Note: this is not going to be a particularly interesting entry because 1) I’ve done this one before and 2) I mostly want to make gear notes to myself for future climbs in similar weather.
I had to be back in the Boston area for a holiday party in the evening so this one had to be quick. I hit the road around 5:45 to make the Lafayette trailhead ~8am.
There was already a lot of snow down, so I geared up and opted for snow shoes to start. The trail was completely covered, but pretty packed down. Spikes would have been fine too. It was a good excuse to use the raised heel on the MSR snow shoes. Temperature was 7 degrees in the parking lot. Layers were: standard socks, winter boots, long underwear, hiking pants, shell pants (no snow pants), base layer shirt, fleece, down vest, shell jacket (unzipped), glove liners and ski gloves. For water I had 2 Nalgenes wrapped in wool socks and a large Gatorade.
Made good time up to the tree line. For future planning, I should’ve ditched a layer down low and layered up more when I was getting into the wind. I switched to spikes just before making the Greenleaf Hut (closed for winter) where the trail breaks above the trees for the rest of the way.
Because of the wind, drifting, and frozen sections, there effectively wasn’t a trail to the top. I followed some old footprints but they would occasionally dead end in deeper snow. It was a mixed bag. Some sections were hard ice such that I was glad I had the Hillsounds on. Others deeper sections would’ve been better in snowshoes. I added neck warmer, goggles, hood, and zipped up everything.
My feet were very cold and toes numb approaching the summit. The last few hundred yards were quite windy and bitter cold. I spent a grand total of 5 seconds at the top and made my way down to get out of the wind. I couldn’t get any summit pictures as my phone would’ve died instantly. I don’t totally understand why, but my feet actually got much warmer on the way down. My hands were cold at times; my gloves definitely have some weak spots.
Made it down in a little over 5 hours (about 30 mins ahead of book). Stopped at Woodstock Inn for a big bowl of chili and made it back in plenty of time for the holiday party.
I saw a couple dudes with skis heading up from the hut. I think that could’ve been a blast for a short ride. It was wide open, no rocks or cliffs, not too steep. Obviously a lot of work to get the skis up there. Changing into ski boots at the top also would have been horrendous.