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 George....Up Tux, Down De Head of De Lion. ;-) 9714 
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 George....Up Tux, Down De Head of De Lion. ;-) 9714
The first part of this hike will look familiar to you if you read Joe's report the other day. We sort of did a mirror image hike of his, going up Tux and coming down Lion's Head. If you're not Georged out here's the report complete with a lot more pictures than you probably want to see. I should probably link an album but, well, I'm not.

My wife has wanted to hike this one for a while now. Last time we had it planned she ended up getting pregnant with our third daughter and it was a goal of hers to get up this one before the snow flew this year. We planned it a couple months in advance so her brother and his girlfriend (and mini beagle) could join us and when the day finally rolled around the weather looked just about perfect so the kids slept at their grandparents and Sunday at 5 a.m. we were finally on our way.

Passing Lake Chocorua and the rest area in Conway on the way up everything was looking good
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We met at the PNVC with cool temps and brilliant blue skies overhead to hike up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The lower 2.4 miles of this trail might be my least favorite section of trail in the Whites. Other than Crystal Cascade there is not much to see and the trail doubles as a road to the bottom of the ravine in winter I believe so it's wide and flat but eroded from heavy use, so it's almost like one 2 1/2 mile long stream crossing with no water, hopping from rock to rock. Just terrible really, but it goes by fast enough and the payoff when you hit the ravine area is worth it. We took a long break on the porch of the caretakers cabin and I went off to check out Hermit Lake quickly, which was well worth the minute it took to get there, I've been on this trail 4 times but never checked it out and I was stunned. A small but gorgeous little lake nestled down in the bottom of the ravine and reflecting Lions Head, Tuckerman Ravine and Boott Spur. Breathtaking really and reminded me of Chimney Pond in Baxter State Park with Katahdin beyond it. I had no idea it looked like that and it was the biggest WOW moment I've had hiking in NH in some time.

A perfect late summer day to give George a go
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The boring Tuckerman Ravine Trail gets you warmed up
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The first 2.4 miles has only Crystal Cascade to break up the monotony
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Just off the trail Hermit Lake greets you at the bottom of the ravine
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Looking at Tuckerman Ravines Headwall, the route up
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And Lions Head, the way down
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Shortly after leaving the cabin you enter the alpine zone in the bottom of the ravine. From that point it's a non-stop views overload of this spectacular glacial cirque. You climb steadily up large boulders and ledge around to the right of the headwall and then up under the infamous waterfall before steeply climbing up the side of the ravine under the watchful Lions Head. Views open up and the Hermit Lakes area quickly shrinks away far below you. This was the only section of the trail until the summit cone that was busy, as a group of 10 or so older women were descending and not at all comfortable on the steeper exposed ledges and spent a good deal of time sliding on their butts and clogging up the narrow trail. Once they past us we finished the climb out of the ravine, which is exposed but never really tough when dry. The trail seems to have been re-routed around the only hard scramble I remember from past trips and is now actually fairly tame as far as ravines and headwalls go but the scenery is awesome and once we were out of the ravine we took an extended snack break to enjoy the sights.

Very shortly after the cabin you enter the Alpine Zone
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And shortly after that the climb out of the ravine starts
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Passing under the killer waterfall
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Going up!
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The trail winding its way out of the ravine
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Nice views back as you exit
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There always seems to be a million wildflowers in the ravine
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After the extended break soaking in the 60 degree sunshine we commenced the steep, rough climb to the summit. My wife asked where the wind and cold she was promised were and I told her to wait a bit and I was sure she'd find it. From the top of the headwall to the top of the mountain is only .8 miles but it climbs 1150 feet on typical jagged northern Presi rocks. It also gets a lot busier as multiple trails begin to converge near the summit. Views open up more to the east as you climb higher and higher, the tip of the radio antennae pokes out and grows larger and finally you pop up off the side of the mountain into the parking lot for the Auto Road and the teeth of the wind, leaving only a short climb up the stairway to the busy summit where it was 42 degrees with 36 mph winds gusting to 45. We waited in line for a few minutes just to get the obligatory summit photo before heading in to get out of the wind and have lunch.

First glimpse of the radio antennae
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Welcome to the world above treeline
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Steeply climbing
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Getting closer to the antennae and the crowds
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Some clouds passed by as we neared the top
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41 degrees with 35 mph winds did nothing to keep the crowds down
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Should have checked out the views when we arrived. Big mistake.
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We made it! :D
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Once inside we did the typical first timers thing for my wife and brother in law. Wandered around the building, looked over the list of deaths, bought a few souvenirs, had some over priced crappy food and warmed up for a bit before putting on some hats, gloves and windbreakers and venturing out again. While we were in there a cloud managed to take over the summit, so we emerged to no views and only a brief glimpse of the northern Presis, also cloud capped. Blue sky all day except when we were on top! :? Not that we would have stuck around long anyway in that weather but it would have been nice for the two first timers to get a quick look around. Not to be however and we started down the TRT again and by the time we were a couple hundred feet down the clouds left the summit too. :evil:

All in all not a bad day, except for the clouds while on top
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$3.50. Cash only! Not great but not terrible either
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Just a little breezy to use these chairs today
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VFTT, or lack thereof. This was the best we got
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Choo-choos coming and going
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Clouds also came and went too unfortunately
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We gave up on waiting for it to clear so we too came and went
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Even hats and gloves came and went
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And of course once we left the summit the clouds left town
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The trip down was slow and steady. Gusty winds and lots of rocks to negociate slowed things down, but once we dropped a few hundred feet the clouds skipped town, the sun returned and the winds were once again blocked by big George. Really amazing how different conditions are depending on which side of the mountain you are on. We made our way to the Lions Head trail which I'd only hiked in the winter, and also mostly in the clouds, so it was nice to see what that side of the ravine offered up for views. The Carters and Wildcats across the street and plummeting views into the ravine and across to Boott Spur kept things interesting. The trail itself was just more steep rocks to jar your knees, with 3 minor scrambles but nothing that even made the first timers or mini beagle pause and eventually we re-joined the TRT and had to rock hop two miles down to the bottom.

Back in the clear and relative warmth headed for Lions Head
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Headed down the Head
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Nice kitty
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There's gold in them thar hills!
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Steep trail, minor scrambling and a ladder bring you down in a hurry
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A re-visit with Crystal Cascade was the carrot dangling from the stick to look forward to on this terrible section of trail
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One last look at the route on the model in the visitors center
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And that as they say was that! My wife reached her goal of climbing to the top of the northeast. It brought her 4000 footers total to 8, not that she's chasing it but may as well keep track. Eventually it'll just happen right? My brother in law added it to his collection, along with Lincoln and Lafayette but he really liked it and might have got the bug this time. Both my wife and he couldn't stop talking the whole way up about how amazing the scenery in Tuckerman Ravine was and how good the views were above treeline, which I have to agree with but sometimes get into the been here done this thing and lose sight of just how spectacular some mountains like Washington really are when you step back and look at them. It is one huge hulking brute of a mountain for sure, with so much to see and experience that even with the crowds and small city on top it still manages to amaze you every time and as Joe said in his report, it's a tough one to beat.


Last edited by Granite Guy on Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:17 pm
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How did the dog like it?

That lake shot really does look like Baxter!


Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:31 pm
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Beckie and Prema wrote:
How did the dog like it?

That lake shot really does look like Baxter!


Dog loved it. Full of energy and never even needed a boost or to be carried. He was like a little mountain goat! His name is Koda, which only matters because we only saw about 6 other dogs all day and 2 of them had the same name! What are the odds of 3 dogs named Koda hiking Mt. Washington on the same day, never mind the same trail?!

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Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:46 pm
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Happy dog! Hard to imagine a beagle hiking W! That is weird with the 3 names. I agree that after you've done it a bunch it loses its allure. Although exploring the gulf side area someday may reinvigorate me. It's great your wife and company got excited to get you to see it through their fresh eyes. Those trails are just sheer knee busters. Oh the pain! I agree tucks is tame but I was impressed with the beauty of it when we did it a couple of yrs ago. Bummer about the cloud but what would a hike up there be without that happening! So whose really keeping track of the wife's list GG.....It certainly was a gorgeous day September is a great month for hiking with those crystal blue sky days and no bugs.


Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:13 am
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Nice job to you and Joe.

Hey....this looks familiar! :lol:
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Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:10 am
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This looks hauntingly familiar. 8) Great report and pix. I was torn whether to do the loop I did or this one. Both would have been a first. But I had been to Boott Spur before and love that peak. But Lion Head Tr. looks just as steep as everything else on that side.

Funny, this was the first time I passed on stopping at Chocorua Lake, passed on taking pix of Crystal Cascade, and passed on Hermit Lake. Which I'm really kicking myself in the a$$ for because I could have had a similarly great shot. :(

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Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:25 am
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Lions Head is steep, but for me was nowhere near as rough on my knees as the Boott. After that one I could really feel it for days. May have had something to do with the extra mileage of coming up Six Husbands. Boott was a looser crumblier trail too but I liked it much better, not that LH was bad, but I preferred it in the winter.

HL it is I who is given the task of keeping track of the 4K's, although she always asks how many. It's been a while (3 or 4 years) since she'd done any but it's the least I can do! :D I think she'd like to get them all eventually. Great Gulf is a great area but I've yet to climb up the GG Trail itself even though it's been high on the priority list for years. Hopefully soon! :roll:


Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:43 am
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Holy awesome pictures! Thank God I have an unlimited data plan. I have yet to climb Washington from this side. Between you and Joe's reports that is going to have to change. Tough call though. There are so many good routes.


Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:53 am
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The east is a much more spectacular side to hike on IMO with all the ridges and deep cut ravines, gulfs, Alpine Garden etc. I find little of interest on the western side other than a visit to the Lakes OTC. I haven't done Jewell trail yet but Ammo is another on my crap list! :D At least in summer I like the eatsern side trails much better.


Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:53 am
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Granite Guy wrote:
The east is a much more spectacular side to hike on IMO with all the ridges and deep cut ravines, gulfs, Alpine Garden etc.

I'll be happy when I can just finish the Alpine Garden Trail. I need to get a nice clear day. The wind and cold doesn't bother me.
I just wanna do this to it's completion and back to the road. (6 Mile Post) I found it very weird but exciting on that terrain.

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Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:25 am
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Keyz56 wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:
The east is a much more spectacular side to hike on IMO with all the ridges and deep cut ravines, gulfs, Alpine Garden etc.

I'll be happy when I can just finish the Alpine Garden Trail. I need to get a nice clear day. The wind and cold doesn't bother me.
I just wanna do this to it's completion and back to the road. (6 Mile Post) I found it very weird but exciting on that terrain.


That is different terrain. Above treeline may as well be walking on the moon sometimes.

As much as I don't enjoy the TRT up to the ravine the payoff is impressive. You might enjoy it as it's fairly tame with good footing and a mellow 2.5 miles with 1800 feet or so of climbing. It passes that waterfall early on so you can check it off your list and there's a lot worse sights to see for the effort than Hermit Lake, Hermit Puddle and the jagged walls of Boott Spur, the Headwall and Lions Head enclosing the ravine. Do a little exploring and enjoy the views from the deck of the cabin.

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Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:53 am
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Nice report. I've only been in Tuckerman Ravine twice, once on a descent from Washington and just this past April with Joe to see the skiers in the bowl. That day was also the first time I've seen Hermit Lake, and I agree, it was a "wow" moment.

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Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:22 am
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BobC wrote:
Nice report. I've only been in Tuckerman Ravine twice, once on a descent from Washington and just this past April with Joe to see the skiers in the bowl. That day was also the first time I've seen Hermit Lake, and I agree, it was a "wow" moment.


I don't get why it's tucked away with no sign or anything. Seems like the namesake feature would at least get it's name with an arrow on a small sign so people like me don't walk right by it 3 times before finally seeking it out.

Hermit Lake
0.01 miles --->


Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:49 am
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As always, AMAZING pics! :D At first glance I thought this was a duplicate of JustJoe's post. :lol:

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Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:49 am
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 Re: George....Up Tux, Down De Head of De Lion. ;-) 9714
THIS didn't bother the first-timers? It would bother me. That is steep.


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Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:45 pm
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