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  1. #1
    Foliage
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    concord nh
    Posts
    407

    Ammonoosuc Ravine, Mt. Washington

    I climbed the main drainage up the center of Ammonoosuc Ravine today (December 1st). Just before Gem Pool, I left the trail and dipped into the river.

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    My route

    The footing was a bit tricky following the river because it hadn't entirely froze and I was breaking through the thin ice at places.. but before long I was looking up at a giant icy gully.

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    The first few ice sections were very thin with running water so I bypassed them to the right without too much issue. Then the walls of the gully rose up on either side and the ice seemed to go on for a mile. YES.

    About halfway up, I encountered some ice that was close to the limit of my solo comfort level. Since I was by myself and saw a do-able escape up the gully wall, I decided to bypass it. The thrashing was a full body workout. As I made my way back towards the drainage, the only way to get back down was to rappel! I was forced into more thrashing up the ravine until I found an entrance back in. The going was slow through thick shrubs. I missed out on a giant flow perched just above what I chose to bypass.. and all I could do was look at it with longing and take a picture.

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    But the disappointment ended quickly as I encountered countless ice steps with varied features that kept it very fun.

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    At the top of the ice section, beautiful formations hung down guarding the exit. What a cool reward.

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    Once the ice was over, it was a long slog up to the Westside Trail. Just when I thought it was about to get miserable, I noticed the cairn. The visibility was low above treeline, it was chilly and snowing but the winds weren't bad at all. I took a quick look at my map and decided I was closer to the Lakes of the Clouds hut then the Jewell Trail so I headed down to the hut and took the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail back down. I thought it was appropriate since Lakes of the Clouds are the headwaters for the 55 mile Ammonoosuc River. I turned my headlamp on once I got to Gem Pool again and had a warm, enjoyable hike out.

    (click image thumbnails to enlarge)
    Last edited by leaf; 12-01-2012 at 10:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Laconia, NH
    Posts
    198
    Nice Job! Any guess as to what grade the gully goes at (2+, 3-)??

  3. #3
    Poser
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    concord nh
    Posts
    2,247
    Nice job Courtney. You now know about what you thought of all last week!

    Good photo's too.....
    ~ac
    I'm on the lamb, but I ain't no sheep

  4. #4
    Foliage
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    concord nh
    Posts
    407
    Scott, I'd give it a 3. If the lower falls freeze up before the snow dumps in there, add a + to that.
    Last edited by leaf; 12-02-2012 at 09:28 AM.

  5. #5
    Nothing like some quality time alone in the woods in the winter...

    Bet that was a satisfying day!

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    234
    What an adventure!.. and a great read with lots of pics. lovin it.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Chester, NH
    Posts
    91
    Great writeup Leaf! Digging the pics.... Looking like a cool place to explore

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    11
    Whoa! Who knew all that ice was back there? Looks awesome, definitely want to check that out. Nicely done!

  9. #9
    Foliage
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    concord nh
    Posts
    407
    Thank you!


    I recommend this route during this time of year, when the cold is consistent for a week or two and little snow has fallen. I was surprised how deep the gully was in some places.. there were cliffs to either side of me at times, making the route more committing than it already is. Yes, it is for those who have a healthy appetite for adventure and a full day to experience it.


    Sometimes, and most times without effort, it is hard to get away from the 'bustle' of the White Mountains... like standing in line at the base of Pinnacle Gully.. So when I can plunge into rarely climbed places safely, I do. I had been watching the weather, climbing in other areas of the Whites for a few weeks now and I had a good feeling it was the right time to explore that side of Mt. Washington. It was a full on adventure starting with the simple fact that I had no idea what I would encounter. Being in a place tucked away like that gives me that remote wilderness feeling that I love, but that is hard to replicate each and every time I head north. This route was something I had wanted to do for awhile, so getting it done in those conditions and in the style I did was very satisfying. Climbing alone heightens every sensation, every movement and every decision. It is only then that I feel I am truly engaging with the mountains.

  10. #10
    That is so cool! Can't wait to lead W3 ... I've always had a gut feeling about Ammonoosuc. Great job documenting.

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