Harvard Cabin Update – Happy Holidays!

Santa Claus FA. "Tinsel & Mistletoe" WI 4 Somewhere Near the North Pole - Photo by Cramp!, NEice Photo Gallery

Seasons Greetings,

Just a quick holiday greeting as Marcia and I are about to head back up the trail with our annual Christmas Ham. Cabin visitors over the next few days may get to enjoy some left-overs! Sorry, no guarantees!

General Conditions

Conditions are improving ever so slightly. Weather is still extremely variable. For example, I enjoyed the my first frosty beard in O’Dells on Friday while climbing with HMC President Peter McCarthy. Then on Wednesday, it was a glove-less day in Pinnacle Gully. Even still, it was about the best ice I’ve climbed this season!

So, without getting into too much detail, it is slowly but surely starting to look and feel like winter on the Rockpile. Hermit Lake Caretaker Dave Weston and I were able to make about 30 linked turns on a powdery summit cone on Sunday, December 17th. As is normal, South-Easterly aspects make for nice catch, even when snow-fall is minimal. Of course, not too long after that we saw temperatures rise again along with the return of mixed and liquid precipitation.

Of course, the precipitation and relatively thin snow-pack,  is making for some interesting conditions on higher-angle terrain, thus prompting the season’s first General Advisory to be posted for Tuckerman Ravine. You can read the Advisory and see recent photos taken in the Ravines at http://www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.

Traction Required

As you’ve probably guessed, the unstable weather has made for some interesting trail conditions. Just short of needing to pitch-out the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, for now traction is REQUIRED!  Of course, crampons will work but lighter forms of traction like Micro-spikes, Yak-Traks, Stabilicers, etc would be ideal. To be clear, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is locked in Ice from Pinkham to Hermit Lake, so please be careful, especially with heavy packs. Exercise extra caution if you are using your crampons while traveling on hiking trails.

Harvard Cabin Registration

Just a reminder, if you are planning on staying at Harvard Cabin, registration is first come, first serve. The Harvard Cabin Register can be found at the Front-Desk at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center from 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM. After hours, 9:00 PM – 6:30 AM, you’ll find the register downstairs in the Pack-up room. Please take time to read all instructions and information and to complete the registration process. This will ensure everyone’s stay at Harvard Cabin is comfortable and enjoyable!

I’m hoping for a busy holiday week. If you’re coming up for New Years…..bring a tent, just in case it gets a little too “hot” in the cabin!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year and Happy Climbing!

Time to get this pig up the trail. See you soon,

Rich Palatino
Harvard Cabin Caretaker
Rich@powder-hound.comNOTE – Harvard Cabin is not affiliated with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Harvard Cabin is maintained by Harvard Mountaineering Club for use by the general public. The cabin is operated under a special-use permit granted by the USDA Forest Service. Cabin space and tent-sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis between December 1st and April 1st each year. Specific instructions for staying at the cabin can be found online at http://www.HarvardMountaineering.org.
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