|Drive from Hanover||250 miles, round trip|
|Hike||2.5 miles (2 hrs)|
|Sled||2.5 miles (1.5-2 hrs)|
|Fun Level||Highest of any CnT trip|
Sledding Mt.Washington is one of the most intense, most fun trips you can run in the winter. When we ran it, we went up up Tuckerman's trail, and sled down Sherburne. The auto-road is meh compared to this run(from what I hear), and, depending on the day, the road may be closed to sledding anyways.
You could do this trip combined with an overnight, or as just a day trip. It's nice to stay at billings, then you're 20min away from the trailhead in the morning. Head towards billings as you normally would. Take Rt.2 east to Rt.16 South to Pinkham notch visitor center, the trail starts from there. Then, you can head south towards Conway, NH and take 302 to get back to the highway to go to Hanover, or head east and stop at Flatbread (an amazing pizza place) for a meal before you go back.
Hike up Tuckerman's Trail to Hermit Lake Shelter (2.5 miles). Tuckerman's is wide and well traveled, so you likely won't need to bring snowshoes unless there is a snowstorm the night before. (And no need for crampons, b/c if its that icy, you shouldn't be sledding anyways!) .1 miles past hermit lakes shelter is a cabin at the base of the ravine. Great spot for lunch. The Sherburne trail (sledding!) starts here. The Sherburne trail is 2.5 mile ski/sled trail. It is very wide (20-30 ft), and is below tree line. Sherburne has grade all the way to the bottom - sledding all the way down! It's also got a good mix of straight-aways, turns, downhills into snowbanks and little jumps. The round-trip time is about 4 hrs, including lunch and breaks. So take your time heading down, repeat good sections, etc. If you were really intrepid, you could probably do it twice in a day.
I'd recommend a sled that you can sit or lie down comfortably in. Thick, heavy duty plastic sleds of regular length work great. CnT should have some dedicated sleds. Check with Brian Kunz. I've also heard of people using Swiss Bobs or a Zipfy. These are great if you're experienced with them, and want to be able to carve, etc. But you'll have to hold your legs up the whole time, and they can be tricky to get the hang of. I wouldn't recommend them for beginners. Runner-sleds may be interesting, but heavy to carry up. Don't bring saucers or tubes (no control).
- You'll want to attach a piece of bungee or P-CORD to each sled that the occupant can tie around their wrist. That way, the sled won't continue if they dismount.
- The more coverage you have, the better. SKI GOOGLES are highly recommended. So are full-face masks.
- HELMETS are are a highly recommended / required.
Sledding is inherently riskier than hiking or skiing down a mountain, and highly weather dependent. If it's icy, use extreme precaution (don't go sledding!). You can call Pinkham notch and ask for trail conditions beforehand. Have a back-up plan in case. You can get decent control in powder, and just make sure people know to bail if they get going to fast. As long as people watch their speed, you'll be fine. This is definitely a buddy system trip. Have people sled in pairs or have some way to make sure their buddy is ok. The person with the only/highest med cert should stay in the back, so they can sled down to help if something happens. There are medical stations with first aid kits and supplies at regular intervals along the trail, as an added precaution for the skiers.
The safety board may want to review the trip. If so, just give them the info presented here. Mention helmets, buddy system, that you've check trail conditions, aren't going above tree-line, the med stations along the trail, have a back-up and that this trip has been wildly successful and safe before.
This was one of the best trips I've been on, and definitely my favorite winter trip of all time (except Cabin Hopping). We ran this as a co-trip with Harvard's outing club, led by Alexios, a Dartmouth '03. We played some epic games of mafia and had a 2-hr snowball fight outside of billings in 3-ft deep snow the night before. Everyone had a blast, and the trip got a lot of interest. Definitely worth becoming a tradition. -Matt Dahlhausen '11 CnToR
TAKE 2! 2012 Edition of EXTREME SLEDDING on Mt Washington
Trip Date: 2/4/12
Duration: 4 - 4.5 hours hiking/sledding, 2.5 hours driving each way, 30 min gear together before heading out on the hike and before heading home. We left Hanover at 7:30 am and that was perfect.
Leaders: Max Deibel '14 and Anna Wearn '12
Tripees: Melinda Tascarella, Dan Muldrew, Julia Schneider, Eric Waskowicz, Paige Wilson PLUS alums Matt Dahlhausen, Jenergy, Kevin Miller, and Farzeen Mahmud was with them as well.
Weather: AWESOME!!! Sunny and beautiful. As we approached Hermit Lake Shelter, it is was very windy and cold. We went up to the cabin where the AMC employees live and it was too crowded with all of us in there. We invited other hikers in but they were intimidated. Maybe if it is a group this large again, it would be better to stick to the other shelters before the hut.
Route: Headed up Tuckerman's Ravine and down Sherburne, which connects at the hut at Hermit Lake. Watch out for skiers on Sherburne! Make sure that you are spaced out enough that you are not taking up the entire trail.
Driving directions: Google Maps led us astray and following the other car home was unsuccessful. Make sure you thoroughly understand how to get to Pinkham Notch and back before you leave Hanover!
Other issues: DOR does not rent helmets. We were able to get some from the Ledyard gear shed but these are not rated for the type of impact that sledding might entail. It would be best to ask Trippees if they have ski helmets or if they can borrow them from friends. Kayaking helmets would do in a pinch, but it would be best to explore other options first.
SUCH A BLAST!!! I would totally recommend it again. Driving to being outside ratio wasn't the best but the views and sledding were well worth it!
- Anna Wearn '12