Hillman's Highway, Mt. Washington, NH 5/16/99

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Hillman's Highway, Mt. Washington, NH 5/16/99

Postby JimB » Mon Apr 17, 2000 12:00 pm

<I>(Note from the Administrator: This report was originally posted on 5/18/99. Due to our move to new servers, the date and time attributed to this post is incorrect.)</I> <BR> <BR>The day began well with a double Bullwinkle spotting on Rt. <BR>16 just north of Dolly Cop campground at about 8:30. This <BR>time a male with a modest rack and what looked to be an awkward, <BR>greyish juvenile lurking in the woods. <BR>Sunday found a smaller group (Denis, Mark, Dick, Jesse, myself) <BR>on the Ravine trail by 9 am or so and got us all up to Hermit <BR>Lake by 11. I had some time to scope lines and Hillman's <BR>looked by far the most complete run. The Tucks Headwall looked pretty <BR>much done from H. Lake but I'm betting Left Gully is still <BR>good all the way up. Open waterfall where Icefall was two weeks <BR>earlier. All those lines are closed up, but many folks could be <BR>seen ascending the 2/3 of Chute that was left. Matt Duffy may <BR>have headed to the Bowl for closer inspection.... <BR> <BR>Dodge's looked possible, and even Duchess might have been doable <BR>by the very craziest of sliders. Lower Snowfields looked pristine <BR>but were cut off from access via Hillman's. <BR>Temps were low 70s with a little more breeze than Sat. but still <BR>quite warm. Snow was much sloppier than the corn from Sat. <BR>requiring more effort going up and down. <BR> <BR>Mark, Jesse and I started up and Jesse forged ahead. He's a 19 <BR>year old sponsored mtn. biker who snowboards almost as well as <BR>he bikes. Terrific young man who was very impressed by his first <BR>trip to the Rockpile and vowed he'll be back earlier in the season <BR>next year to board Tucks. <BR>I struggled to keep up with Jesse, passing a couple folks on the <BR>way up, admiring the view of Hermit Lake and looming Boot Spur. <BR>One fellow was dragging his skis up behind him. Looked painful and <BR>slow, but hey, if it works... <BR>Got to the top about 12:45 and quickly snapped photos from the ridge <BR>line with the summit cone and cog train visible in the background. <BR>The breeze was stiffer at the top but the sun was so strong it <BR>made a perfect balance. The train gave a toot and we headed down. <BR>Got some good actions shots of Jesse as he descended the first pitch <BR>and said tearful goodbyes to Mark before heading down myself. <BR>The first pitch was sweet, not too sloppy with smallish bumps. As <BR>the run narrows and steepens the ruts grew, but they had their <BR>own appeal. You could hop down the side and avoid 'em or play in <BR>the troughs. Below the narrow section the snow got quite sloppy and <BR>Jesse and I paused to spend a few more sublime moments with the view. <BR>The rest of the run was awkward with rubbery legs and slush bumps but <BR>big smiles. Jesse pulled a couple 180s off the bumps with perfect form. <BR> <BR>We passed a guy ascending with a long plastic sled <BR>who claimed he'd steer it with his elbows. We wondered how he made out. <BR>The bottom came all too soon with Denis snapping action shots of Jesse and <BR>I. He and Dick had ascended most of the way and had a sweet run <BR>themselves. As we hurriedly packed and got some last photos we saw <BR>a lone figure at the top of the headwall for Dodge's Drop. This <BR>was the Smuggs employee Mark mentioned. He negotiated the cornice <BR>well, and made well-controlled turns down the extremely steep and <BR>narrow, shadowy top part. He paused, hit the throat with perfect control, <BR>and generally impressed the hell out of everyone. Those first five turns <BR>have to be over 50 degrees steep. <BR>We didn't get to meet this demi-god but <BR>we did run into a 60something fellow Denis and I had seen cycling Right <BR>Gully last May. He's been coming to Tucks for over 40 years. Charlie, <BR>I believe. Said he'd tried the Florida thing and hated it. No offense, <BR>Mr. Guido. Charlie climbs like a 20 year old and skis like a 30 <BR>year old level 3 instructor. <BR>Jesse and I blasted down the trail to meet Kathleen at 2:30 and made <BR>it down from the bottom of Hillman's in 35 mins. Took two minor spills <BR>on the way down, enough to confirm that hiking down is not that much fun <BR>with 40 lbs. high on your back. It must have been close to 80 at <BR>Pinkham Notch. The 3 min. $1 shower was quite welcome. <BR>Kathleen recounted their trip up the auto road, which had just opened. <BR>Very white-knuckle ride, but at least the old Audi made it okay. Conor <BR>seemed to like it. <BR>All in all, a perfect weekend full of sun and just enough snow. <BR>Great company made what would have been just a fun weekend into <BR>a memorable one that generated that skivt group energy that seems <BR>to equate to fabulous skiing no matter what the conditions. <BR>I'd like ot make it back one more time, but reality, a summer job <BR>and class may encroach. <BR> <BR>Anyone interested in the Climb to the Clouds <BR>race the last weekend in June? I always watch that race on taped delay <BR>in the wee hours on ESPN, but up close might be more fun. <BR>Check out <A HREF="http://www.climbtotheclouds.com">http://www.climbtotheclouds.com</A> for info. Looks like 6:30 minutes <BR>might be possible if the weather is good. A purpose-built Audi S2 <BR>is entered for a shot at the record.
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