North and South Hancock Hike

2011 Apr 2

Who: Matt Hansen, Fred Knight

Matt and I both forgot our cameras, which was the only downside to a fine day of hiking to North Hancock, elevation 4,420 feet and South Hancock, elevation 4,319 feet.  The day was partially clear with a mix of a few snow squalls in between intermittent times of blue sky.  We were aided by a Lone Snowshoer, who preceded us with enormous strides, and we still took almost 9 hours to complete the 10.4 miles.

The previous two days left 3-6″ of fresh snow, but we managed well with bare boots for the first two hours.  We followed the Lone Wolf’s tracks; he was our Wilderness Guide.  After the Hancock Loop junction, we used snowshoes and still followed the True Trailblazer up the steep (1100′ in 0.7 miles) part.  The uncanny Himalayan Hiker only went awry once, after keeping on trail at a myriad of bends and right-angle turns.  The Mystery Man met his match coming off North Hancock.  Our Chingachgook left crisscrossed tracks in aborted attempts to find the next blaze, but finally chose a lick of young spruce to bushwhack.  The Young Yeti got right back on the track!  On the approach to South Peak, the Yak Tracker amazed us again and again by his abrupt turns to meander up to the top.  We saw no other hikers—only the trail of Mountain Man With Long Strides.

Coming down South Peak was a glorious treat for Matt, whose balance allowed him a speedy descent.  I lagged…and lagged…down the 700′ snow-covered trail.  Luckily, the cushion of 6-8″ of snow made a soft landing for each step.  The trail of our Winter Wonder was obliterated, but his guidance led us well.

Summary: North and South Hancock, 10.4 miles, 8:45, bare boot and snowshoes, good snow, glorious views, leadership by Dramatic Deerslayer

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