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Just in case anyone was wondering, I had a few things wrong on my account of
the May 5 Tuckerman adventure.  I had a chance to examine the topo map and
my altimeter (yes--there is a memory function on one of those cool Casio
watches) after I got home.  I said the lunch rocks were at 4000 feet. Wrong.
They are at about 4700 (altimeter read 4760).  And then we climbed over the
headwall to 5620 feet.  That means we probably crossed the Lawn Cutoff
(5360), which is above and to the left of the Alpine Garden trail (5160. The
snow fields are on and above the Lawn Cutoff trail.  So the descent from the
top of the snow fields over the lip of the headwall to the lunch rocks is
about 1000 feet of adrenaline rush--still a big drop of awesome steepness.

I also have an article from Snow Country 1992 comparing some of the steepest
trails in the U.S. and Canada for a bit more trivia.  Tuckerman's is at the
top of the list at 49 degrees--less than the 55 degrees that I reported, but
then that probably means the entire slope, not the steepest part, which
could still be about 50+ degrees.  (I measured the slope of the throat of
the Hourglass above Stowe at 50 degrees.)  Here are some of the Snow Country
factums for your party conversations:

Typical household staircase     32.2 degrees  (63% grade; basically you can
double degrees to get %grade and not be too far off.  45 degree slope = 100%
grade: a ratio of 1:1 for rise over run.)

Tuckerman's headwall            49 degrees  (116 %grade)
Great Scott, Snowbird           44.5 degrees
Goat, Stowe                     19.5 degrees (they did not list Upper Starr)
Corbet's Couloir, Jackson Hole  38.6 degrees (but remember, it is very narrow)
Palivacinni, A Basin            30 degrees
Exhibition, Squaw Valley        22 degrees
Saudan Coulior, Blackcomb       41 degrees
Spiral Staircase, Telluride     20 degrees
Prima, Vail                     20.5 degrees
Outer Limits, Killington        23 degrees
White heat, Sunday River        21 degrees

So, we can still be puffed up and proud about our steeps in the
northeast--and sometimes they are even icy!