Tuckerman Inferno Course Description


The Tuckerman Inferno adventure race started in 2000 as the primary annual fundraiser for Friends of Tuckerman Ravine. The race pays homage to the original American Inferno ski races of the 1930’s. While the original American Infernos were top to bottom ski races on Mount Washington, the current Tuckerman Inferno includes running, kayaking, biking and hiking to create a pentathlon that is one of the most challenging adventure races in the country. Individuals and relay teams of two or five people compete to see who will be the fastest to cover an approximately 36 mile course that starts in the Mount Washington Valley and finishes in Tuckerman Ravine.   

The race has been run continually since 2000 in all types of weather, and would not be possible without the efforts of many dedicated volunteers and partners including with the support and generosity of the following organizations and local businesses – the United States Forest Service, Wildcat Ski Area, Attitash Ski Area, Mountain Rescue Service, White Mountain Swift Water Rescue Team, New Hampshire State Parks, Mount Washington Observatory, Appalachian Mountain Club, Glen Ellis Campground, The Flatbread Company, New Hampshire Army National Guard, New Hampshire State Police, Storyland, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, AbilityPLUS and P1 Race Timing


The Inferno Pentathlon starts at Story Land in Glen, NH and finishes in Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington.  The race consists of five legs -- Run, Kayak, Bike, Hike and Ski.  The transition zones are at the following locations: 

  1. Start (Run):  Story Land, Route 16, Glen, NH
  2. Run / Kayak:  Thorne Pond, Bartlett, NH which is next to the Saco River
  3. Kayak / BikeGlen Ellis Campground, Glen, NH
  4. Bike / Hike:  Direttissma Trail Head Parking Lot, Pinkham Notch, NH (just before the AMC Visitor Center)
  5. Hike / Ski: Tuckerman Ravine trail to Tuckerman Ravine ski course (TBD), Mount Washington, NH

    See Full Course Map Here (updates pending)

Note that the 2019 course is back to the original default Inferno course. The kayak leg is NOT shortened up this year (yet) and map changes are still forthcoming based on final on-site assessments being made this week.


Total distance, 8.3 miles, 600 feet total climb

  1. Run start is at the Story Land parking lot on Route 16 (850 New Hampshire Route 16, Glen).
  2. Stay on left side of Route 16 for 0.9 of a mile to the Glen Ledge Store.
  3. Take a left on Glen Ledge Road.
  4. There is a slight uphill grade for 0.6 of a mile.
  5. Steeper S turns for the next 0.5 of a mile continue to gradual uphill curves to height of land.  Then it’s all downhill to Jericho Road.
  6. Go left on Jericho Road to Route 302
  7. Take a right on Route 302 and continue past Attitash to Bear Peak.
  8. Take right across from the Bear Peak entrance to Thorne Pond.
  9. Go left around Thorne Pond on the gravel road to the run/kayak transition zone.

2019 Start Location and Notes:

The traditional Inferno start is on the west side of Rt 16 directly across from StoryLand. From there runners proceed up the left side of the highway and take the left onto Glen Ledge Road. If there is snow and the lot across the street from Storyland is not accessible the race start is will begin on the EAST side of Rt 16 in the Storyland parking area with runners immediately crossing the road in front of stopped traffic and then proceeding north up the west side of Rt 16 to Glen Ledge Rd where runners take a left.


Total distance, 5.5 miles, approximately 200 feet total vertical drop (36 ft/mile)

Run / Kayak Transition at Thorne Pond The Run/Kayak transition zone is at Thorne Pond Conservation Area, located directly across Route 302 from the Attitash Bear Peak Ski Area. The gate to the pond will be open only on race day. A parking lot and porta-potty facilities will be available there for racers and spectators. 

River Description:

  1. This whitewater course along the Saco River requires technical boating skills with total vertical drop over the 5.5 miles of approximately 200 feet or about 36 feet/mile. The river is mostly moving water with 2-3 Class II Rapids.
  2. Following a short run from the run / kayak transition zone, kayakers will enter their boats on river right. Inferno Racers regularly tackle the course in both whitewater, recreational and sea kayaks.
  3. Note that the river is narrow with many sharp bends, often containing fallen trees and obstacles; the current is strong and the river is sometimes divided into several channels.
  4. There is a strong rapid about 200 yards above the Gift Shop Covered Bridge (mile 3.5), followed by a rapid just below the Route 302 Bridge; another strong rapid follows immediately.
  5. The river then widens and soon passes under a railroad trestle (mile 4.2).  
  6. The Kayak Leg traditionally ends on the sandy beach at the Glen Ellis Campground on river left at mile 5.5.
  7. Drag the boat out of the water, and then run to kayak/bike transition zone.
  8. The best spectator spots and team support crew sites are between mile 3.5 and 4.0 as well as over the final 300 yards.
  9. If you need to rent a kayak we recommend contacting one of our sponsors like Saco Bound

2019 River Conditions and Notes on Kayak Transition points:

Check back here for the latest updates on river conditions and any last minute course adjustments.

Paddlers should be aware that there are natural hazards in the river that should be avoided.

Water levels are likely to fluctuate by race day if rain is in the forecast. The Kayak finish is usually a take-out point at the beach at Glen Ellis Campground. Check race maps for emerging details on navigating specific transition zones.



Total distance, 18.2 miles, approximately 2,000 feet total climb

  1. The Kayak-to-Bike transition zone happens at the Glen Ellis Campground. Kayakers exit the river where boats will be handled by volunteers. Kayaker proceeds to tag biker at bike rack location. Bikers exit Glen Ellis Campground Road onto Rt 302. Use caution at this crossing where traffic control measures will be in place.
  2. Travel by bike on Rt 302 and take RIGHT onto Jericho Road to Glen Ledge Road.
  3. Go right on Glen Ledge Road.
  4. Go right on Birch Ledge Road.
  5. Go right on South Ledge Road.
  6. Go right on Glen Ledge Road.
  7. The downhill section on Glen Ledge Road is steep with sharp curves so caution is advised!
  8. At junction of Route 16, go left toward Jackson. Race staff and volunteers will be manning this point to insure a smooth entrance onto and across the highway.
  9. For 2019 the Jackson Covered Bridge will be closed for repairs. Racers will stay on Rt 16, bypassing Jackson village.
  10. Go straight on Route 16 and continue towards the Appalachian Mountain Club Pinkham Notch Visitor Center area.
  11. The bike / hike transition zone is in the dirt parking lot for the Deritissma Trail, which is on the left, just before the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Race staff and volunteers will be manning this point to insure a smooth entrance and highway crossing. 
  12. Note - there are three road crossings manned with FOTR volunteers, Bartlett Police and State Police:
    1. Rte 302 / Jericho Road;
    2. Glen Ledge Road / Route 16;
    3. Route 16 / to Bike/Hike transition at Deritissma Trailhead parking lot (just before the AMC).

2019 Road Conditions and Notes on Bike Transition points:

Check back here for any last minute updates or changes on the bike route.

The kayak-to-bike transition will be a challenge this year as there is still a solid snow pack at the Glen Ellis Campground. This is a fluid situation that may change before race day, however, at the moment we are working on having all race support teams park and pick up boats and gear at the Patches store parking lot at the entrance to the Glen Ellis Campground. We will be limiting car traffic into the campground to race operations staff & volunteers only. It is expected that volunteers will shuttle boats back to the parking lot for pickup. Please do not attempt to drive into the campground area as this will cause problems and do not enter the road to the campground where bicyclists will be exiting. To park and pickup up gear, enter from the gas station entrance only!

Bike Route Change
The covered bridge to Jackson Village is closed for repairs so the bike route will go straight up Route 16 to Pinkham Notch this year.

The bike-to-hike transition point is still at Pinkham Notch and requires crossing Rt 16 from the right shoulder to the left shoulder into the Deritissma parking lot. Racers and support teams will have limited parking here and if you do park there, once the first bikers come into the transition point, no cars will be allowed in or out of this parking area until the bike leg is complete. If you park here and expect to leave earlier, park somewhere else. Volunteers and race staff will be on-site to guide you to the AMC Pinkham Notch parking area.



Total distance, approximately 3 miles, 2,268 feet total climb


  1. The hiker will be tagged by the biker at the transition zone at the Deritissma Trailhead parking lot.
  2. The hiker will proceed across the foot bridge and around the perimeter of the south end of the AMC parking lot to the Blanchard Loop Ski Trail.
  3. The hiker will continue up the Blanchard Loop Trail to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
  4. Hikers follow the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to the transition zone located either in Tuckerman Ravine or at Hillman’s Highway.  The location is condition dependent and will be established by 7am on race day.
    1. At Hermit Lake Shelter, hikers are to follow a course marked by traffic cones around the perimeter of the courtyard.  This is a public, busy spot on the course and competitors must make efforts to minimize impact on other public users of the area.
    2. Note that the actual location of ski course will be determined in the week leading up to race day based on snow conditions and weather.  This could change on race day due to weather and safety conditions.
    3. The hiker must arrive at the Hike / Ski transition zone by 1PM or the skier may be disqualified.

2019 Hiking Conditions and Notes on Hike Transition points:

The Tuckerman Ravine trail currently has full winter conditions. The trail is packed snow and ice, but post-holing may be possible as conditions are very dynamic right now.

We strongly recommend that hikers have traction devices like micro-spikes, nano spikes or yak tracks for this leg or consider using snowshoes or skis to hike/skin up.

At present, the hiker route will likely follow the path in back of Joe Dodge Lodge and will be appropriately marked with surveyors tape to get racers onto the Tuckerman Ravine trail up the mountain.

The hike-to-ski transition point has not been determined yet. The ski race course is not set until Friday. We will have more information on the planned ski leg on Friday night at race registration.



  1. The skier will hike up the mountain from the designated hike-to-ski  transition zone at Hermit Lake to the start of a giant slalom course set somewhere in Tuckerman Ravine and/or that general vicinity. 
  2. The exact course will be determined the day prior to the race based on snow conditions and safety requirements.  


  1. Equipment used for the ski leg must be carried by the skier from the transition zone; no pre-established ski caches will be allowed.
  2. Neutral party assistance is allowed for equipment, mechanical or terrain encountered difficulties.
  3. No team assistance is allowed.
  4. Actual course will be established by 7am day of the race as a function of prevailing conditions.
  5. Transition zone will be established by 7am day of race as a function of prevailing conditions.
  6. Course will consist of control gates and piste markers as set by chief of course. 

2019 Ski Conditions and Notes on Ski Transition points:

The ski course will be set on Friday. Check back for further updates that will be posted here.

Snow conditions are still mid-winter and avalanches have been frequent in the alpine zone. It is highly recommended that all skiers wear an avalanche beacon. A complete set of avy gear is recommended for travel above treeline.

Racers should be checking the MWAC Avalanche Advisory daily for updates on snow conditions.



Road Safety

  1. The race course runs along several busy state highways.  Crossing zones have been identified and staffed by volunteers, state and local police.  Competitors should be aware of the traffic and are responsible for choosing a safe time and location to cross these highways to minimize interaction with local road traffic
  2. There will be no chase vehicles allowed on the road portion of the course.  Several of the roads have high traffic on narrow roads and chase vehicles impede local traffic.  In order to secure permission to run the race from the local community we have to minimize the impact on the flow of traffic over these roads. Your cooperation is appreciated.

River Safety

  1. Natural hazards such as rocks, trees and strong currents exist in the river race course on the Saco River.  Kayakers should familiarize themselves with the course and the hazards prior to race day. 
  2. Kayakers are responsible for choosing the safest route on the river that avoids the natural hazards.
  3. Volunteers organized by the White Mountain Swift Water Rescue Team will be present to provide safety coverage along the river course on race day.
  4. Kayakers who observe fellow racers in trouble are obligated to provide assistance if no safety personnel are nearby.
  5. Kayakers should dress for the water temperature. Dry Tops and/or wet suits are recommended.  Extra fleece layers under a rain shell will keep you warm when they get wet.

Mountain Safety

  1. Competitors should be prepared for winter travel in hazardous terrain on the hike and ski legs of the race.  There is the possibility of dramatic change in temperature and weather from the start of the hike leg to the finish of the ski leg.
  2. Tuckerman Ravine is avalanche prone terrain. Competitors should be familiar with the normal precautions necessary for safe travel in avalanche terrain. Always check the latest avalanche report from the USFS Avalanche Center at Hermit Lake can be found at www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org
  3. Pay attention to the weather and latest avalanche forecast and take the necessary precautions. 
  4. Falling ice is a significant hazard in the spring. Competitors and spectators should be aware of hanging ice and the areas in Tuckerman Ravine where ice is likely to end up when and if it breaks loose from the wall. Competitors and spectators should position themselves in protected areas to minimize their risk. 
  5. Crevasses are a major risk in the ravine. The race course will be set in a location that avoids the major known crevasses.  Competitors and spectators should be current on the locations of the crevasses and avoid travel in those areas.
  6. Undermined snow is a hazard in the floor of the ravine and lower portions of the Little Headwall. Melt water running under the snow can cause sink holes to develop.
  7. The Little Headwall is an open waterfall. Skiing from Tuckerman Ravine to Hermit Lake is not recommended and may not be possible.  
  8. Competitors should be prepared for winter conditions in the ravine. Temperatures may not warm enough for soft corn skiing.  Pay attention to the weather forecast and have the equipment necessary for safe winter travel (ie, avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, crampons and an ice axe) available.
  9. The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is open to the public during the race. Be aware of the general public and share the trail with them. FOTR will have an information booth at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center to inform other users of the race. Be courteous and let other hikers know you are passing. 


  1. Parking is limited at all transition zones. Most of the transition zones are located on private land or in lots designated for NH Department of Transportation operations.  Please be respectful of the private property so that we can continue to enjoy access for future races.
  2. All transition zones will have designated drop off and pickup areas. Support teams will have 5 minutes to load and unload gear in these zones. Teams will be issued drop off/pick up passes at registration.


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