The latest episode of The Fifty follows Cody Townsend as he jets to the motherland of North American ski mountaineering to cross two more lines off his goal of skiing and climbing all 50 lines chronicled in the book, “50 Classic Ski Descents in North America”. Known for harsh weather and record-breaking winds, Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is also the birthplace of backcountry skiing in the USA.
“Pro skiers come here every winter because we have not only great skiing but we also have the culture in the history of backcountry skiing here in the United States and it all started in Tuckerman's Ravine,” says Andrew Drummond, a local ski shop owner and East Coast backcountry legend.
With temperatures reaching minus 30 degrees, Townsend and a crew of devoted Mt. Washington shredders attempt the Huntington and Tucker Ravines, two famous lines nestled between the jagged peaks and ice fields of Mt. Washington. With an elevation of 6,288’ and a vertical descent of 600 feet, this mountain makes up for what lacks in vert with challenging routes the crew must navigate. Blake Keogh, Ryan Gibbs, Ryan Dunfee, Forrest Frizzell, Forrest Shearer, Jamie Walter, Ben Drummond, and Bjarne Salén join Townsend on his latest expedition.
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With frost in their beards, the crew ascends Huntington’s Ravine before traversing to Tucker’s. Among the beautiful views and frigid temps, they must navigate some pretty intense mountaineering before finding powder pockets, a rarity on the East Coast.
“This ain't California with the Bay Watch and the powder snow, it’s pretty cold out here,” says Ryan Dunfee an East Coast returnee.