View Full Version : Lion's Head twice in month...

07-11-2009, 04:03 PM
A couple weeks ago, I wanted to introduce my girlfriend to the joys of New Hampshire hiking. She's been wanting to do Washington for a while, so she, my sister and I packed our backpacks and set off for Pinkham Notch and all that lay beyond. As it turns out, she loved it, but our round trip time ended up being about twelve hours, if you can believe it. I don't think I've ever been passed on the trail before, but on that day....
Anyway, I felt the need to redeem my performance a bit. So today, my brother, dad, and I embarked on the trail again, with the agreement that I would give it my best shot, and wait at the car for them. I took up my pack and set foot on the trail. Eventually I got up to Lion's Head, but somehow took the wrong trail and ended up heading down a little into Tuckerman's Ravine. That took about 10-15 minutes that I shouldn't have had to use, but still, I got back on the right trail and kept clawing my way to the top. I finally reached the summit sign with a time of 1:35. Not great, but better then last time. I'm an avid cyclist, and so the Newton's revenge bike race distracted me a little, but I finally got back on the trail and slogged away back to the Notch, finally reaching it at about 2:46:30. My sister said she hated me. :)

But the time wasn't the only reason to be on the mountain. It was a lovely day up there, with gorgeous views that seem to be all too rare on that mountain.

First, my traveling companion:


Next, Tuckerman's ravine:


Vinny again: :)


Indeed, a nice day in the mountains.

07-12-2009, 07:50 AM
Geez, and I was feeling pleased with myself last month for getting from Pinkham to Hermit Lake in an hour (2.4 miles, 1860 vertical).:confused: Oh well, that was a situation of checking the watch out of idle curiosity once I got there... I could have gotten there and on to the top MUCH faster if I'd wanted, she says to herself... (especially if I hadn't gone by way of Boott Spur Link:)

Bretton Woods Brat
07-12-2009, 07:56 AM
Nice job! Yeah Vinny! ;)

Bill O
07-12-2009, 08:31 PM
I'm trying to reconcile this a little because that time seems very fast. Both up and down. Did you stop the clock when you rested or took those photos? Did you stop the clock at the top? 1:10 on the way down is equally impressive in the summer.

I know some of the fastest EMS guides post times like that in the winter when you have smooth snow and easier terrain.

The most elite athletes run the Auto Road in about 1 hour (with no packs and full hydration support). It may be twice as long, but it's more vertical and distance really isn't the issue here.

On the other hand. If you're able to master the rock hopping and keep a steady pace it seems doable. A few years ago I was able to run up about 1,300 vertical feet in 23-25 minutes, and more than 2,000 in an hour with good trails.

07-12-2009, 11:50 PM
I started the stopwatch at the big Tuckerman's ravine trail sign down at Pinkham Notch and stopped it there when I got back - the time includes everything. I'd like to try it in winter when it's so much smoother - I bet it'd be a lot easier.

I've been hiking in the Whites for many years, though (my first time up in the Presidentials was when, if I remember right, I was about seven), so I've got a lot of experience with dealing with the rocky terrain. And I'm a competitive cyclist, so I'm in pretty decent shape. It's really quite doable, as long as one's in shape - I think the record to the summit is something like 56 minutes.

And Krummholz, how is that trail? My dad's been wanting to go up that for a while now.

07-13-2009, 08:35 AM
The best way I can answer the question about the Boott Spur Link is to post the following link with photos and description. The third photo is good for showing the steepness:


As far as doing it in winter is concerned, I don't know if you've done that before, but in case you haven't: it can sometimes be easier above treeline because you're not rockhopping, but only if the trail is well packed and not icy so that you don't have to wear crampons on that part. You'll be carrying a lot more weight, and the section up the steep part of the winter Lion's Head route will definitely require crampons, so you may have stops for gear changes.