We received about 15 inches of snow from the Blizzard on Tuesday. Wednesday morning I ventured out solo into the local backcountry. I brought both my AT skis and my splitboard, but I decided to splitboard because the consistency of the snow seemed to be more how I like it for snowboarding. I Made 2 summit to road runs one on the Chat Noir side of the mountain and one down the Son of Guido Trail. The top 100 vertical feet of the mountain tended to be a little scratchy due to having less base and the high winds carried a lot of the snow away. In the Hemlocks it was only about 6 inches deep in spots. But lower on the mountain conditions were epic. Knee deep Dry Powder made for some of the best turns I’ve made in a while. After 2 runs I went home grabbed some food and then headed back up the hill again with Jeremy. Jeremy used my Icelantic Nomads and we hit up the other side of the mountain for 2 more runs. Here’s some pics of conditions. I’ll try to add some video later.
The wind had its way with the snow up high making for thin cover in spots
Saturday Jeremy and I headed up Mt Monadnock. Trail conditions were much different than they were a few weeks ago when I was up here. Most of the snow was melted and the trails had a lot of water ice on them.
We decided to take the long way up and stop at Café Pumpelly for breakfast. When we first got there a party was just leaving. I had brought some supplies to make cooking our breakfast a little more homey.
After extinguishing our fire and doing a little maintenance we headed back to the trail and toward the summit.
Many sections of trail on the ridge looked like this:
We both had microspikes on but as we hiked I was noticing Jeremy’s with only about 20 miles on them were getting much better traction than mine which have about 700 miles on them now. I had just been bragging about how long mine were lasting with no issues, but after today I realized I should start to think about updating mine. I really can’t complain though, pound for pound and dollar for dollar my microspikes are probably the most useful piece of gear I own, and I own a lot of gear.
After making our way across the ridge we arrived at a pretty busy and windy summit. We spent most of our time on the summit hiding from the wind. This was officially my 80th Mt Monadnock Summit.
We Descended the White Dot Trail back to the State Park. I fell once on the way down and and hit my elbow pretty hard on the ice, it’s still bruised and hurts but it should be fine. Back at our vehicle we headed over to Harlows in Peterborough for some Pub fare.
Conditions right now are really pretty perfect for putting down some really fast times in the Whites. After the Christmas Eve rain storm and refreeze, the trails that had snowshoe tracks are like firm side walks. I was able to make really good time up the Kinsman’s Friday. Even though this is actually my 4th time on these peak and don’t need them for any list except my December Grid I thought it might be fun to take a walk up there on Friday because Clif had invited me to stay up at the shelter that evening, I couldn’t stay overnight due to some prior engagements but I thought it would be nice to stop in and see him . I left the parking area at Lafayette Place at 8am and was at Lonesome Lake at 8:45 I stopped at the hut and signed in.
The hut guy ( I refuse to ever call them croo) said he had come down the Fishin Jimmy a couple days earlier in the rain and some of the river crossings were a little sketchy from the rain. I thanked him for the heads up and headed up the Fishin Jimmy Trail. Apparently I was the first one on this trail since the rains because there were no other tracks ahead of me. In fact there were no tracks all the way out and back to the summits until I met up with a couple of guys ascending half way back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail. I think it always makes it a little more fun when you know your that far out and all alone. I could see evidence of the blown-out stream crossings but they were no longer a hazard. Only the glaze from water ice on the boulders made them treacherous now.
I hit the top of of S. Kinsman at 10:30. From the look out you could see the cloud ceiling was dropping, I watched as the clear line of clouds slowly descended over the Franconia ridge.
As I headed off to South peak the clouds had engulfed the Kinsman Ridge and I was in a pretty good squall. Having dressed a little lighter than normal for winter hiking due to the mild forecast, I kind of had to make quick work of getting to the south summit and back to keep from getting too cold from the stiff wind and white-out conditions. When I returned to Kinsman Pond I walked out to the shelter to see if my friends were there yet. They weren’t.
Kinsman Pond Shelter (yes, that brown spot in front of it is human poop… who are these people?)
Frozen Kinsman Pond
I headed back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail making as fast of a pace as possible with out being to careless on some of the steep icy sections. I was kind of pushing the limits of my microspikes at a few points. About halfway down I met a party of 2 who were the first people I had seen since leaving Lonesome Lake. 10 minutes later I ran into Clif on his way up at 12:00 near the big stream crossing. It was nice to say hi and chat for a bit.
By the time I got back to Lonesome Lake it was nearly 40 and sunny.
The nice weather had brought out the masses. It was good to see so many families enjoying the outdoors together heading up the Lonesome Lake trail. The scene was a sharp contrast from the squall I had been in just an hour ago. I got back to my car at 12:45. I was pretty happy with my time of 4:45 out and back to the Kinsman’s but the real reason I was rushing was my parents were coming to visit their grandson at 2:30. I got back home to Goffstown just in time.
After a stressful week it was time to return to my true identity as a hiker/climber/ backcountry skier, we received 10 inches of snow on Thanksgiving Day and the mountains were calling. Most of the snow was still caught up in the trees of our local backcountry, so skiing wasn’t the best option. I headed over to Mount Monadnock and enjoyed a much needed and absolutely beautiful winter hiking experience.
This was my 79th summit of Mount Monadnock. And several times I have climbed this mountain on Thanksgiving weekend. But this was the most winter I have ever seen here this time of year. The snow was dry the air was cold the sky was blue and the views were great.
Lots of snow for November
Softshell top and bottom and Microspikes with Low Gaters. Good call for today
Neat to see open water on the lake with winter conditions
My obligatory attempt at being artsy with the camera:
I made good time car to car in under 2 1/2 hours and had a splendid hike. Then I stopped in Peterborough and got a coffee at Twelve Pine on my way home that tasted amazing. All in all it was a much needed and great day!
I haven’t posted much lately but not because I haven’t been outdoors. In fact I have been outdoors a bunch, but I have been hunting. I make the assumption that most people who follow my blog are hikers and although hunters do a lot of hiking, most hikers don’t hunt. I consider my self a small “h” hunter, not “A Hunter”. I am very sensitive to animals being mistreated so my family only buys organic humanly raised meat from a local farm. In the words of the Duck Dynasty guys: ” I dont trust meat from the grocery store.” I have recently come to the realization that there is nothing more organic than a wild raised deer, and that no one can be sure that the animal was harvested in a “humane as possible” way as me. So not wanting to be an ignorant carnivore who is disconnected with where my food comes I feel as if I should be able to accept the full consequences of where meat comes from.
I have not got a deer yet, but I have spent some beautiful time in the woods and have come to the realization that hunting and hiking although sharing similar venues have very little in common for me.
The tree stand that I have sat in and watched the squirrels from for hours:
View from the stand
I’m not very good at hunting yet, but I have gotten very good at sitting in the woods until I am nearly hypothermic.
Monday my younger sister Lee came for a visit and we went climbing over at Rattlesnake. Lee led the Dinosaur Route up to the crux and then descended.
I didn’t really want to top rope up to that point, and then lead the rest of the route, so I pulled the rope down and lead climbed up using the protection she left behind.
I climbed past her protection and finished leading the rest of the route. I tied off to the eye bolts at the top and set up a top rope going through both anchors. This set up isn’t optimal because it has a lot of friction, but it saves hiking up later to retrieve gear. After going back on belay I cleaned the route on the way down. Lee made another ascent this time on top rope all the way to the top.
Lee wanted to work on learning how to lead a little more, and a better place to do that was Paul’s wall. So we packed up and headed to Brookline.
Lee was able to practice leading, this time with a much better teacher. Lee lead to the top of the wall. Paul showed her some techniques as well as how to place other anchors using slings.
Then I climbed up to the top of the wall in just my sneakers, and belayed her up. I showed Lee how to repel, and kept her on belay as she repelled down. Then I repelled down.
After training time it was fun time and we went back to sport climbing some of the established routes on the wall. We both found that the 5.8’s on Pauls wall are much harder than what you find at a climbing gym. I’m guessing Paul’s 5.8 equals Vertical Dream’s 5.10.
We both learned a ton climbing with Paul there and it was a fun time at both the real crag and the fake one.
I have wanted to get a group of local friends together for a hike for a while. Originally we were going to hike Monadnock, but Saturdays forecast was for rain in the afternoon. So we scaled it down a little and hiked Pack Monadnock in Greenfield NH instead. There ended up being about 16 of us who went and we were able to get up and down before the rain moved in.
Pack Monadnock was a great choice for a large party with varying abilities, we were all able to hike at our own pace without getting too separated. Maybe Weare Hike 2015 will work out for Monadnock or something more north.
Going up the steep part. (Me with Jake in the Kelty Pack)
I went up the Dublin Trail to the summit for my 78th Mt Monadnock Summit today. The upper 200 feet of elevation was in the clouds. Trail conditions were dry until I reached the clouds. Being alone I enjoyed setting a challenging pace for myself and I made it the 2 1/2 miles from car to summit in 51 minutes. I hung out at the top for about 10 minutes and then made it back to my car 42 minutes later. This way is a great way to go and has about 10% of the traffic that the state park trails have.
Mt Moosilauke with Marky (That rhymes if you pronounce the name of the mountain right)
Saturday’s weather called for clouds and showers, but we were going hiking anyways. My Brother Mark picked me up at 6:30am and we headed up north. I was super excited about going hiking with Mark because we had not been peak bagging together for a long while. When we got to the trailhead for the Beaver Brook Trail it wasn’t raining but the ground was wet and the air was thick as pea soup with fog. We headed up the steep and very slick trail enjoying the views of the cascades
We stopped at the shelter to check it out and no one was around
By the time we got to the ridge the air was feeling much dryer and when we got to tree line the clouds were starting to lift
The thing I love about Moosilauke the most is the grassy meadows at the top
The thing I love least about Moosilauke is the crowds. Everytime I’ve been up here it’s been busy, even in the winter. But at least it was easy to find someone to get a picture of us together
We had some PB&J’s and beef jerky near the top and headed down. The trail had dried out a little for the hike down but the rocks were still very slick. Well selected foot placements were essential for the steep descent. Especially on the wood steps
When we got back to the car it was partly sunny still in the valley and a little cooler. We wanted to hit up a swimming hole, but with both of us having babies now we needed to head home. It was a great hike and a great time being with Mark.
We finally found a life jacket that will fit Jake. Hes 11 months old now and about 25 pounds. so it was tricky finding one that fit well.
Now that he would be safe we went for a paddle. I towed Emily and Jake behind my kayak around Mountain Base Lake
As you can see by the look on his face he wasn’t to sure how he felt about kayaking yet.