Sunday, February 17, 2008

Monadnock February 2008

Yesterday morning Austin and I attempted Mt. Monadnock. It was about 20 degrees F, which is surprisingly comfortable while mountain climbing.

The parking lot was packed, helping the mountain live up to its reputation as the most hiked mountain in the world (since they built a tram up Mt. Fuji). We stopped off at the Park Ranger store to pay our fee. One of the rangers asked if we had cramp-ons, and when we said no he scoffed and said that we wouldn't make it to the summit.

-Side story: Kimberly and I once arrived at Monadnock mid-afternoon one spring along with the Kelihers. The ranger told us that we were starting way too late and that the mountain was covered in snow. He then turned to me (as opposed to my tall, athletic looking friend Nathan) and said something along the lines of "you know how experiences YOU are but you don't know about your friends." We've joked ever since that his judgment was a reaction to my full beard and Nathan's freshly shaved face. We went on to reach the summit, trudging through nearly half and inch of snow in some places and made it back to the car with ample daylight to spare.

Needless to say, Austin and I were skeptical of his prediction.

Off we went. There was quite a bit of snow on the trail, but we ascended the White Spot Trail, the most popular path to the summit, so the trail was well worn.

Austin on the White Spot Trail

It was a gorgeous day without a cloud in the sky so the views were great. The snow was covered everywhere with a thick layer of ice and for the portion below the tree line icicles that had fallen every branch of each tree littered the landscape.

A tree still covered in ice.

As we approached the summit the path forged by people who trend before us grew narrower and narrower.

Ice everywhere, and the incline was steep.

Within the final 0.1 miles (summit in sight) the trail that could be traversed without cramp-ons came to an end. We each took turns losing our footing and barreling down several feet (into a bush in Austin's case, into Austin in my case) and then finally admitted defeat and headed back.

We descended the White Cross Trail, which was unproven in comparison, with only a few footprints rather than a trampled path.

Me near the bottom, where the White Cross/Spruce Link rejoins the main trail.

So we didn't reach the peak and had to settle for my car as an alternate spot to eat our lunch, but we were very glad to get out and enjoy the beautiful day and a bit of winter adventure with the precarious summit approach. It was really great to get back on the trail after so many months.

1 comment:

Danielle A. said...

Great pictures! It looks like you guys had an awesome hike. :)