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Saturday (almost) Summit to Pinkham

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  • Saturday (almost) Summit to Pinkham

    Friday weather report said Saturday would give dead calm and clear high pressure, it felt like the best chance I've had yet this year for a summit run. On the move solo uphill from Pinkham by 8:20, met up with a crew of three who I had talked to earlier this year in the bowl and we joined forces for the top.

    In Tuckerman left side across to the lip was very scoured and hard, best snow was visible in Right and Lobster, so up Right we went, which lined up well with the plan. Weather report held, it was dead calm all the way to the top. Hard packed and wind blown snow up from the garden, once at the rocks on Lion's Head route it was rock walking all the way to the top. Not much snow to be seen along the trail. Top was very well scoured, so much so that we can't call it a true Summit to Pinkham ski run. Had to walk down to the pavement, ice skated down the auto road, rock walked a short stretch to the top of the snowfields.

    Snowfields were a sheet of ice that wasn't softening even in full sun, not quite warm enough. We headed for the occasional 3 - 6" deep patches of snow we could see, skiing patches on down, traversing to the next patch as each patch ran out. They all stayed stuck to the ice sheet at least... Turns were made, views were amazing, mountaineers on Lion's Head route were impressed.

    One of us skied the lip, the others went for the good snow in Lobster Claw. It's very narrow right now, as is Right Gully. 8' wide max at the narrowest point. Felt a bit of softening starting once we broke into the opening below the claw, just enough to grip.

    Headwall is nicely filled back in, which is a relief from a week ago, but you have to go left leaving the bowl trail side, right side is solid vegetation and impassable at the moment.

    Sherburne skied great, soft snow all the way down. 4,200' of continuous down is still very special, even if all the turns aren't completely magic.

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  • #2
    Super. Thanks for the report.

    There is often a section of the road on the summit runs that is like that. It sometimes does have snow/ice and you can ski it.

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    • #3
      Nice report. January is the most reliable true summit sign to car run month based on my dozens of times doing them.

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      • #4
        And for the easties to soften under full sun the daytime high down in Jackson needs to be at least 50 degrees with light to no wind. I usually like to see mid 50's to ensure good softening up high. 40 degrees in Jackson with full sun and light to no wind for the claw and right for good softening from the top. Lip a lil bit warmer.

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        • #5
          Great trip report! Nice to hear detailed description of LC and Right Gully, I thought it looked tight in a recent photo I saw elsewhere. It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock and roll. Summiting is in its own category, in my book, that "counts" in any month, if you hiked or skied the route; skiing from the summit cairn is another category, maybe not Saturday; but in the top-to-bottom (T2B) skiing category, I'd say you scored another, starting above 6100 feet on Otto is close enough, especially since you didn't just ditch the skis at the top of East Snowfields, AND had enough snow to ski all the way to Pinkham, at the bottom. Love that. You are fortunate to have hit the perfect weather, on a weekend, no less, where we are famous for the worst weather (or wind) in the world
          "The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready." - Henry David Thoreau

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