Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mount Liberty (4,459') - Climb #2

Jimmy and I headed up from Londonderry early with the intention to drive up to Mount Moriah in Gorham. The forecast called for snow turning to rain in the late morning. Neither of us had much interest in hiking in freezing rain, but we hoped to start early enough to beat the rain and be at high enough elevation that it would stay snow where we were. Unfortunately, the snow on the drive north was substantial enough that it made 93N pretty sloppy. It was a slow drive, and we had little confidence that we could make it all the way to Gorham safely with enough time to finish the hike in the daylight.

We considered several alternatives but ultimately settled on Mount Liberty due to its proximity to 93, and the fact that I had safely climbed it in November previously. We used snow shoes from the beginning which was fine, although I suspect we could have gotten away with microspikes for the first mile or so. I had forgotten how consistently steep the Liberty Springs trail is. There are no switchbacks, or brief downhills, or even flats. Its pretty much a straight shot up to the ridge. It was a tough walk in snowshoes but the trail had been broken out a few days earlier and the conditions were pretty good.

When we made it to the ridgeline about 0.3 miles from the summit, we kicked around the idea of going to snag the Flume summit too (which remains on my list). By the time we reached the summit, we were both pretty beat and the ridgeline looked very treacherous in the snow. It was clear that no one had been up there in several days.

We didn't linger long on the summit, and although there were no views to speak of, the summit was very pretty blanketed in snow. We made great time heading down and even though we were in snow shoes, we finished the hike right around book time of 5:35. The weather largely held up, and we only had a few minutes of drizzle at the very end.

After the hike we headed over to drop our stuff and shower at the Woodstock Inn before catching a movie in Lincoln. We stayed at the Inn and headed back to Londonderry on Christmas Eve morning.

Neither of us brought SLRs because the conditions were so iffy, but some good cellphone pics can be seen here: Pictures

Sunday, November 2, 2014

South Carter (4,430')

I headed north in the late afternoon on Saturday. The weather was cold and rainy, and I had little interest in camping. I got a spot at the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch (20 minutes north of north Conway). I stopped at Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery on the way up. I've tried to eat there multiple times, but long waits have always kept me away. The food was excellent, and the Iron Mike Pale Ale is also worth seeking out. It started to snow shortly before I got to the lodge and was already accumulating quickly. The lodge is perfect for hikers and has cheap bunks in a heated lodge with full breakfast buffet included. I grabbed a spot by the fireplace and read for a few hours before crashing.

The forecast for Sunday was brutal. According to the higher summits forecast (in part): Noreaster will cause winds to steadily increase, reaching sustained speeds of hurricane force this afternoon with higher gusts" Winds: NW 85-105 w/ higher gusts. wind chills 25-35 below. All that said, I had heard that the summits of Carter were largely tree covered and hoped it would not be too bad. I could always turn back if it was too exposed or if the wind was too much. As it turned out, the strongest gust I felt all day was walking from the lodge to my car in the morning (~20 mph).

I took the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail to the Carter Dome trail up to the Zeta Pass. The trail had a few inches of fresh snow and I kept on the microspikes the whole way. I only saw one other person on the trail who was headed down from the Carter Hut. The ridge was very mild and well protected. I had hoped to catch both South and Middle Carter, but part way between the two, I felt the temperature drop pretty substantially very quickly. I still was not uncomfortable with the temperature, but I didn't like the rapid weather change since I was solo, and decided to head down without making it to Middle Carter. I was less than a mile from the second summit, so that was a bit frustrating.

Made it down in just over 5 hours. Home in time to make a big fire and watch the Pats demolish the Broncos. Solid day.

Pictures here (just iphone): Pictures - South Carter

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mount Eisenhower (4,780')

Jacqueline and I drove up mid-afternoon on Saturday to Hancock Campground. It's still early enough in the season that we were able to get a pretty decent tent spot near the river. We got to use our new Keilty 4-man tent which is a nice space upgrade over my REI backpacking tent and a nice not-leaky-trashbag upgrade over my huge Walmart tent. The black flies were out in force in the late afternoon, so we headed to town to wait for them to settle down and grabbed a couple beers at the Woodstock Station.

Got back to the campground around 7 and realized that my lighter was out of gas. Rather than ask a neighbor to borrow one, I decided to do it on my own. I managed to get our fire going with nothing but my bare hands, and the flint in my lighter, and a newspaper, and a Duraflame firestarter, and some fatwood, and some aged kiln dried gas station firewood. Pretty much Tom Hanks from Castaway. We made a nice dinner over the fire-grate (chicken sausage and sliced potatoes) and got to bed early.

The trailhead is on an unmaintained road a few miles off of 302 near Crawford notch. We took Edmands path up to the ridge and then the Eisenhower loop trail to the summit. Below the treeline the trail is not particularly dramatic or difficult. Jacqueline and I had a pretty easy time up to the ridge. I apparently did not communicate the trail setup very well, because when we reached the ridge and sat down on a high spot to get my camera out, Jacqueline mentioned that the hike was not that bad. When I said "yeah, so far," she was disappointed to learn we had another 0.5 miles left to climb. We were pleased that it ended up only being another 15 or 20 minutes to the top and the views were awesome.

We backtracked to the base, and got down to the car around 2:30 and headed back to Boston. We had perfect weather and a really nice all around weekend. This was Jacqueline's 3rd 4K (and favorite so far), and my 24th.

24 to go.

Brought the SLR. Combination of iPhone and SLR pictures here: Pictures

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mount Sanitas (6,863')

Jacqueline and I were in Boulder for a few days and did a morning hike of Mount Sanitas. The hike is in the foothills just west of Boulder about 10 minutes from where we were staying. We got an early start and had great weather. Finished the climb mid to late morning and headed down to Denver for the afternoon.

A combination of SLR and some phone pictures can be seen here

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Haystack Mountain (3,445')

Went up to Vermont for the weekend and did a nice day-hike of Haystack Mountain in Vermont. Snow shoes up and barebooted most of the way down.

Just a few quick phone pics, no SLR: Pics