PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. Looking for an exceptional adventure while raising funds for a great outdoor cause? The ninth annual Tuckerman Inferno Pentathlon returns to Mount Washington Valley, NH Saturday, April 18, presented by the non-profit Friends of Tuckerman Ravine organization. New this year, Friends of Tuckerman Ravine is also concurrently presenting the recreational and less challenging Wildcat Wildfire Pentathlon, which will begin an hour later than the Inferno. Both events raise funds for the organization's efforts to promote wise use of the backcountry and the preservation of the year-round Tuckerman experience.
Both pentathlons are open to teams of five as well as solo female and male competitors, the latter of whom compete as TuckerWomen and TuckerMen. Individuals Wildmen and Wildwomen may also compete in the Wildcat Wildfire event. The Wildfire will also feature a ski club division. The Inferno begins at 7 a.m. with a run from Story Land over Glen Ledge to Attitash's Thorne Pond. It then continues with a kayak-canoe race down the Saco River to Humphrey's Ledge off the West Side Road in Bartlett. Participants then bicycle on Route 16 to the Appalachian Mountain Club's Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, where they hike up the Tuckerman Trail to the floor of famed Tuckerman Ravine, Mount Washington's steep and demanding spring ski bowl. A skier/snowboarder is then tagged, who hikes to the top of one of Tuckerman's chosen routes for the final leg of the race.
The Wildcat Wildfire, meanwhile, begins at the same start location but at 8 a.m. It follows Route 16 to the Glen intersection and then follows Route 302 west to Attitash's Thorne Pond for the kayak put- in. The bicycle portion will depart from Humphrey's Ledge up West Side Road to U.S. Route 302 east to Route 16 and then north past the Appalachian Mountain Club to Wildcat Mountain Ski Area. Hikers will then head up the Polecat Trail and across to the area on the Wildcat Trail known as Sun Valley, at which point the ski leg will begin.
An awards party will take place at Wildcat Mountain's base lodge at 5 p.m. New this year, Friends of Tuckerman will present the Steve Eastman Memorial Award to the racer or volunteer who best exemplifies the team spirit, dedication and love for the mountain shown by Eastman, 58, a Mount Washington Valley community leader and past Friends of Tuckerman supporter who succumbed to brain cancer April 25, 2008.
Spectators are welcome for all portions of the races, along with volunteers, notes Friends of Tuckerman Ravine executive director Al Risch.
The organization's recent accomplishments have included:
building (with the help of former U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley's efforts in Congress) a foot bridge from the parking area at the AMC's Pinkham Notch Visitor Center; obtaining funding with former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu's help for new radios and a telephone link between Pinkham Notch and the U.S. Forest Service's Hermit Lake Shelter at the base of the ravine's lower headwall for rescue communications; through another appeal with U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg's assistance, obtaining funding for a reliable potable water source at Hermit Lake; thanks to a gift from the Nelson Gildersleeve Memorial Fund, replenishing First Aid caches in the ravine; and initiating a membership volunteer maintenance program on the Sherburne and Tuckerman Trails.
The organization is currently raising funds to replace the Tuckerman Ravine snow conditions board at the U.S. Forest Sevice's shelter at the base of the Lower Headwall.
Tuckerman Ravine is located on the eastern shoulder of Mount Washington. Every spring, skiers and riders flock to the glacial cirque to test themselves against some of the steepest and toughest non-lift serviced terrain in the east.