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Ammonoosuc Trail to Mt Monroe
2012-12-01
Steve Smith, Fred Knight, Steve Bussolari, Benny, Jonah Tower, Charlie "Beef" Abert

Approaching Franconia Notch
Approaching Franconia Notch
Not snowing yet.
MarshfieldStation0830byAbert
Marshfield Station, 0830 by Abert
Ready to go; Beef to tackle Crawford Path to Eisenhower.
Half-mile up Ammonoosuc
Half-mile up Ammonoosuc
Benny had to be coaxed across the bridge.
Approaching the ice flows
Approaching the ice flows
What a team!
Gem Pool
Gem Pool
Reached after ~ 1 hour; easy pace. Gray but cool and no wind.
Steve at the upper trail vista
Steve at the upper trail vista
Going up!
Nearing Lakes of the Clouds hut.
Nearing Lakes of the Clouds hut.
Wind increasing and snow starting.
Good to have company.
Good to have company.
Tarpy is happy.
Atop Mt Monroe
Atop Mt Monroe
Or close to it; not very clear wnere we are
Really atop Mt Monroe
Really atop Mt Monroe
Benny assessing whether we go on or retrace our steps
Benny assessing whether we go on or retrace our steps
All agree: turn back.
Benny deciding to return via Amonoosuc
Benny deciding to return via Amonoosuc
"Let's head down, boys."
Going down
Going down
Benny always stuck close to the leader
Heading down Ammonoosuc
Heading down Ammonoosuc
Mt Monroe completed; wands retrieved
Steve with Lakes of the Clouds Hut
Steve with Lakes of the Clouds Hut
Crampons kept on; ice flows coming up.
White out conditions
White out conditions
Toward Mt Monroe from Lakes of the Clouds hut
Descending vi Ammonoosuc Tr
Descending vi Ammonoosuc Tr
Benny still going strong; others follow.
Benny's antics
Benny's antics
Wind still blowing.
Still smiling
Still smiling
Layering off
Layering off
Time to doff some wind layers
The best view on the trail
The best view on the trail
Benny is still friskie
Just past Gem Pool
Just past Gem Pool
About 45 minutes from end; Steve ahead
Benny Post Hike
Benny Post Hike
A job well done. "I got them through it all!"

map

Report

Steve Smith, Steve Bussolari, Jonah Tower and Benny, and Fred Knight curtailed our original plan of a one-way traverse of the lower Presidentials (Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce) to just a RT up to Mt Monroe via the Ammonoosuc Trail. Our other hiker, Charlie Abert, took one of the cars to Highland Lodge and did a solo hike to Eisenhower, making friends along the way. We had intended to end up there as well, but due to white-out conditions, decided to return from Mt Monroe along the Ammonoosuc Trail. See report from another group on conditions here.

The drive up went as expected with arrivial at the Marshfield Station parking lot just after 8am. We got started at 0840; sky was gray without snow. About 3" on the ground. Leisurely pace got us to Gem Pool in about 1 hour; then steeper. Wind increased as we approached the Lakes of the Clouds hut and enticed us into the lee side of the hut for lunch about 1100. On continuing to Mt Monroe the conditions were worsening, so Steve placed wands in case we needed to return. Atop Mt Monroe, we decided to return rather than continue along the ridge. On returning we entered the dungeon ("For emergency Use Only") at Lakes of the Clouds foundation. And here is a brief movie of our trip, including lunch (pre-ascent) and emergence from the dungeon (post ascent). See Steve Bussolari's report here. Charlie's report was thumbs up!

And, from the other end of the route, Charlie "Beef" Abert reported some sightings:

Team Abert Summary: 3 peaks, 8.1 miles, "Legs are doing well."
Team Benny Summary: ~6 miles, RT on Ammonoosuc Trail then to Mt Monroe from Lakes of the Clouds Hut, 0840-1520=6:40.
--Fred (aka tarpman)