2011-02-27 18:53:05.000 – David Quigley, Summit Intern
Yesterday I had the privilege of joining the EduTrip for some hiking around the summit. Conditions were snowy, winds sustained in the 60s, gusting into the 80s. This made for a fun and educational hike. The afternoon started with a discussion of gear recommended to be taken on winter hikes. Then came some crampon education as this was the first time using crampons for a number of the EduTrippers. After everyone had their crampons on, we learned various stepping techniques that are useful on different types of winter terrain. We hiked down the top of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to find a good slope for self arrest training. This was my favorite part of the afternoon. We learned ice axe self arrest techniques when glissading, sliding head first on our backs, and sliding head first on our chests. We then traversed across the summit cone. I was amazed at how protected from the wind the East side of the mountain is. We probed for some deep snow in order to build a snow cave. A snow cave can be used to spend the night above tree line or to provide shelter for an injured hiker. To build one, the EduTrippers took turns digging. We dug about two feet down before beginning to dig up, parallel to the slope. The cave turned out pretty nice. I definitely would not mind spending the night in one and might actually try one out in the upcoming weeks. We ended the hike by venturing to the corner of the Observation Deck so the EduTrippers could experience the full brunt of the wind that we had been well sheltered from during the majority of the hike. We were fortunate enough to feel an 86 mph gust on the deck, an eye-opening experience for the EduTrippers. A great time had by all.
David Quigley, Summit Intern