Jefferson and Adams, buh bye, you bitches

Well, we missed you guys. I'll let the PM weigh in on this, but I was really impressed by this day out. Sunny skies, winds dropping from 80mph down to the low 40's, temps rising from 0 to 10 degrees (3F at the car when we got back at around 6:30pm). We dragged our asses up and over the Cornice on the Castle Trail - a rocky cliff thing that would've made any sensible man turn back. The worst winds were on Adams.

We'll post pics and movies and such as soon as possible - I'm going to wait for the PM's pics to generate the website, but I'll tell you, there are a few beauties. We changed our exit strategy and took Lowe's path down in order to get into the trees by dark (the pic shown here is at sunset, 5:19pm, still above treeline on the Lowe's Path). It meant 9/10 mile trudge along/through a marsh and across a beaver dam to get back to the cars, but we made it.

We were above treeline for about 6 hours and every minute was a delight (except for the damage to our gear). I bent a pole and wore out my crampons (the holes in the hinge that the spring pin sits in). The PM busted a pole, busted a crampon, and busted a shoulder strap on his pack. Luckily we had duct tape, laces and straps so we got him fastened back together. I didn't eat my PB&J sandwich. It's now in the fridge.

More details to come.


Pierce and Eisenhower: Buh Bye


Low visibility on ridge, Eisenhower was pretty hard to navigate. Almost felt like I shouldn't do that alone. Did it anyway.

Pics/Movies coming soon. Gosh, get the popcorn!

[Update 12/27: pics posted. Click on title or here]
[Update 12/28: movied posted. Click here. ]


Schedule for the Last 5 Days of 2006

tomorrow i'm hitting eisenhower/pierce with snow showers and dropping temperatures. I may take Crawford Path north hitting Pierce, then Eisenhower. If the weather is bad and I don't like the exposure, I'll head down the Edmands Path and trudge the weary "Clinton Road" back to 302. It's only two miles or so and I'd rather trudge that at night than have to deal with wind/snow. Friday, after the cold front moves through on Thursday, it'll be either adams, jefferson or adams & jefferson depending on weather, wind, etc.

if friday ends up being just one of the adams/jefferson pair, then saturday is the other.

if friday and saturday go according to plan, sunday is tecumseh.

so here it is:

  • wed: eisenhower/pierce
  • thu: day off
  • fri: adams and/or jefferson
  • sat: rest or adams or jefferson
  • sun: tecumseh

if this plan works out, i'm getting so wasted on new year's eve i won't be able to talk for two days.

if this plan doesn't work out then i'll fill in the missing summits during january, but still drink a lot on new year's eve.

if anybody plans on coming along on Friday for Adams (and maybe Jefferson) I'd like to hit the trail REAL early in case it's a possibility of doing both. at the latest, 7am start - if nobody else goes, i'll probably shoot for a 5:30/6am start.


Hancock Pictures

Not that anyone was feeling like they couldn't survive w/out these pics, but to somehow justify having this blog I felt like I need to post something new.

This pic was from Mt. Hancock (north peak) looking south toward I don't know what (I don't think those are the Osceolas in the distance).

Anyway, the weather was a combination of sun and clouds and snow and wind all together.


Mt. Madison Is Trying To Kill Us

tMail and I have been in the shit and back. holy freakin' christallmighty, and I mean that in the best way possible.

So, we decided to hit Madison today, and if possible Adams ... and if things were REALLY good, Jefferson. We knew that wasn't likely, but that was the plan, including 5 or so bail-out points. Anyway, the forecast was for high winds, pretty cool temps and clear skies.
So we headed up Valley Way to the hut, hit the summit of Madison, back down and everything is cool. But ....

Holy fucking shit. That was the most CRAZY experience I have ever had in my life. The wind was ROARING at least 80mph, gusting higher. See the attached snapshot from the Mt. Washington Observatory. The vertical white lines are 30min apart. We were at the hut at about 11am and back from the summit by 12:30. That was right at the peak wind speeds. You all know how rocky those summits are. We were getting banged around, thrown against boulders and at times, crawling on our hands and knees just to keep from getting thrown. Once I got tipped backward, and as I stepped backward to catch myself, the momentum was enough to almost send me into space. We quickly mastered the technique of 4-wheeling like little spiders, and dropping fast when the gusts threatened to pick you up and smash you against a rock. It was a goddamn unrelenting freight train. At one point, I pulled myself headfirst over a little ledge into a hollow that was funneling enormous winds. tMail pulled himself in behind me. We tried to communicate by pressing our heads together and screaming but it was nearly impossible to hear. We stowed our poles in a hole in some rocks and for a few seconds just sat there, almost pinned to the rocks. I remember thinking "holy fucking shit, I'm not sure I can make any forward motion...". It was like being caught in a fast river current, holding onto a tree-trunk and knowing that if you let go, you're fucked. That was so cool.

As tMail put it, if it weren't for the fact that our goggles were wet and/or frozen, it would've been perfect.
Oh yeh, and I'm all banged up. And we didn't bother w/ Adams - but no spray bottles for us. That mountain tried to kill us. Pics to be posted later tonight.


Hiking Plans Between Now and New Years' Eve

For any of you looking for high adventure, i'm planning on at least 5 major hikes between now and new years' eve. Consider them training for winter adventure - or just early winter adventure in and of themselves. Anyway, if anybody has any mid-week time available and is looking for some White Mountain fun, these next two weeks will be loaded with motivation.

Why such high energy and adventure? Well, blame it all on g-$$$. Yes, it's true. He got me counting my WMNF summits and yesterday on the drive to meet the Puppet Master for the Tripyramids I realized that as of today (Sunday, 12/17), even though my 48's list goes back to 2004, I've done/redone almost all 48 in 2006. Two more hikes (The Hancocks and Tecumseh) finish my 48's, but two further hikes (4 total) will hit all 48 this calendar year. I have a little leeway in that I have until February 4th (when we did the Osceolas) to claim 48 summits in 12 months but I'm going to take a crack at doing this by New Year's, hitting all 48 in 11 months in one calendar year.... weather permitting.

So what's left on the list? Here they are in no particular order:

  • Eisenhower/Pierce. This two-banger up-and-down of the southern presi range has some long exposure but not at the altitude of the high Presi's - and it has views, no deadly ascending and moderate distance. Probable route: Edmand's Path up, Crawford Path to Pierce - return same route if one car, if two cars, Crawford Path all the way down. (9.5mi., 3350').
  • Hancocks. I know, this hike is best done w/ heavy snow cover for the mile-long glissade - and I plan on doing them later in the winter - but I'm going to hit them in the next two weeks. I figure if I could manage the North Slide I can manage the Hancock Loop trail. (9.8 mi., 2650')
  • Tecumseh. I know, g-$$$, we have a plan to make this the big 48. But you're the one that got me counting so I'll gladly go back for the ceremony in the summer and raise a glass to you .. (if you want to come along on this one we can do the ceremonial hike in the summer again!).
  • TBO (The Big One) ... or Two...or Three: Madison/Adams/Jefferson. Because of the extreme conditions, it's not clear that it's likely to be able to hit all three in one hike at this time of year. And if there's a kink in the plans, it will happen on these summits. All of us have had to turn back at least once on an ascent of the high Presi's and I'm not about to die for this. The plan is to take a standard one-car route, like Valley Way, Hit Madison if possible, and then do a reality check. Hit Adams, if possible. Then hit Jefferson, which is the least likely to get tagged. If I can only hit one or two, the plan will be to go back again before Jan 1. (14mi, 5850').
So the bottom line is that I'm going to do these by the higher-summits forecast, starting next Tuesday (12/19). Crappy-ish weather and high winds means Hancocks or Tecumseh. Nice weather means the southern or northern Presi's. Decisions will be last-minute and any day is a possible day.

Oh yeh, and I'm also planning on doing the Bamforth Ridge soul-crusher on the 23rd. Even though g-$$$ is to blame for forcing me at crampon-point to count my peaks, it's not enough of an obsession to miss out on the #$%@#$$&forth!!


Tripyramid Trip Report: Separated By Bears

Will post detailed drama shortly.... Has anyone heard from the Puppet Master???

[Update 9:30pm] - PM is safe and sound. Here's the story: uneventful hike until 1/3 the way up the north slide. PM and I got separated taking different routes up the ice. Crampons were the gear-du-jour. Encountered aggressive black bears (several). I headed left into drainage feature, lost track of PM. Last shouted instructions were: meet back at car. I left pack w/ bears, attracted to sardines. No food, no water. Going was slow. Picked up trail higher up, full belly crawl even w/ crampons (ice was about an inch thick. Used rope tied to axe to snag objects - caught axe like boomerang when it missed. One misjudged catch, axe bounced caused blade to cut back of thigh. Didn't lose much blood - not deep into artery. Thoroughly dramatic day. Got back to car, no PM. Waiting 2 hours, no PM. Drove back home. Checked v-hole: no sand. PM will tell his story when he regains consciousness. (Click Title of this post to go to photos of trip.)


Mount Tripyramid(s)?

Well, the PM has suggested it, and I'll go along with the idea because I'm a follower. We've got rain and ice in the forecast, so that's a good sign. If there are tigers with knives and warrior trolls with poisoned arrows it may spice things up. So what's the deal, PM? Saturday?


Holy Crap: rebuilt once again

If I have to keep rebuilding this fucking blog i'm going to shoot the dog.