Saturday, November 11, 2017

Mount Galehead (4,024)

 Steve and I met at the Gale River trailhead around 8:30. On arrival, the thermometer in my car read 16 degrees and there were a few inches of fresh snow on the ground.
The trail to Galehead is mostly a comfortable and gradual climb with a few minor water crossings and a short steeper ascent to the AT junction. Being so cold, it was pretty easy to regulate temperature with layers and keep from overheating. Only really got cold during the few times we stopped for food or to unfreeze the tubes to our camel packs (these were a mistake... it was too cold to keep the tubes from freezing every 5 minutes). 

There were no big views until reaching the Galehead hut (.5 from the summit) which was boarded up for the season. The hut sits in a clearing and provided shelter from the wind, so it was actually pretty warm standing on the porch of the hut. We barebooted from the trailhead to the hut.

From there, we added spikes and made the quick ascent to the viewless summit. Kept the spikes on most of the way down for added security, but probably would have been fine without. They made it easier. 

We were back to the car by 2:30ish. Steve headed back to Portland, but I stopped at the Woodstock Inn for some chili and beer. 

42 down, 6 to go. 

Pictures here: Galehead

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mount Zealand (4,260'), Mount Guyot (4,580'), Mount Bond (4,698'), Bondcliff (4,265'), Mount Bond again (4,698'), West Bond (4,540'), Guyot site, Mount Guyot again (4,580'), South Twin (4,902'), North Twin (4,761')

Steve and I met at the Mount Washington Hotel bar on Friday night for some dinner and to watch playoff baseball (not many local options had both). We crashed at the seven dwarfs motel to get an early start on Saturday. We had heard Guyot campsite could be crowded and wanted to be early enough to claim a spot.

Dropped a car at the Haystack trailhead and continued over to Zealand road. The hike to zeacliff was pleasant in cool fall weather with some really impressive views in peak leaf season. The view from zeacliff was excellent and certainly the best we had of the weekend (one of the best of I've seen in the Whites).  The clouds rolled in as we approached the Zealand summit and were with us for the rest of the trip. We knocked off Zealand and continued on to Guyot (not official 4K list).

We descended to the Guyot campsite and were among the first people to arrive. Grabbed a tent platform and dropped our gear to head out and hike the Bonds. On our way to the Bonds, we saw 20+ different people headed toward the Guyot tentsite. We were glad to have found a spot early.

The Bonds were uneventful, and wet. It's clear the views here would be incredible in better conditions but we couldn't see anything beyond 50 feet.

The Guyot site was packed when we got back (est. 50 people?) We shared a tent platform with a nice dude doing the Pemi loop, but it's close quarters there. Can't even imagine on a summer weekend with good weather. Given the good water source (there's a spring in the middle of the site), and the great location, I can understand the popularity.

We hiked out on Sunday over the two twins. We had contemplated getting Galehead too, but the weather was rough and neither of us had much interest to do it in the rain and fog. On the way down the weather turned and we finished up under blue skies.

Six more off the list.

Pictures here:Photos

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mount Whiteface (4,020') and Mount Passaconaway (4,043')

Arrived at the Ferncroft trailhead right around 9:00 on Saturday. Parking lot was already nearly full on the unseasonably warm day. I was able to pack light with no rain or cool temperatures forecast.

(dirt road to the trailhead)

I ascended via the Blueberry Ledge trail. The early parts of the trail had many intermittent steep sections laced in with nice flat walks to catch your breath. Nearer the summit of Whiteface, it opened up into strictly steep sections with some great southern views. I had read not to do this trail in winter. After seeing some of the rock faces and scrambles, I concur with that recommendation. Nothing technical or difficult for dry warm weather though.

I spent just a little time on the Whiteface summit and kept moving for Passaconaway. The trail between the two peaks was quite pleasant and mostly downhill. Arriving at the loop trail for the summit of Passaconaway, the trail gets very steep again. This was a rough and rugged trail with lots of large rocks and narrow sections. The summit itself has no views, but for an extra 0.3, you can get an awesome overlook facing north toward the Kanc. It was a worthwhile detour. 

Slow going on the way down the Walden trail, and not much to see. I took the shortcut around Wonalancet because it was getting late and I had run out of water (dumb). 

Got back to the car around 5:00 and drove ~1 hr to the Waterville campground for the night. Good trip all around and 2 more off the list. 13 to go.

Pictures here (mix of SLR and phone): Photos

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mount Moosilauke (4,802') (2nd climb)

I was looking to do a shorter hike because I needed to be back south for dinner. I had done Moosilauke in snow before, so I settled on it as a good pick. I also wanted to scout out the Carriage path trail for possible skiing later this winter.

The plan was to climb up via the gorge brook trail to the summit, and then come down via Carriage road and Snapper. There was a nice packed snow cover which was on the softer side. Spikes were mostly unnecessary, but I wore them for added traction on the harder-packed/steeper sections. I carried snowshoes but never took them off the pack.

At the trailhead, it was quite foggy, but I could see the sun through the fog, so I hoped I’d climb out of it (and did). Once above the first foggy layer, I hiked in relatively clear conditions until almost all the way to the summit. Unfortunately, the summit was fogged in as well. It was dense enough that I could not see from trail mark to trail mark, and being above the tree-line, I simply had to follow foot-prints in the snow and keep going uphill.

The summit was quite windy. I’d estimate gusts in the 35-50 mph range. Given the poor visibility, and no more foot prints to follow, I decided it was too dangerous to try to find the carriage path solo. I followed my own footprints back to the treeline and made my way back down. 

(video of summit conditions)

Note: I checked out the new Deli in Truants (Merland's). Great sandwich and excellent beer selection.