Archive for January 2015

Whiteface and Passaconaway


Fred Knight, Mike Pineault, Steve Sawyer, Scott Stuart

Panorama from View atop Mt Passaconaway (click for higher resolution) (or all the pics)
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After some planning and an evolving forecast for the high elevations, we decided on an 2-day hike to Mt Whiteface and Mt Passaconaway with tenting at the abandoned Camp Rich, just below the Mt Passaconaway summit. We had planned a hike from Crawford Notch to Marshfield Station with an overnight at the base of Mt Eisenhower. However, the forecast winds of up to 80 mph on Mt Washington and the exposed traverse at or above 4000′ from Mt Pierce to Lakes of the Clouds Hut argued for an alternative, with shelter from winds and still with challenges and good views of the southern Whites. A further potential complication was the expected snow in Boston, but we started just after it began and outdistanced the storm as we drove north.
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Our hike took the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff to Blueberry Ledges up the Mt Whiteface. There were a few sketchy locations on the ledges, but we got through them safely. Then we had the couple miles along the ridge from 4000′ down to 3500′ and over Dicey Mills Trail to the ascent to Mt Passaconaway. Just after we met the Dicey Mills Trail, we got to the location of Camp Rich, with a clearing but no shelter. The arrival was at 3:20, after 5 hours of hiking, and I welcomed the end of the day. We got down to setting up tents and getting dinner. A stream nearby provided water, and Scott and Steve got their stoves going to heat water for dinner. My Spaghetti with meat sauce from Mountian House freeze dried was pretty good, but I remembered my previous meal more fondly than I found this one. Still it was piping hot and good for 440 calories. Steve dined on macaroni and cheese; Mike on lasagne, and Scott on some of his varied menu, which included an evening adult beverage, shared to celebrate Burns Night.

We had two tents and my tarp arrangement. Everybody had a good, long night, after we turned in at 7:30. My new idea for piling snow on my bivvy did not work and was compromised more by the poor design than the lack of snow. The snow depth down to the icy crust layer was only 6″, so I settled for the uninsulated tarp over my Tyvex bivvy. The crossed tent poles holding up the tarp were insufficient to hold up the snow, so I settled for piling on the three sides and not on the top. As it was, I enjoyed a cozy night after I switched my sleeping bag to cover my head. Previously, I had wanted to keep it at my neck to allow free rotation of my head in my parka hood, but this proved too leaky. The new method was beautifully leak-proof, and I was very warm. (Mike’s suggestion!) The wind picked up during the night with some good gusts, but the forest around us provided good protection—much different than if we had been at the base of Mt Eisenhower where the wind would have been atrocious.

Our first day had high clouds, complete overcast, and some snow, just a dusting compared to the 5″ in Wayland. The second day was cooler, clear, and breezy—a super day in the Whites. We were back by 1pm and got a final view of Whiteface from the parking lot.

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Pics

See all the pics here.

Summary

A fun 2-day hike, ~13 miles, 3100′ rise, 2 peaks (Whiteface and Passaconaway), overnight at Camp Rich

Sandwich Dome

Steve Smith and Fred Knight

180-deg Panorama from ridge (click for higher resolution)
panoWith temperatures expected to stay in the single digits and with increasing wind expected, Steve and I got started at 8am from the Sandwich Mtn. Trailhead, located just before Waterville Valley. The morning light was still hitting the hills. The Sandwich Mtn Trail climbs steadily and then more steeply onto a ridge where we got our first view of the Whites. We got to the Daniels Brook Trail junction after 2 hrs and 2.5 miles, all with microspikes on a broken trail. With 1.3 miles to go for the Sandwich Dome summit, we soon switched to snowshoes due to deeper snow and an unbroken trail. We reached the summit at 11:20. The sky was almost cloudless, a gorgeous blue with 0 deg F temperature and not too much wind—simply a treat with good views toward all the Whites. Since our first view, clouds has gathered to the north, and Franconia Ridge and the southern end of the Presidentials were in clouds. We could see the nearby peaks is bright sunlight.

Pictures:

All the pics are here.
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On our return, we did the 0.2-mile excursion to Mt Jennings with a good view of the route to Sandwich Dome that we had just hiked. The return was back to microspikes. We met one solo hiker and a group coming up; otherwise no other hikers. Quite a pleasant trail, if less majestic than farther north. Definitely a good choice for the day.

Summary:

8 miles, 6 hrs, 2600′ rise, kmz file for 3-d view in google earth.
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Two Christmas hikes

Emily and Fred on Round Hill, 26 Dec 2014


The day after Christmas, Emily and I did the Round Hill loop in about 2.5 hours. We wore microspikes the whole way. Not as good a vista as I remember it last year from th spur off the Round Hill Loop.

Part way to Carter Dome, 30 Dec 2014


I drove from Maine to Pete Limmer & Sons to get my custom boots ordered. Then I parked at the Nineteen Mile Brook Trailhead and walked past the first junction to the second stream crossing, where I took a wrong turn. Bushwhacking got too tough, so I turned around. Getting back to the stream crossing, I saw the then-obvious left turn in the trail just past the stream. Too bad I missed it. I headed home. About 6 miles total.