Park at Pinkham Notch and begin by hiking up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. At 1.3 miles the Huntington Ravine Trail branches off right. Alterantely, in early season when snow is still present, you can continue up the Tucks trail, crossing the second bridge, then take a right on the snowcat road which in about 15-20 minutes takes you to Harvard Cabin and the Huntington Ravine Trail.
Between the Tucks trail and Huntington Ravine this is a fairly typical New England trail - kind of rough with lots of rocks and some bushes. It's not very long, but can take a while. The floor of the ravine is reached about 1.5 miles after the junction. There are some really big boulders here; however the trail is easy enough to follow as there are paint blazes on the rocks. From the boulder field the trail climbs up the talus slope known as the Fan. Depending on the season, this slope can be a snowfield through Memorial Day and after; in this case an ice axe may not be a bad idea. After climbing the Fan (careful of loose rock) the trail turns right and begins traversing a big slab. This is the beginning of the class 3 section. It's not very hard at all - for most people it will simply be a lot of fun. But I suppose if you're scared of heights or if it's wet it could be pretty unpleasant. In any case, it's a spectacular section, with the trail gaining altitude very rapidly and offerring stunning views from various rock outcrops. As it approaches the Alpine Garden plateau the trail decreases in angle, and finally joins the Alpine Garden Trail at about 5,600 feet near the top of Central Gully.
From here the shortest way to the summit (unless you want to just scramble up the boulder field) is to follow the Huntington Ravine Trail until it reaches the Auto Road, and from there follow the Nelson Crag Trail to the top.
good-soled hiking boots. Ice axe and possibly crampons if snow is present on the Fan.
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