What a difference 5 warm days makes. I headed back up to the West side again today with Jeremy, and found more skinning than we did turns. We got to the cog around 8 and there were no other cars around, when we got back at 2:30 there were still only employees cars there. We had the whole side to ourselves. When we started skinning up it was misting.
The infamous sign
The trail had alot less snow and alot more open water than on saturday. We made 2 water crossings that were sketchy. and decided not too make a few that blocked our access to the goods.
We attempted to first go up to monroe brook, the place I skinned up on saturday was now all blown-out full on river, we skinned up the side as far as possible but couldnt make it any further than the water fall, which is really frusturating cause its only like another 200 yds from there to the bottom of the slide path. We turned around and found a sketchy undermined snowbridge over the brook which we took. we skinned towards the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and linked up with it pretty quick. We followed it to the Ravine
We poked around for a while trying to find a snowbridge across the Ammo river to get to the skiiable side but couldnt find a safe crossing or snowbridge. Just a lot of avi damage
Our only option now was the Ammo Trail. we skinned up it and found another sketchy brook crossing below Gem Pool. We threw our gear across and hopped across the underwater stepping stones. The skin from gem pool up was steep. We took it all the way up to the last brook crossing below lake of the clouds and that was as far as we could go. The brook was flowing full force, and there was a 6 foot vertical wall of undermined snow on each side where the snow bridge had been. It was not within either of our risk tolerances to attempt to cross. We poked around and tried to find another way up on our side of the brook, but found nothing. We were beat! We did find a nice steep glade that paralled the trail, so we rode that back down until it got too tight. Then we made survival turns, and side slips back down the trail. Crossed the brooks again, and skiied back to the car. One funny, (scary for a second) thing that happened was I tried to olie some open water on a streamlet that crossed the trail and fell in.
My play by play of what happened
It was one of those days that just didnt end up working out the way it was supposed to, but it was still great to be outdoors, and nice to not see another soul the whole time.
My Dick Proenneke style sking vid:
Post Season Turns on Pats Peak, originally uploaded by surf88.
I had gotten a really big blister on my right ankle from the Gulf of Slides trip 2 weekends ago, it wasnt healing very well and earlier this week it became really infected I did nt think I was going to be able go for a tour this weekend, but after lots of intensive care it had healed up enough that I was willing to at least attempt a trip. Afterall the West Side of Mt Washington is more filled in right now than I’ve ever seen, and record high temperatures for april were forecasted for saturday. I couldnt let this day pass me by. I bandaged up my foot, stuck some moleskin over the bandage and slipped into my boots. I knew that there would be other people I knew on the hill today, but I decided to go alone due to not yet knowing how limited I might be with my bum foot. My plan was to ascend the ammonusuc ravine trail to the hut, and then just take a run down Monroe Brook back to my car. However when I hit the Monroe Brook jct I mistakenly missed the Ammo Trail blaze because there was so much storm damage, and ended up following Monroe Brook to the bottom of the Gully. Monroe Brook was beautiful and I was glad I had made the mistake.
I was able to skin up as far as the fork in the gully, and then I switched over to climbing an already set boot ladder. Looking Down:
Looking across towards the rockpile:
When I got to where the snow ended I was too close to the summit of Monroe for the peak bagger in me to not want to grab it for the 3rd time. Summit of Monroe:
While chatting with a few hikers on the summit Ridersteve called me on my cell, he and a group of others were just below me at the top of Oakes Gulf. I spotted a little snowfield that would take me from near the summit to where they were and hopped on my board and rode down to meet them. When I got down I was with all familiar faces, Bladegirl (Karen) and Bladeguy(Mike) with Windy, Seeker (Brenda) and RiderSteve, and Telemark (Dave). I realized at that point that my foot still felt fine and decided I would join them on there tour. We dropped down into an untouched Oakes Gulf, I went as far as the first spruce choke and then skinned back up.
Next we traversed over to the upper part of Ammonusuc Ravine, Brenda and Dave continued on to the summit, and I lapped the snow field with steve, before skinning back up to the Hut where we met up with the BladePeeps again.Afew shots:
Dave getting freshies in Oakes
Steve in Oakes:
Skinning above Ammo
Mike on the Snowfield
A little POV I shot following Steve
Little vid of Windy and Bladegirl
From Lake in the clouds we made a hard left and skiied through the spruce tops over to Monroe Brook Steve and Mike dropped in the Gully and Karen and I dropped down an untraked slide path just to the right of the gully. It was pretty plush.
Abut half way down MB we dropped back into the gully and rejoined the party
The gully was a little bumpy from some of the wet sluffing after last weeks wet storm, but the soft snow made it much better. We reconnected with the Ammonusuc Ravine trail, and rode it back to the cars. My bandage worked great my foot was still fine after the tour, now my only ailment is sunburn.
The rest of my shots from the day:
A few of Dave’s shots I stole from his hikethewhites website:
The second shot was taken from the lake in the clouds col, I was descending from near the top of Monroe
Vid by Karen: