View Full Version : ski or snowboard from summit

02-15-2007, 03:44 PM
I am planning a trip up the lion's head rout of the mountain, and I was wondering, is it possible to climb up that rout and ski down another? Or, is it possible to ski down any of the routes? Thanks!


Bill O
02-15-2007, 03:59 PM
Short answer no. Long answer yes, with a but.

Yes, you can ski off the summit, or very near the summit. The preferred route would be down the East Snowfields, traversing high above the Alpine Garden then dropping into Tuckerman Ravine, and down the usual way.

I'm skeptical telling you this because this descent is for experts only. Some, but not all of the risk include: Getting lost in the Alpine Garden and skiing into Huntington Ravine, falling down or over a cliff in Tuckermans, falling into a crevasse in Tuckerman's, and getting caught in an avalanche.

You cannot ski down the actual Lion Head's trail. It is too narrow, and people use it for hiking. So if you hike up Lion Head, you'll have to ski into Tucks without knowing the route. You won't know the safest line down Tucks, and you won't know the snow conditions. You may ski into Tucks and find yourself on top of a cliff where a fall could kill you.

KD Talbot
02-15-2007, 07:59 PM
I am not much of a back country skiier and certainly no expert on skiing Mount Washington, Bill is lightyears ahead of me in that department. The reason I am commenting is this. The golden rule of back country skiing is, "Never ski down something you haven't climbed." Climbing the route you intend to ski back down gives you a preview of what to expect on the descent. Ice, rocks, bare spots, avalanche potential, etc. Having done this would have prevented a death to one skier and serious injury to another on Mount Clay a couple of years ago. So, I say if you're going to ski it, climb it first, and as Bill stated, you cannot ski back down Lion's Head Trail.

From Lion Head one could conceivably ski down The Sluice, Right Gully, or Lion Head Gully 1, 2 or 3, but I emphasize the need to know the course before skiing it, so, in my mind, climbing it first is essential. These routes can all be reached from the "Floor" of Tuckerman Ravine.

rockin rex
02-17-2007, 10:31 PM
As I sit here with a possible A.C.L. tear and a possible Petella Tendon torn in half all from a ski accident let me comment. Tucks is not a place to take lightly. It is extreme skiing in spots which means " you fall you die". Too ski from the summit to the Sherburne trail and out can be done but I would only attempt it if number one you are an EXPERT and number 2 only with someone who has done it before and knows all the ins and outs. tucks is a fun place to ski but it is not your local ski hill. you can go to the tuckermans friends forum to get more info on skiing tucks.

KD Talbot
02-18-2007, 02:57 PM
I should have added to my last entry that there is not enough snow to ski any of the gullies or the Sluice from Lion's Head. There is barely enough snow to ski The Bowl in Tux.

Rex, that is certainly bad news. Not to diminish your injury, but I had emergency surgery on my right knee in June '01 with 44 of 48 mountains on my NH 4000 footer list. I was pissed! I still finished my next 4 by 9/15 that year, so don't lose hope!

I play hockey, but that's not what happened. I did it playing frisbee at a hockey cookout! Years before I messed up the same knee playing softball. I was told then that I had a torn ACL. MRI confirmed it, supposedly. After hearing what the surgery would entail, I chose not to have it. I was playing hockey again, with a brace, in 6 weeks. Very painful at first but eventually got better.

With the more recent injury I broke miniscus cartilage that lodged between the upper and lower bones of my leg, keeping me from straightening my leg. I told the surgeon about the previous ACL tear. While he was scoping around and removing cartilage he took a picture of my INTACT ACL. Thank God I didn't have the original surgery.

Now, was the first surgeon wrong, or did my torn ACL just reattach itself?

I guess the moral here is GET TWO OPINIONS.

Whether you have surgery or not go through with whatever therapy they give you, this is the ONLY WAY to get better. Many people don't and suffer with a bad knee the rest of their lives. I went through it after surgery and returned to play hockey 2-3 times a week and took up skiing which I hadn't done since I was a child. My knee is not 100% but I can do everything I did before, plus skiing. I have also done the 4000 footers two more times since then. THERE IS LIFE AFTER KNEE SURGERY!