Tyson Sawyer updated April 4, 2019
A wise man once said:
On Sat, Feb 16, 2019 at 6:06 PM Nik Fiore wrote:
> but you don’t know if you don’t go.
The forecast was calling for a 50% +/- chance of mixed precipitation all day. Erik and I and 6 other dedicated souls were planning to ski the Granite Backcountry Alliance glades on Crescent Ridge in Randolph, NH. Four on AT gear and four on Tele. This was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t outnumbered by AT skiers.
As I hit the road at 5:50AM, there was a light sprinkle on the windshield. As I passed Lincoln, NH and headed into Franconia Notch, the low clouds obscured all but the bases of the mountains, and the precipitation had become legitimate rain. This was not looking promising.
Then, as the road turned easterly around the north end of the Presidentials, the precipitation diminished and the roads started to dry. At the trail head parking lot, I could see bits of sun breaking through the clouds on Mt. Adams and King Ravine. Things were looking good after all!
I planned to arrive early so that I would have time to get myself ready before everyone else did. I found that just about the entire group was already there.
The 1.4 mile skin route up to the glades was well covered with a foot or three of snow and all stream crossings well bridged. In a short time we arrived at the wild life clearing and headed up to the top of the ridge. We stopped at the third chute. This is the easiest of the 3 main chutes and seemed like the right place to start. Most of the group had not previously skied here.
After a short break for snack and configuring gear for downhill, we all dropped in. The chute starts narrow, then opens up into a wide glade of moderated gradient.
At the bottom, we re-mounted skins and headed up for another lap. Half the group decided on a re-run of the 3rd chute. I convinced the other 3 hardy souls to join me in an exploration of a 4th route depicted on the GBA’s maps for the glades. I warned them that I wasn’t sure what we’d find.
It took us a few minutes to find where the top of this 4th route departed from the hiking trail that traverses the ridge. It looked promising as an open hardwood glade with a few tracks headed into it. This soon changed into a dense mixed hardwood and evergreen forest on a somewhat steep slope. All 4 of us had to side slip, forward slip, back slip and side slip some more to work our way between the trees and down the slope. Further down we caught sight of the familiar open glade and cut a straight traverse for it. I had suspected the GBA map predated them cutting the glades. Now I’m certain of it. This 4th route has the potential to be a favorite — if the time, permission and resources are found to clear it a bit.
We finally reached the bottom to find the rest of the crew enjoying a late lunch, after which most of us headed up for one more lap. This time we chose the first chute.
The entire day was dry and high overcast with breaks of sun. The snow was soft and the air was warm. Turned out to be one of the better miserable, wet, mixed precipitation days of skiing I’ve seen. It would seem that the wise man was correct, “you don’t know if you don’t go”.