Friday, October 4, 2019

Pemi Loop: Flume (climb 2), Liberty (Climb 3), Lincoln (Climb 3), Lafayette (climb 3), Garfield (Climb 2), S. Twin (Climb 2), Bond (Climb 2), Bondcliff (Climb 2)

Steve and I planned this as a 3-day loop which worked out to about 10.5 miles each day. The traditional route would've taken us all the way from Lincoln Woods to the Garfield shelter, but with it being a cooler weather hike, staying indoors one night sounded appealing. We decided on:

Day 1: Lincoln Woods to Greenleaf Hut (10.6 miles, 5,600 ft of gain)
Day 2: Greenleaf to Guyot (10 miles, 4,530 ft of gain)
Day 3: Guyot back to Lincoln Woods (10.4 miles, 1,100 ft of gain).

The downside to this plan was that it meant we had to hike down about a mile and ~1,000 ft from Lafayette to get to Greenleaf hut on Friday, only to have to climb back up it on Saturday morning. Seemed well worth it for the benefit of getting to dry off and have a "warm" night indoors.

Friday was in and out of the clouds (mostly in), but had some pretty insane views when the clouds briefly lifted. Up on the Franconia ridge, it was very gusty (north of 50 mph) and definitely enough to push us around a bit in the puffs.

The weather deteriorated through the day and by the time we got down to the hut, it was a major relief to be getting inside. Temperatures plummeted overnight into the mid-teens and the wind shook the building all night.

We were hiking with a group that was headed to Garfield shelter, but with the conditions, they didn't make great time and ducked down to the Greenleaf hut in hopes of finding somewhere to stay for the night. They were turned away and spend the night in the woods. I can't even imagine how cold that must have been. The hut was still in "full-service" season, so we got a hot dinner and some blankets in the bunks. With a 17 degree rated sleeping bag, and 3 heavy wool blankets, I was warm enough, but it was close, and many other complained of being cold inside.

On Saturday we woke up to a solid frost cover and some black ice on the west side of Lafayette. We made good time to the top.

There we were greeted with our first clear view of the Pemigewasset valley. In the picture below, I'm looking toward the West side of the Bonds where we would finish our hike for the day on Saturday.

We made our way along the Garfield Ridge trail which was mostly clear but had some patches of black ice along to the Garfield summit.
(looking south From Garfield toward Owl's Head)