The Bad Boy II: Hillman's Horror... or ...

Well, another weekend lost to fun in the snow. The Hancocks on Saturday (see previous post) and Sunday spent the day w/ my friend Brian at Craftsbury Nordic Center for a sunny day on groomed trails. But that's just a prelude to next weekend - the dreaded March 3/4 excursion up Washington. As tMail might say, "I hear it calling my name...". Indeed, from Danville the eastern horizon consists of the Presidentials, The Twins, Garfield, Lafayette and Franconia Ridge, Cannon and Moosilauke. On a clear day like today, all the details are visible and they seem to form little faces, mouthing the words "climb me....climb me...".

So what stands in our way? Nothing but logistics. We have some weather coming through over the next 4 days, enough to define what the weekend plans might be, so we'll leave our options open.

UPDATE 2/26/07: [.... taunting...]

UPDATE 3/1/07: I took out the old pics and replaced them w/ this more relevant one, to remind us what snow looks like. Chances are we'll see some of this white stuff this weekend.

UPDATE 4/3/07: tMail popped his cherry!


Saturday's Mystery Date

Oh where, oh where will we end up on Saturday? Oh where oh where indeed! What are the choices? Why, all the choices in the world. What's been offered so far?

  1. The Hancocks, because of the descent from South Hancock
  2. Sandwich Dome (up Drake's Brook, out to Black Mtn, back via Sandwich Mtn Trail... or was it the other way around?)
  3. What about an x-c trek through Zealand Notch out to Thoreau Falls and back? tMail, I know you have experience=zero with the x-c thing, but with your arm strength you'd have it figured out in no time. The trail is almost completely flat. It's gentle uphill on the way in - a great way to get the hang of the skis. You'll do FINE! It's all about endurance - the technique will come along naturally. Check it out on the map. Start on Rte 302 in Twin Mountain. At the next right turn we park at the Zealand Campground and ski up the Zealand Rd (not plowed) to the Zealand Trail, to the Ethan Pond Trail. The falls are about 2 miles along the Ethan Pond Tr. at the junction w/ the Thoreau Falls Tr. I've never been to the falls. If we stay to the valley we could do it in light gear.
  4. Do we really need a 4th option?
UPDATE 2/22: The choice has been made: It's the Hancocks!
Meeting Place: The parking area on the ultra-sharp curve of the Kanc on the south side of the road.
Meeting Time: 8am? Still waiting for feedback from hikers.

UPDATE 2/24: See comments for MZ's partial trip report.

UPDATE 3/2: I finally posted my and Tim's pics to the website


Sunday, Feb 11: North Slide Dammit

It looks like the next trip is on the calendar and it's still 3 days away. This is more advanced planning than we normally experience. More on the specifics later, but the plan is clearly to go up the North Slide of North Tripyramid.

Gear of the Day will be crampons or mountaineering snowshoes and an axe.

Trail conditions from Views From The Top describe solid stream crossing, packed snow and crampon conditions on the slide. More on the route conditions as things progress.

[Update: 2/11/07 5:32pm]
The slides were mostly filled in w/ snow. We actually had to work to stay out of the drifts and on top of the rocks/ice/crust as much as possible. We stayed left, crossed right, got into the scrub, back left, and all was golden.

It was a bright sunny day. I'm sure it wasn't above 0F on the slides and the summit - maybe 5F - but we didn't have to put on any shells or masks (no wind) and I was actually bare-handed once we got down off the south slide. We didn't use poles anywhere. We took the ice axes out and packed them at the top of the South Slide.

No big incidents other than being threatened by a bull moose, chased by bears and Timmy had to lower me into a ravine to retrieve his JetBoil after the earthquake subsided.

g-$: I don't know why I sometimes shrug off your advice. You've never steered me wrong. But I guess it seemed too much of a pain to get tMail a pair of skis - or maybe it was because I didn't realize that the trail to the Tri-Loop IS FUCKING GROOMED AND TRACKED!!!!! Jeezus H. F0cking Krist on a popsicle stick! I can't believe we had to walk TWO MILES on GROOMED AND TRACKED TRAIL!

Holy crap. I told Timmy that he's getting fucking skis or he can wear my size 11 boots next time.

Once tMail sends me his pics I'll post 'em on the web.

On a related note, I stopped at Wal~Mart in Littleton on the way back to pick up tissues and colored markers and bought goggles. They had ski goggles with a double lens (polycarbonate front lens), SP400 UV protection and amazing ventilation. The bottom edge of the mask has an open plastic grill under each eye running the length of the lens. Totally open. Along the top, there is also a grill, but there is a very thin foam 'filter' to keep snow out. When I say 'thin', I mean 'thin'. I can read a newspaper through it. It's just sturdy enough to keep out snow and ice but that's it. I got an XL to maximize the surface area (the frame is almost completely out of my peripheral visual field). They cost $19.83. I know it may be wishful thinking, but I have high hopes for these. The worst case scenario is that I now have a third set for backup.

[Update 2/11/07: Pics Are Posted Here]