View Full Version : Wildcat for Sunrise

03-09-2010, 06:29 PM
There have been two things that I?ve long wanted to do, and have consistently been put on the back seat for one reason or another the past few years. One is catch sunrise from Wildcat as the alpenglow hits the eastern slopes of Mount Washington. The other is to learn to telemark ski, to ease the burden of winter travel.

I?ve always been a snowboarder, but the desire to telemark ski began a few years back on a predawn hike to Tuckerman Ravine with my buddy Greg Petrics of famousinternetskiers.com. Greg moved up the mountain with ease as I labored under the weight of snowshoes on the feat and snowboard and camera gear on my back. I still owe Greg for his help that day. This winter, I finally got the equipment, and went out a few times to try it out?it?s tough! I?m by no means competent, but was confident I could survive down the Polecat this weekend.

My fiance is always nervous about midnight hikes, so we were both relieved that my friend Ryan, the night observer at the Observatory, was on his off week, and up for the hike. We were up at 2:30 and on the trail by 3:30AM. As this was my first time on skins, it took a bit to get the feel of the motion of it all, but was SO glad to have begun making the switch. During the hike, we watched a quarter moon rise over the Carters, and illuminate the large mountain of pure white snow ?across the street?. Just beautiful.

The summit and the sunrise arrived at about the same time, and moderate winds, relatively mild conditions made for fairly easy shooting. The alpenglow was intense, but the clouds were lacking to catch the early light. I also struggled for foreground in the compositions, and am pledging to hike the ridge this summer to look for other angles and outlooks. (If anyone has any tips...please send them my way!)

First Light on the Ridge

Intense Alpenglow From Wildcat; View Larger! (http://bighugelabs.com/onblack.php?id=4420303347&size=large)

A bit later and a bit zoomed...

By 7AM the show was over. I took off the skins and began the trip down. I mentioned that I thought I could survive the trip down. Barely survive I did. With heavy pack and tired legs, it was slow, and tough going. I certainly wouldn?t insult the art and sport of telemarking by claiming that what I did was that. But it was fun.


...and Down

An interesting final note...as I reached the bottom, I was greeted by some of my current students, just beginning their day of skiing as the lifts began to turn. Though they are aware of my odd hiking hours, I think that they were a bit confused as I was putting the skis in the car as the lot began to fill. But, I was tired and breakfast at Pinkham was calling. A full day by 8AM!

PS...Ryan got some GREAT shots of the mountain with his camera in panorama mode. Hope he has access to them so he can post em here!

03-09-2010, 07:25 PM
Great pics. Jim. Actually sounds like a had a really fun time.

03-09-2010, 11:36 PM
PS...Ryan got some GREAT shots of the mountain with his camera in panorama mode. Hope he has access to them so he can post em here!

To save time of reposting my pics, here is a public link to my facebook page to see my pics for this hike as well as small captions under each one. I'd link to my flickr account but it was having issues. You don't need to have an account with FB to view these pics, just click on link then the first picture in the upper left hand corner of the album page and then hit next or click on the picture to scroll through. Link is: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2056470&id=1328737409&l=5c9fbbd856

Hope you enjoy them.