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Author Topic: 6/21/ Up Huntington down Boot Spur Link  (Read 1484 times)
surf88
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« on: June 24, 2013, 09:45:06 AM »

x-posted from my site
I've spent a lot of time hiking, climbing, and skiing on the east side of Mt Washington.  But there are still a few sections of trail that I needed to redline.  I needed to officially hike the Huntington  Ravine trail because I've only climbed Huntington before with ice and snow.  Also, I never had hiked Boot Spur link before, Hillman's Highway has always been my route of choice in that area.  Both trails ended up being my favorite part of the day.  I didn’t see any one else between Pinkham and My first view of the auto road.  The lower section of the Huntington Ravine Trail follows and crosses the river.


I left Pinkham Notch at about 6:15 am Friday morning and was standing at the bottom of the ravine at 7:45 AM. There’s a bunch of boulders just above the Cat Track I've never seen before because they have always been buried with snow when I was here.  There was a little snow still  down between the rocks and when the wind blew the air up through the rock the air that came out was frigid..
Snow in Rocks:

Huntington Ravine :

The hiking trail follows the lookers right side of The Fan up to where the crags begin.  There was lots of places I needed to use both my hands and feet to scramble up the trail.  This trail is steep and blazes   were tricky to see sometimes, and there were a few spots that I made climbing moves that were more technical than was needed because I missed a blaze.
Climbing up the Ravine:







The Ravine tops out at the junction of the Alpine Garden Trail and The Auto Road is visible shortly after.  Its kind of a weird transition going from a lonely ravine to seeing cars within a couple of minutes.





I followed Nelson Crag Trail to the summit and arrived at 9:30AM.  It was pretty chilly and windy above the ravine and I needed to put my softshell on.



I then descended to Boot Spur on the Davis Path.  I love this section of the mountain so I took a bunch of pics.  The line of Cairns  on the flat always reminds me of Daleks from Dr Who.





From Boot Spur you could see there was still some snow left in Tuckerman Ravine


The descent down Boot Spur Link was steep through rocks and woods, it drops about 850 feet in .6 miles.  I was focusing pretty hard on careful foot placements on the way down so I didn’t get any pictures, but once at the bottom I took a shot looking uphill.

I didn’t see anyone else on the Boot Spur Link, but after crossing the ski trail there were lots of people for the rest of my hike down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.  The whole hike ended up being almost exactly 10 ˝ miles on my GPS and I did it in 6 hours and 10 minutes
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 09:43:58 AM »

The hiking trail follows the lookers right side of The Fan up to where the crags begin.  There was lots of places I needed to use both my hands and feet to scramble up the trail.  This trail is steep and blazes   were tricky to see sometimes, and there were a few spots that I made climbing moves that were more technical than was needed because I missed a blaze.

I, too have only hiked the actual ravine once without snow.  I didn't like the looks of the sraight route and used South Gully to get up to the Alpine Garden -- one little scramble in the lower part but mostly just a steep hike.  Summer's a good time to explore the small creek line that comes down between Huntington and Lion's Head.  I did that once after hiking up the Headwall on the TRT and found a good line that I repeated the the next winter on my board.

I don't like Link at all.  Have you ever followed the Butt Spur all the way back?  It gives you a chance to find (and maybe discretely mark for winter use) the traverse to Gulf of Slides.  Interesting mucky marsh at the bottom.  I wonder if a suitable log bed has ever been laid down. 

Nice pics of what it looks like up there.

Tommy T.

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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 08:50:55 AM »

I liked link.  Its fun to have a trail be steep enough that you need to concentrate on your footing. I'm sad to see the future of hiking trails being mostly -12% grade trails that side hill and switchback to prevent erosions.  I've noticed several places already where steeper trails have already been closed and replaced with trails that you could practically ride a bike up. 
I still need to complete the boot spur trail.  One of the things that crossed my mind when deciding which variation to take was the traverse to GOS.  I know where it ends on the GOS side but not on the Sherbie side.
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 09:33:03 AM »

I know where it ends on the GOS side but not on the Sherbie side.

Bare in mind that I haven't been up there for about a decade now, but I was an AMC trail adopter in the Tuckerman area know some history as well as the general layout of the trails.

Back in the days when the Harvard Cabin sat between the Tuckerman trail and the Sherburn and was actually the private camp of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, the GOS connector basically ran from the cabin to GOS and was maintained by the Harvard guys to provide themselves with a back door to GOS.  I believe that it was always just a blazed a winter only route and that no improvements in the dirt were ever undertaken.

The trail has always been pretty obscure, probably on purpose.  It was never marked with signs and the start was kind of hidden but it was findable, especially at the Boot Spur crossing, and could be followed until a big wind event dumped trees all over it and that general area on the lower part of Boot Spur route.  Boot Spur was officially cleaned up and a few (not nearly enough) logs were laid across the swampy bottom land.  After that event, there was virtually no trace of the GOS connector at the Boot Spur crossing.  On the Sherburn, just below the original Harvard Cabin site, I could identify the start of the trail, but it was really unuseable because of deadfall.   From Boot Spur on over it was reported to be a reasonable alternative path to GOS.

The thing to do would be to follow it back from GOS and leave some secret marks on the Spur side.  This is probably best done as a winter undertaking when you can walk on top of snow and not deal with lot of thick undergrowth and deadfall.

A useless undertaking of the type that could be quite satisfiying!?

Tommy T.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 10:38:29 AM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 01:41:01 PM »

How long ago did they move the Harvard cabin?
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 03:32:33 PM »

The cabin was built in the '30s by a crew from the Harvard Mountaineering Club in an effort that was headed up by Brad Washburn.  Some reports talk about it being "in Tuckerman Ravine" but, as far as I have ever heard, its location was the one which I knew about:  just a few yards off of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, on a bit of knoll between the TRT and the Sherburne.  The Forest Service was planning to tear it down, primarily because of its intrusion onto the TRT, plus the fact that it had become decrepit and the fear that its big open fireplace was a fire hazard in the hands of the general public.  There was also a bit of a political set-to about a private club having a facility in the National Forest in an prime area where camping by the public was not allowed. 

A deal was brokered by the AMC to move it to the base of Huntington Ravine and put under AMC caretakership.  That was accomplished in 1962.  The Harvard community was given some preferencial rights to use of the cabin, like being the only ones who could make advance reservations -- those tended to change almost year to year (perhaps it changed from one shift at Pinkham to the next, depending on that person's understand and opinions).   Sometimes it was Club members only who got the benies, sometimes it was all Harvard students, sometimes it included alumni.  My law school ID got me a discount one week-end several years after graduation.

When I was most active at Huntington was in the period from about 1970 to 1976 when I was doing a lot of snow and ice work -- that was the period when I climbed McKinley and the French Ridge of Mt. Huntington, and was active in our highest camp when we did the first American ascent of the West Face of Aconcagua and the first ever up the so-called "Polish Direct" route.  I usually pitched a tent behind the cabin and used its wood stove for cooking and hanging out with other climbers a bit, but I slept in a spot that tended to smell better.

(I have no pictures of the cabin on the computer.  That was a period after when we did everything on slides (I have 100s of scanned slides -- took three years on and off to do it) because commercial color prints were terrible and before we went digital -- there were a few years in there when we were taking color prints.  My pictures of that period are preserved in albums but no significant numbers have been transfered to digital medium in any way.)

Tommy T.
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Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
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