Eisenhower & Pierce the Fun Way

Dogman, tMail, Jake, Spanky, Trudy & I tackled Eisenhower via Edmands Path.  We had a 2.3 mile walk along the Mt. Clinton Rd. to the trail, which we were able to follow until were in the alpine zone above the deciduous trees (except for a few wayward birches) at which point we just went up.  The trail follows the ridge so it wasn't a problem for route-finding but it did get pretty steep.  Above the trees, still steep, this western approach encounters the large, wind-swept bulge of Eisenhower (Boob Mountain).  The true trail avoids some of this by veering north around the bulge, following the countours to the Crawford Path.  Without a trail, we just hammered straight east on a beeline to the summit.  Some highlights follow ...

Mutha's Trip Report (pics here):
  • The snow was an extraordinary texture.  I thought of it as 'butter cream frosting':  yielding but firm.  The only postholes were spruce traps or horizontal, submerged trunks.  Snowshoes were the gear du jour.
  • The wind-sculpted drifts along the ridge were beautiful.  The entire ridge between the summits was entirely navigable on or off trail.  We stayed to the trial more-or-less but it didn't really matter.  The snow was deep and strong.  Even the dogs weren't postholing except in a few soft drifts but no real struggling.  Jake actually was able to stay completely on top of the windslab in places where tMail & Dogman (in crampons) were knee deep.  I kept my MSRs on and probably had an easier time, but not by much.  This was not like the Bamforth Ridge adventure of 2010 or whenever that was.
  • At a mere 7 hours it's clear that this route, or variations of it, will offer some prime adventure.  I'd like to try tMail's original plan of tackling the Abenaki Ravine.  We had that on our Plan A but never really made the push off the trail until we were pretty high up and at that point had kind of let the injection point pass by.
  • The summit of Pierce really wowed me.  I kept repeating "no f**king cairn!"  We all know that little grove up there - a 20ft diameter clearing with a 5ft cairn and trees about 8-10ft tall.  There was almost no sign of any of these.  We wandered around on the beautiful snow among little knee-high conifer tops here and there.  We found an area of the right size, in roughly the right place that had nothing green sticking out of it but certainly no cairn.  It was like being on a bare mountain top like Eisenhower.  
  • Interestingly, the high point was south of the cairn by about 30ft - a Winter High Point!
  • The descent off Pierce was a luge run.  For much of it the snowpack was a good 4ft above the packed trail.  We looked down some postholes off to the side (only spruce traps and over streams).  A few appeared to be over 5ft deep give an easy 8 - 10' of snow on Pierce's west flank.  It would be worth bringing a cargo sled up and rocketing down that thing as long as nobody was coming up it.  The sled might be too dangerous, but something sled-like other than gortex pants.
  • I think this was the first time I found myself thinking that I really like Pierce.  It's definitely a spring mountain.

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