All Quiet on the Eastern Front (January Edition)

 Well, not much going on these days and I have to admit I'm pretty annoyed by the current status of my damned physiology.  I damaged myself so bad on that dang Moriah trek that it'll be weeks before I can hike.  Well, MadDog was out for a bit due to injury (and more to come?), tMail was out due to injury/surgery, g-$$$ was out due to injury/surgery, now I'm out.  Dang, that part sucks.

And tMail is emailing me links to detailed descriptions of Hellgate and Redrock bushwacks.  Dang!


Lincoln's Backbone Bushwack

Post trip reports in comments.  I'll promote them to this main story.  Just drank many beers and watched movie and am going to crash.  Will get everything typed up in the morning....

g-$$$'s Trip Report:  Another Spungie Day for the record books.  What else is there to be said......
  • PM/Maddog....you were missed for sure!!!!
  • Tmail....trail breaker, project manager extraordinaire
  • Muthaz....how much do you charge for your guided tours.....knew the route like the bank of Spungie's hand
  • Wildman....Mr Ready and Steady....new nickname may need to be Hoover since no gear is left behind
  • Buddy Boy Bro....F'in A...2 weeks removed from gall bladder surgery....holy WTF...what a rockstar!!!!
  • Dogman....welcome to Franconia Ridge
  • Rainman....nice to meet you...were we running late for Wapner?  you flew down the mountain like a man possessed
  • And Last But Not Least....Spungie......Even though you hate descending you still kick ass.....the only thing better would be.....my....oh never mind.
  • Will try and convert the GPS track later but see you all again on Spungie Day 2011 (or the Bad Boy or Katadhin)!
Mutha's Trip Report (Pics Here):  Holy crap, what clear air, what a great group, what an awesome route and what a fun day.  Temps in the woods probably around 15-20°, winds non-existent in the trees, light on the summit, maybe gusting up toe 20?  Hard to say.  Some key moments stuck in my mind:
  • Clear Air:  We could see details on Mansfield, Jay, Killington.  I really don't think I've had such good visibility out there.
  • At the turnoff point from the trail, looking up into the woods.  Everyone standing around saying "What the f***?  Up there?" and in less than a heartbeat, Spungie is on the move like a moose in mating season, charging up that mountain.
  • The tangles on the bushwack required full-body assault on the situation - pulling on branches, ducking, pulling feet out of traps and lifting uphill while pulling poles out of snags and unhooking pack caught on a branch...all while being whipped and stabbed.
  • What the hell was with the hyperactive chick on the summit who took our group photo?  She must've dragged her poor husband up that freaking mountain and would've give me my damned camera back!
  • tMail and Spungie hammering on that mountain, busting through the trees.
  • Getting out of treeline and scrambling over the boulders.  Rainman, tMail and Spungie firing up the rock crevice.
  • Wildman has no fear and very likely has no anxiety over near-death experiences, being lost in the forest or being eaten by bears.  What is this guy made of?
  • g-$$$, while insisting on the caboose position, hammered out the miles and the nearly impossible terrain with a bum shoulder and loser hiking buddies.  No war whoops, never slower, never faster like a damned machine.  I tried to get away, but he JUST KEPT ON COMING!
  • Buddy Boy Bro:  two weeks ago he had his gall bladder out and he's doing this?!?  Does his doctor know?  He's probably thinking hell, when Buddy Boy comes back for new stitches I can afford another car.  No phone, no business calls and no drained batteries.  A Manimal!
  • DogMan - The newbie goes out in STYLE, managing gear, perspiration, snow, etc. like a pro.
  • Rainman - good to have you with us.  What, you're climbing up this crack in the rock?  Woah, FEARLESS!  (Should have know, he's a buddy of Spungie's).
  • tMail - like hiking with the terminator.  Great route finding skills.
  • Spungie - I haven't seen the power s**t but I'm not betting against it.  But man, Spungie, what the hell did you eat?!?  Whatever it was, it was Spungie, the Human Freight Train!  IT'S SPUNGIE DAY!
tMail's Trip Report (Coming soon) (Pics Here):The Backbone/Spine what ever you want to call it was a bush whacking success on multiple levels.
  • We took an excellent route and communicated magnificently with each other during the ascent.
  • Some highlights from the trip!
  • Spungie going straight up the bone and dismantling a tree and using it as a hiking pole. It was bigger than me.
  • The lady asking us how much time does it take off?
  • Her husband saying that they were going out for three days? Doing the ridge?
  • The trudge breaking trees, breaking through trees, standing on trees, getting stuck in trees.
  • Getting poked in the throat by razor sharp branches.
  • Seeing blood running down Wildman and Spungie s face.
  • Not hearing any war whoops.
  • The amount of gear, axes, snowshoes, poles, microspikes, goggles, crampons.
  • The purple barney facemask!
  • The girl that molested all of us basically making her husband feel like a bum!  "You guys bushwhacked that is awesome" "I want to take your picture, like 15 of them"
  • The sense that Camels Hump, Mansfield, Jay Peak were all reachable if Spungie wanted to piss on them.
  • Dogman first time on "the ridge"
  • Rainman welcome to the club!
  • Buddy Boy Bro internally bleeding and still tags both summits.
  • Mutha leading the squad above treeline on the bone and his masterful crampon/axe technique.
  • Mutha saying "give me my camera back or I will wrestle you to the ground"
  • The lady that stunk like ass.
Awesome day boyz!


Zombie Holocaust: The Post-Apocalyptic Scenario

Not sure if everyone is following the progress of the approaching storm for Sunday/Monday but I'm eagerly awaiting the MWO's weather discussion in the next day or two.  It looks like the Bad Boy is going to get soaked in sleet, freezing rain and rain.  When this freezes up, our BadBoy trip could be totally awesome.

In the meantime, the melting snowpack will lead to raging rivers around here.  On the one hand, it just be a January thaw and a cold, rainy day.  On the other, it be a post-apocalyptic scenario on Tuesday w/ ice jams, flooding and people eating each other for food and the zombie army marching erratically from the state capital.


MLK Adventures

So far, not too much chatter on the mountain channel. tMail's got something plotted for Sunday (Webster & Jackson) and I've got something in the works for MLK day, but no specifics yet. The elusive Dr. Targan has pinged me for a possible Monday adventure, but we'll see. Not sure he really exists.

If I go solo Monday, will probably bang out Moriah just to get that bastard out of the way. It'll be a long day if anyone is thinking of going. It doesn't look like it's be a bright clear day either.

I may also try to get DogMan out for a Franconia Ridge loop Monday. I haven't mentioned it to him yet. Am about to drop the hint.

[Update 1/19/2010]
The PM:  Mount WTF?  Squam something? (Pics Here)
tMail:  Webster & Jackson w/ Agent 007 (Pics Here)
mutha:  Moriah (Pics Here)

Mutha's trip report:
Aside from the usual "Oooh, winter wonderland..." stuff, I need to record the following for future reference:  Going up the Carter-Moriah trail from Gorham includes crossing over some bare ledge where finding the trail on the opposite side can be difficult in deep snow.

Basically, there are 4 cleared areas of exposed ledge.  the first is pretty small.  the other three are significant.  the following is the perspective of somebody ascending toward Mt. Surprise.

Clearing #1:  go straight across it the way the trail seems to lead.

Clearings #2, #3, #4:  the trail runs across the right-hand side.  Stay along the treeline on the right.  All the clearings tilt down towards the valley. Hikers should stay on the downhill edge - do not go to the highest side of the clearing (the natural instinct).  In the fresh snow, if i hadn't been able to just make out the packed out trail, it is NOT AT ALL obvious which way to go.  everything looks like a logical choice for the trail.

One of them, i think it's #3, you scramble up a really steep approach to the clearing heading almost east.  As soon as you top out of the approach (but still below the high part of the clearing), turn to the right (south) and the entrance to the trees will be straight ahead (not visible until you get close).  Again, the trick is just to stay to the right, along the right side of the clearings, along the treeline.

i wouldn't want to have to find my way to Moriah after a huge winter storm.  Between Surprise and Moriah the trail winds back and forth and there are a lot of open routes through the trees.  If you use the rule:  stay on the highest part of the ridge, cheating to the west side of the ridge where possible, you'll eventually find the trail...but it could get rough.  The summit of surprise has some gnarly ravine-like spots.  No chance of injury, it's just really rugged going if you get off-trail.


Of Hookers & Bondsmen

tMail, g-$$$ and MadDog tackled the Bondcliff on skis and snowshoes. Mutha, DogMan, Spanky & Trudy tackle Hooker Mountain (both summits) by bushwack.

tMail's Trip Report (pics here): The potential line up was…Wildman, Spungie, Mutha, DogMan, MadDog, G$$$, Tmail, PM, and Denali Dave. PM had an Uhaul conflict with a buddy, Widlman got a dog, Mutha, Spungie spoke early from the heart and Mutha had to handle last minute thing. Denali Dave exists via email has been seen once by Mutha, could have been in the parking lot I’m not sure we didn’t wait for him.

So then there was 3, G$$$, MadDog and Tmail. We stuck with the plan headed toward Bondcliff for the January Bondcliff Expedition 2010. Gear and more gear was the word of the day….G$$$ and I took our expedition boots with us and MadDog went with his new Alpina all day and all night.

The LWT and WT rocked and there is no other way to do it than to ski it. As a side note the Owls Head (Black Pond) is packed beyond packed if anyone wants to head out there. The ski in was awesome and our transition to snowshoes and mountaineering boots was fast. Note to those that want to do these types of adventures take your boots with you and leave your ski boots attached to the ski and just leave them leaned against a tree. In the course of the day warming may occur and you don’t want them to fall over if just stuck in the snow we didn’t have any issues.

The trip up Bondcliff was solid packed out but some sections had soft snow and there was a little sinkage. I should add the war whoops were heard and G$$$ is made of titanium and earned hiker and skier of the day award. The best part is everyone made it to the summit to Bondcliff and it was well worth the effort for everyone! It was absolutely awesome being on Bondcliff in January.

MadDog and G$$$ got there pictures taken on the summit and then we all departed. MadDog lost his fingers from Bondcliff all the way to the car. The 2nd transition was eventful. I started to plan what I could do with my gloves on and decided to do that first. The last thing I did was put the left ski on the left side and right ski on my right side. I was able to untie both Koflach boots with gloves on then took gloves off and immediately transferred feet to ski boots tied them and gloves back on.

MadDog was running up and down the trail screaming and trying to generate heat his hands ice blocks. G$$$ was reattaching his shoulder and arm to his body. I immediately pulled out 4 chem warmers for MadDog and we dropped them in his mittens. I also helped MadDog put on his pack he lost all finger strength and we discussed how people die in the wilderness and how he felt like he had no hands. We also had binding issues Triple NNN iced up. I had to get my ACL Brace scrapper out and use twigs to de-ice. I restored to smashing, banging and kicking it. MadDog was tempted to walk out but we finally got it to stick. It finally worked after about 15 minutes at which points MadDog lost his hands more and mine went as well. I quickly changed to my mittens and gained them back. G$$$ was blazing trail his headlamp failing so we put G$$$ in the back and he followed MadDog and I. It felt like the Iditarod as we mushed through the woods. We had major tree issues. MadDog got stuck under a tree I had to give him my pole start skiing and G$$$ pushed him up from behind. As we popped him up he smashed his head on the downed tree.

We had lots of man love and the adrenaline was running high when we finished we all changed in the bathroom. MadDog was so excited he drove with his ski boots on. DD should be blown up, McDonalds should be torched. We ended up off of 293 South at Red Stone Pizza with my new friend Whitney! The pizza placed closed at 10 we got there around 9.40pm. I asked Whitney if we could eat there she said she was leaving at 10pm. Whitney ended up cleaning all the tables then MadDog and I saw her walking to DD. Ask for Whitney next time there tell her Tmail sent you.

We need to get more of these adventures going, there is lots of gear usage and requirements and pack preparation. We had lots of fun!

G$$$ and MadDog great job!
g-$$$'s Trail Report: epic indeed.

x-c ski adventure - check
cold gear test - check
winter bondcliff summit - check
f'in bondcliff views - check
sporting MSR Lighning Ascents - check
g-$$$ war whoop - check x 5
shoulder health check - marginal
fitness reality check - fail

notes and lessons learned:
For the loved ones, leave plenty of pad on the return time. No need to get everyone worried or launch a rescue when we're just running late.
Classic Lisa's message to me, unless it's an emergency don't call because I'm gonna be watching a movie.
For tmail: don't tell your mom what you're doing so you won't get yelled at...the line is mom, I'm going to bible study for 10 hours in the whites
Lincoln SUCKS. DD closing at 8PM so 8:00:15 is way too late.
Lincoln SUCKS...mcd's coffee..they may use green coffee roasters beanage but they must use sewage runoff from loon mountain to brew because that coffee tasted like the worst shit I ever had in a cup....the only reason why i drank it was because we just busted hump for 10 hours in single digit temps.
It must be a VT Honda dealer thing that cars be old standard with a broken headlight and tap water in the wiper fluid reservoir
I should never have questioned maddogs idea of bringing a helmet after seeing him go ass over teakettle on the overhead blowdowns
Word to the lazy...replace the headlamp batteries before you head out in the cold.
Skis and bindings dipped in creeks or snow = icing + jammed bindings.
Maddog must love his x-c boots, after wearing them all day including all the way to the pizza joint in manchester.
Masshole Justice is seeing a tailgaiting bumper surfer get pulled over by the staties just a few miles up 93.
NH gov't badly needs money because the staties were out in force; 11 was my count all day.
Don't use the side of your separated shoulder to break your fall
I am incredibly out of shape.
Whitney rolls some awesome meatballs!

Once again thanks Maddog and Tmail for being patient and keeping me motivated when I was fighting my Bondcliff demons! As usual the conversation and the company was first class. We're gonna knock off a Winter 3 Bonds one of these days.

Until then Spungie Day here we come!!!!!

MadDog's Trip Report: great job g-$ and tmail. thanks for the adventure.

g-$$$ is THE man. he gets it done, no matter what - tough as nails.

tmail is the Finger man (no, not the middle).

leading into the BC switchbacks on the ascent, g-$ graciously tells me to pass and join tmail at the front. good god. with no one else around, i'm left to pace the holbrook stallion. what an animal.

as tmail mentioned from the summit point (i.e., for the next 4+ hours) my digits were gone and one point totally shot, to the point of no feeling, no movement. it was the first time i experienced having stumps at the end of my arms. i can clearly see now how the death spiral evolves from that stage. it's a demon i need to continue to chase.

glad all are safe.

ps. what is it with boston drivers, i had keep swerving out of my travel lane, and then jump back.
DogMan's Trip Report (pics here):
Solid snow shoe trek with Spanky and Trudy. Great little climb and ridge, good scouting around for the ultimate "backcountry glade", bushwhack against sunset, followed by a nice boot jog to avoid darkness, search posse.

Mutha's Trip Report:
DogMan's back yard: Wild, deep, steep, cliffy, woodsy, glade-y and hey, it's getting dark. Anybody bring headlamps? No? Ummmm....


Next Adventure on 1/9 or 1/10: BC Skiing?

MadDog proposed a ski day, perhaps one of the following:

  • ski into/outfrom owl's head
  • ski into/outfrom bondcliff (and climb bondcliff, leaving skis behind)
  • ski into lincoln's throat drainage, ski around
  • some other backcountry adventure
I'm not opposed to this but Vermont's got a lot more snow cover than in the lower elevations of the Whites and I'm not confident that blowdowns/stumps are well covered yet. Anybody know?


Caledonia County Backcountry

Dogman, Maddog, Ed (Elaine), Spanky and I cranked around the outer regions of my block and put 3+ hours on Maddog's new Rossi's. The snow was deep, soft and slow in the drifts. I actually dropped off a steep hillside off a pillow of blown snow bulging out and cranked to a stop. From above, it looked like a scene out of "Steep". Regrettably, it turned into a scene from Mister Rogers ("Can you say 'boring'?"). But the hours of breaking trail took their toll and we were forced to eat two homemade pizzas then Ed and I soaked in the hottub.

Nappy Nappy time ...