Great day on Sat!
The day started sunny with ominous clouds over the Presidentials. We knew that it was going to be passing showers before we headed out and prepared accordingly. We got to Hermit Shelters(aka HoJos) and it started raining. There was a lot of people standing under the ranger's station, waiting for it to pass. We stood there for about 10 minutes and then said the hell with it and went up as the rain came down harder. 20 minutes later we got to the bowl and the rain stopped. Not a whole lot of people up at lunch rocks, maybe around 500-800 people in the bowl total at the time.
We ate lunch and started to get ready for the bowl climb. Right Gulley and the Lip were closed. You could hike up the center and to the left of the lip. The other alternative was Lions Head trail extreme right and Left Gulley extreme left. We chose the center as a warm up. As we started climbing(3 of us, 2 skiers, one boarder) it started to pour. 20-25 minutes later we reached the platform at lower lip, what a view of the bowl, clouds creeping up the mouth. I was the first down, the snow is the what I've heard called sluff. As you start to ski down, the snow starts to follow you down in small, slow moving lava-like rivers. Kinda cool when you stop because the snow keeps going for a while after you.
The rain finally stopped and 2 of us decided to hit the left gulley which was obstructed from view of lunch rocks. It was the only trail that went to the top of the ravine still skiable. It's about 20-30 feet wide, steep and bumped. Took about 45 minutes to get to the top, headwall was a little easier getting up than right gulley last year. I helped a woman who was halfway up the headwall, sort of stuck there in a mild panic attack. She wanted to hike back down, which I thought was a bad idea. It's easier to go up at that point than it is to go down. After about 10 minutes of calming her down, she pressed on and made it to the top with the rest of us. About 8 of us sat at the top for about 15 minutes, gaining our strength for the 4 minute trip down. After coming off the headwall, I waited for my friend to come down. As he came to a stop, a telemark skier lost control at the top of the headwall and started sliding head first, picking up speed the whole way down. I yelled to get out of the way and my friend just made it before being clocked. He finally came to a stop near me as he hooked his leg around a mogul, still head first. Not a place that you want to fall, rock walls and 15-20 foot crevass' near them. The rest went smoothly and we got back to lunch rocks around 3.
As we prepared to go back down, you could see it was sunny in the valley but still cloudy up on the mountain. As we got to Hermit shelters, the sun finally broke out and it heated up. Everyone stripped back down and it took about 1.5 hours to get back to the car.
We met a lot of cool people up there, talked to everyone we met. If anyone was there, we were the group with the monkey in someone's pack. I think we heard "You got a monkey on your back" about 50 times and it still isn't old. Sorry about the long post but I just love talking and writing about this stuff. Next year, I'm making 2 trips, one winter and one spring.