Tidbits: I’d done Skookumchuck in Fall (after Thanksgiving) and in spring with lots of postholing (circa 2008). This time was very fun, with snowshoes needed to break trail above 2500′ elevation. I made it to the last leg before hitting Garfield Ridge in just over 3 hours and finally reached the summit at 4.5 hours, after bushwhacking to reach Garfield Ridge. Stupendously clear above treeline; windy but not too cold. The trail gets really closed in on the the upper parts, and I lost it a couple times. Breaking out at treeline, I headed up rather than diagonally to Garfield Ridge Trail. (Well, I didn’t actually see the trail at that point, but the objective was clear.) The summit views, with white peaks against blue sky, were tremendous.
Summary: 10.2 miles over 7.75 hours up and down Skookumchuck Trail to Mt Lafayette, 3927′ elevation gain (felt it!), a wonderful day
–Fred (aka tarpman)
The day was near freezing and windy at the top. The ascent took 2.75 hours up a route I had not taken before: Cascade Link to Spellman to Pempelly. I was preceeded by a snowshoer and a barebooter in the fresh snow. Wore snowshoes most of the way. Some drifts up to mid thigh. Nearing the top the wind picked up but was manageable throughout.
I tried to find the Smith Summit Trail for the descent, but I ended up on White Arrow, which Mike Pineault and I did a few weeks ago. In fact the route down was very similar to that hike; wihtout Fairy Spring but with (an unintentional) excursion to Cliff Walk. Temperature increased to just above freezing on the way down.
Summary: ~6 miles over 5.75 hours at Mt Monadnock, up Cascade Link, Spellman, and Pempelly, down White Arrow, Thoreau, and Lost Farm.
–Fred (aka tarpman)
I did a 2-day hike to the Mt Liberty and Mt Flume, with a cozy night at my in-snow camp at the Liberty Spring-Franconia Ridge junction. I started late, got to the camp site, built a snow fort, did Mt Liberty and Mt Flume, had dinner, spent a cozy night in my new Tyvek bivy, got up before sunrise, went back to Mt Liberty for the sunrise, broke camp, and hiked back down Liberty Spring Trail. Just about 24 hours.
Summary: 10.1 miles over 24 hours with sleepover on Franconia Ridge, 3660′ elevation gain, 2 peaks (Liberty (2x) and Flume).
Steve Sawyer, Steve Smith, Fred Knight
2013 Mar 10
We got an early start (4:40 am from Forbes Road) and were guided to a non-optimal route (10 min further thanks to Fred), but we got going up the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail at 8am sharp, made the total ascent, and had gorgeously clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and little wind.
The trail was nice: packed throughout; we used microspikes up to the steep section and crampons after that to the summit, which we reached 15 minutes ahead of book time in 4 hours. We started with a measured pace, which paid dividends for me through the rest of the hike. The steep section was “awesome,” according to Steve. It required the usual set of crampons and ice ax. Above treeline, we made continuous progress, but with some helpful stops, and added a wind layer above Lion’s Head. The day brought no significant cold or wind. The skies were bright. Lots of hikers. We did lunch in the lee of one of the buildings and met a guy doing the Presidential Traverse (6:30 into his hike). On the way down, conditions were pleasant and included some butt sliding under optimal butt-slidng conditions. The descent below treeline in the steep section was slow due to a group in front of us. The adventurous (Steve and Steve) chose a parallel bushwhack. We wore microspikes down to the steep part (again optimal for butt-sliding), but used crampons the rest of the way down. Did I mention the butt sliding in the snow fields above treeline?
Steve brought his new Fuji X-E1 for its battle with Fred’s Sony NEX-6. The Sony pictures are below. Bright light meant good depth of field and shots should be nice. They are only 1200 pixels in the report.
Tina Fey reading her Bossypants provided entertainment on the way home. Steve’s new Jetta TDL was roomy and comfortable.
Summary: 8.2 miles to Mt Washington via Tuckerman’s Ravine and Lion’s Head, 4288′ elevation gain, 4 hrs up (15 min under book time!), Microspikes and crampons on well-packed trail with minimal wind above treeline.
–Fred (aka tarpman)
My original plan was to make the long drive to Mt Washington Pinkham Notch for Lion’s Head, but I opted for the shorter drive and hike to Mt Passaconaway. My goal was to do Mt Whiteface as well, but the breaking trail took much more effort than I hoped. I wished that I had brought my snowshoe tails as well, as the fresh snow was soft.
Got up early for 2.75-hr drive and listened to Tina Fey read her Bossypants all the way. Left the trailhead at 7:05. (“Wow!” says Beef) Bare boots for about 1/2 mile along a skier’s track. Then switch to snowshoes. Snow depth increased throughout, and my pace slowed, requiring modifications of the expectations from two peaks (Passaconaway and Whiteface), to one peak (Passaconaway), to a required turnaround time of 5 hours. I finally said I’d turn around, even if I was below the summit, at noon. I was very close to the top, but I stuck to my plan, thinking I’d get back by 3pm. The descent was a breeze compared to the slog going up. The only person I met was another solo hiker coming up (enjoying my broken trail) about an hour from the peak as I was descending.
Summary: ~10 miles to Mt Passaconaway 3000′ elevation gain, 8 hrs. Snowshoes on unbroken trail; hazy bright. A fun hike. Started out slowly again, which helped endurance.