Pinnacle Gully

Heading up to the route

After early-week predictions for rain, we were met with a beautiful day on Saturday morning when waking up in Boston.  Owen, Eric, Dan, and I were on the road by 6:30 and made good time to the Pinkham Notch parking lot.

We had decided to skin up to Huntington Ravine and this was my first time skinning.  After a few awkward moments, I settled in and we made it up to the base of the ravine in an hour and a half.

After a quick lunch and stowing of the ski gear, we broke up into teams and made the rest of the approach to Pinnacle Gully up the steep snowfield.  Owen and I began first, with Owen leading the crux first pitch and me hanging out with Dan and Eric at the base.  Despite it being a beautiful day, it was pretty cold in the gully and out of the sun.  I was glad to start climbing once Owen had set up the anchor at the top of the first pitch.

The ice was beautiful--fat and blue.  Owen and I finished the first pitch, inchwormed up a little bit to a more comfortable belay, simul-climbed up the snowy second pitch, and then set up a belay at the base of the third and final pitch.

The gully

All the while, Dan and Eric were right behind us and it was a nice, casual scene at the belays.  We lucked out to have no parties immediately ahead or behind us, though just as we were finishing, one guy came soloing up past us.  Not exactly a lightweight...

The final pitch was pretty easy and we quickly made it up to the plateau, ate some food, and made our way around the rim to find the Escape Hatch, which was a perfect descent.  We even got to slide down a few parts and practice self-arresting.

The descent was probably the most harrowing part of the day for me, given the fact that I hadn't skied on a downhill setup in over 3 years.  I snow-plowed my way to victory and thoroughly enjoyed some beer when we got to the car.  What a great day!