The specific plan was to hike up the Ridge of Caps via Caps Ridge Trail towards Mt Jefferson, but then take the Cornice Trail around to Gulfside Trail (AT), then taking that past Jefferson Loop Trail until they reached the junction with the notorious Six Husbands Trail. From there they would approach the ravine, possibly entering from the junction with Edmands Col Cutoff. As it turned out, getting off trail began higher up taking a talus finger off the northern end of the part known as “The Beach” — named for a long lasting snowfield that forms there every winter. It was a natural, environmentally sound pathway so they took it. Moreover, they could see the aforementioned junction and it was surrounded with the dense low-growing firs, spruces, and yellow birch trees that make up the low-alpine krummholz zone. It wasn’t at all inviting. Options please.
How It Went
Their first gully sort of ended. It didn’t actually end, but merged with runoff so it would have been dense, mossy, overly impactful, wet, and potentially dangerous. This took them maybe a third of the way down. The second attempt was to check out another finger south of the first attempt. They crossed Edmands Col Cutoff so took it to their new dropping-in point. This one, like the first ended, but by way of getting “cliffed out,” though they got a little further down. The next attempt was to head north on Edmands Col Cutoff until they aligned with another talus finger (a main/central gully), just beyond the trail’s midpoint. They would again drop in there. Visually it looked as if they could descend much further if they keep angling south as they went. The team continued on that until it would end, but another gully would start right next to it so they were able to make fair progress doing this crossover bit four times. They finally reached a point where things got a little steep so all they could do was to continue traversing, but it was working. They could have gotten in further, they got about 2/3 of the way as it was, but as they would reach the ravine floor they would encounter even more krummholz then an avalanche debris runout zone. Messy — but also pretty in its own way to people who admire and appreciate such things.
We want to do this again, it’s a needed thing, but we will probably come in from the Pinkham side this time. We imagine it will still be a challenge to reach the (what the team is calling Rosanna) pond located at the bottom, but a lot of the fun is in the exploration. We knew today might not work. Even that it probably wouldn’t work. Our memories had formed lines that we could travel, sighting them from a distance (looks easy from here), but Google Earth suggested it might not be as easy as we hoped for. We were realists. Reports online were scant, but we did talk to one person who used to patrol that area for the USFS gaining us some valuable, hopeful, and insightful information.
On lead for this trip was Redline Guides Mike Cherim, Ken Hodges, and Bill Robichaud. Since we only had two in the guest’s group, we were a little heavy of the guides, but this was new and interesting and the draw of exploration was too great to deny. And it was fun. The team loved it. Did they fully succeed? Well, no, but they stayed safe, had a terrific time trying, and they got to really look closely at Jefferson Ravine noting its charms and features. They just needed to see a moose standing down there. “Cue the moose.”
Good job, team, and thanks for again adventuring with Redline Guiding.
UPDATE: See what happens in round two.