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Good Friday: A Mt. Washington Trifecta

Not three days off the red-eye flight, my alarm squawked to life at 4:30 a.m. My throat was scratchy like sandpaper; my back was tied like a rubber-band ball; and my right foot throbbed for one reason or another. But Cyril’s e-mail the night before was simple: “Dodge’s is in.”

Dodge’s Drop, a variation off Mount Washington’s Hillman’s Highway, is a 1,200-foot mountaineering route until it fills completely with snow. And according to pictures that Cyril had seen, it was full. So he and I, plus our friends Steve and Taylor, rallied for a day-trip to New Hampshire.

Turns out Dodge’s was in. And after warming up on a variation of Hillman’s Highway, we found out just how in it was, complete with powder, sluff, windslab and blue ice—it is Mt. Washington, after all. For good measure, we capped off the day with a descent of Duchess, another powdery steep ski off Hillman’s. A Good Friday, indeed.


Steve Charest, Taylor Luneau and Cyril Brunner skin away from the day’s last bit of sun en route to Hillman’s Highway. [photo] Tyler Cohen


And then things went white. We spent most of the day in fog, wind and blowing snow. Classic Mt. Washington…. [photo] Tyler Cohen


Cyril Brunner drops into a variation of Hillman’s. “I knew it wasn’t Dodge’s three turns in,” Steve later said. But with low visibility, we couldn’t quite tell. [photo] Tyler Cohen


Back at it: Climbing Hillman’s again in search of Dodge’s Drop. [photo] Tyler Cohen


Steve Charest, head guide at Petra Cliffs in Burlington, Vt., drops into Dodge’s on a well-timed day off from guiding. [photo] Tyler Cohen


Taylor Luneau above the ice-bulge crux. [photo] Tyler Cohen


“Dodge’s is in,” and Cyril Brunner runs it out. [photo] Tyler Cohen


Brunner drops into Duchess, completing the big-line powder trifecta. [photo] Tyler Cohen


Taylor Luneau points it below the shrubby crux halfway down Duchess. [photo] Tyler Cohen


Duchess from near Hermit Lake Shelter. This line has a maximum pitch of 50 degrees and a sustained pitch of 45. [photo] Tyler Cohen

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