Trail: 1.0 miles
Lawn Cutoff: .4 miles

Davis Path: .6 miles
Boot Spur: .7 miles
Boot Spur Link: .6 miles
Tuckerman Ravine Trail: 3.9
Total Miles: 11.3 miles (elevation gain 5,100 feet)

Trip Report:
- For the past 5 months I have been hiking in full winter gear or with the gear strapped or stuffed in my pack and although I have enjoyed almost every minute of hiking during the winter I have about had it carrying extra weight seeing that it is now the middle of May. I almost decided to go hike the Catskills this weekend but I figured this would probably be the last time I'd have to bring the gear along eventhough I'd probably use it for only 5 tenths of a mile....I was wrong I only needed it for about 2 tenths of a mile! So I sucked it up and with great weather forecast for Sunday I set my sights on checking out the skiers and boarders in Tuckerman Ravine and of course a quick hike up to Mount Washington's summit.
- Left RI at 4:15am, on trail at 8am, summited 11am, finished at 3:30pm. Temps at trailhead to Hermit Lakes Shelter 50-60 degrees, temps on summit 30 degrees, 50-70 MPH winds, wind chill 10-20 degrees...clouds gave way to a clear bright sunny sky with 100 + visibility!
- The route that I had planned to hike was Tuckerman Ravine trail to Lion Head trail (up and down), and head over to the bottom of Tuckerman Ravine and watch the skiers from Lunch Rocks.
- I stopped in at Hermit Lake Shelter to ask the caretaker about trail conditions and just to double check the weather report. After refueling and changing gear I went back to the Lion Head Trail junction and started on my way towards treeline.
- Above treeline winds were constantly whipping out of the west/north west right into my face and I had to break out gloves/hat/winter wind breaker
- Lion Head Trail is mostly snow free now and the knee hammering rocks have returned after months of being hidden beneath the snow. There were a couple of steep sections of spring snow just past the Alpine Garden junction where I used my crampons for about 5 minutes eventhough they were not needed and didn't help much.
- The trail hooks back up with the Tuckerman Ravine trail .4 miles below the summit and the trail becomes a series of boulders which you get to enjoy until just below the summit where the trail ends at the lower parking lot where you are greeted by about 50 of the most annoying wooden steps known to man!
- Wind speeds at the summit were fast and furious making it fun to try and attempt to stand upright on the observation deck
- The inside of the summit building is now open for hikers but nothing else is up and going inside, but it's nice and warm and was a perfect chance to eat lunch and warm up.
- On descent when I arrived at the Tuckerman/Lion Head junction and decided "screw it I'm going over to the Boot Spur and down the boot Spur Link!"
- The hike over the Lawn cutoff, Davis Path, and Boot Spur was very windy but the views and almost no one on the trail made it a great hike.
- The Boot Spur Link on the other hand was not so much fun below treeline where the snow still lingers a few feet deep and the trail is extremely steep. I started off kicking in step after step for .1 no avail, then I decided to butt slide for .1 mile...way to fast and not safe, so with my A$$ and hands numb I had to put on my snowshoes for about .1 mile until it leveled out where I took off the snowshoes and immediately postholed both legs into the snow up to my waist!
- The Boot Spur Link conveniently comes out right at Hermit Lakes Shelter where I then hiked .7 miles up to Lunch Rocks at the bottom of the Tuckerman Ravine Headwall to relax for a while and watch all the skiers slowly make there way up parts of the ravine then ski back down. There were about three dozen people watching from lunch rocks and about two dozen skiers scattered all over the ravine where there were no crevasses.
- The hike back to Pinkham Notch was pretty fast and very boring as the Tuckerman Ravine trail from Hermit Lakes to PNVC is not difficult but after a long day your knees get beat up on the rocky trail-bed which is not so enjoyable!
- back at the car I went to the pack room to stretch and relax before I headed to stay in Gorham for the night to prepare for Monday's hike of Galehead and the Twin Mountains...all in all another awesome day of hiking above treeline!

Pictures: Click here to view all pictures

Hermit Lake Shelter
Tuckerman Ravine Headwall
Wildcat and Cater Mountains from Boot Spur Trail
Tuckerman Ravine
Floor of the ravine and 'Lunch Rocks'