The Mysterious Great Gully and King Ravine

My latest obsession is King Ravine, off the northwest flank of Mt. Adams in the northern Presidentials of New Hampshire.  Here’s why:

View Great Gully in a larger map

Hopefully this requires no additional explanation, but in case it does:

  • nearly a dozen routes down
  • all in the vicinity of 50°
  • all in excess of 1000 feet of vertical no including the runout!!!!!
To me this seems like Tuckerman Ravine only better in all possible aspects: more varied and technical descents, bigger, steeper, less crowded, etc…  The only thing that concerns me is the avalanche risk.  I have to imagine that it gets tons of snow, and I hope that its northwesterly aspect cuts down on wind-loading.  I guess the remaining variables would be temperature and pitch.  Either way, more research needs to be done here…
My thoughts on the approach:

View Great Gully in a larger map

Parking is on Rte. 2 at the green push pin.  The approach is definitely longer than the hike up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to get to the bowl, but I think it’s easier.  I’ve never done it in the snow, but it’s straight and mellow.  It can be done in just over an hour in the summer.  The two blue thumb tacks denote spots which seemed suitable for bivouacs or small camp sites; away from any avy run-out, out of the wind, flat.

IMHO, the ideal format for the excursion would be a three day weekend.  Head up to the area on a Thursday night, crash some place, and hit the trail ASAP on Friday morning.  I imagine the slog to the Ravine floor would take around 2 hours in good conditions.  Another hour or two take set up camp and make lunch puts you getting some turns in some time after noon – plenty of time for a few runs in the bowl especially given the lack of a 4 hour car ride home and the presence of a presumably awesome campsite less than a mile away.

Enough logistics, lets get to the skiing!

The bowl, from the floor.

A watery crevasse which I did not fall into.

My thumb, but more importantly a good look at the May snowpack.  Yes May.
Clearly, there are numerous routes.  The mellowest of them, had the most snow and is probably the first thing I’ll try is called The Great Gully.  It is highlighted in red in the satellite map at the top of the post.  The bottom is pretty steep, punctuated by a waterfall which you probably have to huck depending on the snowpack.  Fortunately there is an extensive and mellow runout.  The midsection is highlighted by a weird fall line sloping to lookers right, toward a huge mess of rock and undermined snowpack.  Still pretty darn steep.  Above that, it opens up quite a bit and offers at least two spots from which to drop in providing some options.  This portion is the steepest – just in time for the narrow technical sections.  Sounds sick, right?  The rest of the aspects only get steeper and more technical.  Cannot wait.

2 thoughts on “The Mysterious Great Gully and King Ravine

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