Pierce, Eisenhower, Monroe

Date:  11/17/2012
Team:  tmail, dogman, trudy, spanky, chris, mark, g-$$$
Route:  Crawford Path out and back
Time:  7.5 hours
Conditions:  No snow, but a lot of ice on the trails.  Microspikes would've been helpful.  The ice was extensive on the entire ascent to Pierce and in the saddle between Pierce and Eisenhower.  After that, no issues.

photos here:


Date:  11/10/2012
Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky & me
Route:  Franconia Ridge Loop (counter-clockwise)
Conditions:  Up to a foot of fresh snow on the ridge, no traction needed anywhere except on the descent below Greenleaf Hut - wore microspikes.

Photos here.


Franconia Ridge Lafayette & Lincoln

October 13
Me and Spanky
photos here


Mt. Washington

Checkin' 'em off the list.  October 6 w/ Dogman.


Franconia Ridge Loop

little haystack:  1:09
lafayette:  1:37
parking lot:  2:51

team:  dogman, trudy, chris & margaret


Pemi Speed Loop

Date:  9/1
Route:  Counter-Clockwise from the campground on the Kanc
Time:  11:20

  • 00:00  Start
  • 02:15  Bondcliff
  • 02:40  Bond
  • 04:00  South Twin
  • 06:00 Garfield
  • 07:45 Lafayette
  • 11:20 End
This was 25 minutes slower than my PR of 10:55.

At the same time, John was running in the opposite direction targeting 8hrs.  We crossed between Galehead and Garfield.

Also at the same time, tMail was running counter-clockwise.  He hit 8:30 and passed me on the summit of Liberty Springs.


Mt. Washington Speed Climb

Mission:  I tried to (and did) break my speed ascent record.  The descent was casual.
Date:  8/24/2012
Route:  Pinkham Notch to Summit via Tuckerman Ravine Trail.

Distance:  4.2 miles
Elev Gain:  4250


Elev (ft) vs. Time (min) - Green line is average ascent rate

  • To Caretaker Cabin:  0:40
  • To Base of Waterfall:  0:55
  • To Auto Road:  1:30
  • To Summit Sign:  1:33 
  • For 1st 40 minutes = 854 m/hr
  • For last 53 minutes = 808 m/hr
  • Overall = 828 m/hr (45 ft/min)

Pictures:  Here


Franc Ridge Loop w/ Spanky

4 hours including lunch, stops, snacks, swimming.
pics here:


Franc Ridge Loop w/ tMail & MadDog

4.5 hr loop due to sprained ankle and maddog's bum knee.  tmail in 2:26.



Crewed tMail in Vermont 100 w/ DogMan, Spungie and Pat "The Irish Rose".  tMail's trip report is here.

My Trip Report:
[This message is subject to the 'What Happens At The VT100 Stays At The VT100' rule of self-censorship, or WHVT100.]

Some Notes:

*  tMail rocked it like a hurricane.  to hit sub-24 he consistently averaged a 22hr pace for the first 55-ish miles, and during the last 45-ish miles barely slowed, averaging faster than a 22:30 pace. he finished the last 2 miles at a 'walk' without sacrificing those stats, but summoned the last of it and ran the finish line like a pro.

*  the low point physically this year was not Tracer Brook (mi 57), but The Spirit of '76 (mi 77).  we made an extended stop for soup/potatoes/etc. and his body said 'oh hey, we're done, right?'

*  the rally:  within an hour out of Spirit of '76 not only did his mojo return, but tMail hit his groove and consistently maintained a 12-13 min/mile pace for long intervals resulting in recovering from a 23hr forecast to a 22.5 based solely on the minutes we put in the bank up to mile 88.  While Spungie had come to meet us a minute or two out of Spirit of '76, we arrived at Bill's (mile 88) early enough to surprise the crew who was busy napping, puttering about and watching a runner bleed from a face-plant-induced open head wound.  the rally continued, arriving at aid stations and the last manned stop (Polly's) ahead of schedule.

*  This year's 4-man crew with last year's event as learning, was like a sort-of decently-oiled machine.  The Irish Rose drove, DogMan navigated and the two never made a single error, taking us to stops, stores, gas, ice-cream, etc. like they were born there (possible exception is getting from Bill's to Polly's, but that was because of the directions.  I wasn't there, but it sounds like carnage, with cars going every which way).  Spungie and I kept the humor and retard-commentary going in the back of the car.  But at the handler stations, with 4 of us with our thinking caps on, we remembered just about everything.  As an example, Pat:  "we're low on water". Spungie:  "we're low on fruit".  Dogman "I'll cut watermelon".  Mutha: "this reminds me of Spungie's Grandmother".

*  Kudos to DogMan for playing Mother Hen.
*  Kudos to The Irish Rose for maintaining an unwavering calm in the face of uncertainty
*  Kudos to Spungie for being focused on tMail's nutritional needs (tracking calories, in this case)
*  Kudos to me for the "What the fuck are doing on my beach?" story.

I paced from Camp 10 Bear last year, and again this year - making it to the finish line w/ our runner this time.  I have a few comments as a newbie pacer for any of you that have not done this before and may do it in the future:

*  'Pacing' is 0.01% physical
*  'Pacing' is 25% being able to estimate speed, know where you are and estimate arrival times at stops, and likely finish times w/ margin of error.
*  'Pacing' is 74.99% mental.  While the goal of the pacer sounds physical ("get your runner across the finish line at all costs"), the demand kicks in when the need is presented and it shows itself like this [Note the WHVT100 rule - so this is just the tip of the iceberg, it's up to me and tMail to remember the details]"
    - after an hour of silence:  "mutha....i don't visit my parents enough..."
    - after an hour of silence:  "mutha....i don't think i'll ever run again..."
    - etc.
*  I blew it a few times when it was my responsibility to keep the shit together:
    - we got passed by a truck on the approach to a fork in the road.  i instinctively followed the truck.  tmail noticed that the route went the other way. goddamn it.
    - on some really long stretches with no turns after dark, the event organizers spaced the chem lights pretty far apart.  when tMail asked "are we on the route? i haven't seen a chem light", I had to crank up to an 8 min pace to find the next light to confirm.  I should've known we were good and on the route.
    - early in our run together tMail asked me the time to the next stop.  i had no idea. i never made that mistake again.  for the next 7 hours i had all arrival times estimated to within 5 minutes of our actual arrival times.
    - i got 2 extra-strength tylenols for tMail and left them in the car.  he asked for them and at the next med stop i forgot to get more because while the crew was attending to his needs, i got busy eating and drinking to meet mine and forgot.  major embarrassment.

My memory of the 30 miles (8 hours) was of only two things:
    - twice tMail's rally nearly left me huffing and puffing in the dust on two major ascents
    - the rest of it was all about the mental game.  as evidence, that was all i chatted about w/ dogman on the way home.  all.  really.

*  As Spungie and I were discussing while crewing, being happy and smiling will elevate your mood and dull pain.  Being angry, depressed or forelorn will cause physical pain to deepen.  The role of the pacer is really to dull physical pain to bring the pace up and cross the finish line, but to stay within the mental focus of the runner.  Don't tell dumbass jokes unless the runner asks for one.  frame all 'problems' expressed by the runner as positive elements within the runner's control. If it requires lying, don't say it.  Find the truth in all positive, uplifting aspects of the subjects that is on the runner's mind.  for example:
    - runner:  "i don't think i'll ever run again ..."
    - pacer:  "that's a great option too.  follow your heart and do what makes you happy.  nobody cares if you run unless you like to run.  take up ballroom dancing or video games.  your family and friends take pleasure in your happiness.  we're just following your lead."

*  This race, as an observer, is a lesson in interpersonal dynamics.  The fascinating variations in relationships and crew/runner dynamics is astounding.  Some examples (no gender bias intended - these are just some specifics):
    - runner wife heaps abuse on miserable husband crew.  she appears to not at all be able to get mind into a good place.
    - runner wife has not clue why husband is even doing this, but is correct in her assessment of how stupid the event is, in a way.
    - runner husband is easy-going, happy guy.  wife is the same but under pressure to support husband.  all is good and they are kind and forgiving to each other
    - family supporting father runner.  father goes out of his way to carry found horseshoe 10 miles to give to his kids at the next stop.  kids thrilled.  hugs.
    - aunt runner is met by little nieces and nephews at Margaritaville station.  screaming, hugs, laughing and shouting.  smiles everywhere.
    - business-only support crew mimics NASCAR pit-stop.  runner in-and-out faster than NASCAR.  lug-nuts everywhere.

*  We thought the temps would drop but we sweated our balls off throughout the race (except for tMail's 'low point' at Spirit of '76 where his body decided to check out momentarily.

*  I drank 2.5 bottles of beer immediately after and had the beer shits when we woke up.  bad move.  next time, hydrate and eat FIRST, then drink
*  Spungie is the greatest guy to hang with while drinking.  I was laughing so hard I was crying, but can't remember what the fuck we were talking about.
*  I brought my own TP and ass-wipes.  smart move.
*  DogMan and I stopped at the Dirty Cowboy Cafe and were astounded by the stupid college students behind the counter.  It was like ordering food at a retard-clinic.

This was a great weekend.  Again, lots of fun and good times had by all.  A shit-ton of laughing and enjoyment punctuated by crazed lunacy and focused support of the runner.  Good to get home.

DogMan's Trip Report:
Thanks TMail. Nice chapter(s) to life. And congrats. Excellent dig. Going forward no fear, only methodical assassination. With a big s* eating grin next time. Watch out!

Very grateful to everyone. Highlights:

1) Mutha was in his story telling  prime. Enough said.
2) Kudos to Mutha for the guidance to the finish. Most excellent. A++.
3) Spungie was in his enthusiasm prime, keeping the energy level and attitude in tune all day.
4) Kudos to Spungie for the calorie calculations.
5) Kudos to Pat for the steady hand on the wheel, and the even keel throughout. Great complement to us all.
6) Thanks to MadDog for schooling me on the meadow dinner at Bill's. We cashed in big on that this year, and Spungie brought it home with the tea and dessert. Was some super fine dining.
7) Watch out for the napping demons at Polly's. We should set an alarm next time, just in case.
8) BadWater
9) Grey shorts
10) Keep smiling
11) What a beautiful yet totally f* up event. I am NEVER f* running 100 miles. Really, eh well maybe unorganized 50K, eh maybe 50M, eh....
12) The hallucinations of lights. Wow that was freaky. Seeing a f* horse where there is none, who knew.
13) I did nothing, yet I am totally f* chucked.

Some lessons learned, mostly personal...

0) It's all about the runner.

1) Manage your anxieties, listen more.

2) We definitely had some minor snafu's, but TMail never saw it, so we get an A. If one were to professionalize crewing would probably consider more semi formal separation of concerns and/or lists so we make objective assessments. You get tired, there is confusion. And anxiety. Having some structure to decision making could only help.

3) One particular example of above would be in assessment, having a pre-determined idea of how to decide to push versus pull. I had a major anxiety attack after the send off at 76 that one of two things was about to happen. Either TMail would rally in about 2 miles and smoke it. Or he would keel over and Mutha would be stuck in the middle of no where with a hypothermic whimpering de-hyrdrated undernourished sack of potatoes needing a warm blanket. It turned out A, but would really suck if it were B and we missed it.

4) Need to cut down the amount of s* being carried around. Some low hanging fruit here.

Cross that f* off the list! Hoorah!



July 15
Dogman, Spanky, Trudy and me.
Route:  Nancy Pond Trail to Nancy/Norcross Pond, Down to Stillwater Jct, Desolation Trail over Carrigain to Sawyer River Rd.

Trip Report:
19.2 miles
5700 ft

the dogs survived. 

we didn't run it.  we kept the pace low and did the whole thing in about 8.5 hrs.

the desolation trail is painful.

two guys had hunting rifles on their packs.  don't ask... i didn't.

weirdest thing ever:  encountered two guys on our way down carrigain.  they were also descending.  one carried a fishing pole in one hand.  seriously.  i asked him about it.  he said they wanted to fish in carrigain pond.  see attached image.  in case anyone was wondering, trying to bushwack from the SUMMIT OF CARRIGAIN is insane.  clearly they didn't google the bushwack routes.  the feature to the SSW is "The Captain".

Notes on Carrigain Pond Bushwack:  you don't go up carrigain unless you want to summit.  the advantage is that it gets you close, quickly, but the 'standard' bushwack goes in from the end of the sawyer river road and follows old logging trails.  apparently, going down the desolation trail part way and then heading 'around' carrigain to the 'left' is also a good, but challenging route.

it's important to *not* use the topography as your primary guide.  avoiding swamps, cliffs, blowdowns, etc. is paramount to doing this in a reasonable amount of time.

when you're bored, there are some good discussions out there.  for example:




Mt. Lincoln

Hit Lincoln w/ Jake and Spanky via Falling Waters up and down.

This makes:
Lafayette:  43
Lincoln:  41

On my way to 50 for each.


Mt. Waumbek

Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky and me.
Time:  1:02 to Waumbek summit, 1:59 round trip.


Mt. Cabot

Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky, MadDog and me.
Time:  1:25 to summit.  Short day.


Franconia Ridge Speed Loop

Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky and me.
Time:  3:15 including all rests
Details:  1:05 to the top of Haystack (via Falling Waters), 15 minutes at Greenleaf, a few dog water/food stops between.

Decidedly hurried.

This was my 40th tag of Lincoln and my 42nd tag of Lafayette.


Owl's Head Bushwack via Garfield and Galehead

Date:  5/17/2012

  • From Garfield Trailhead to Garfield, Franconia Brook to Pemi
  • Bushwack up West Ridge to summit, return via Bowl
  • Twin Brook to Galehead, out Gale River Tr.
  • 1.6 mile trot on road to car
Team:  Dogman, tMail and me.
Condition:  pretty wet.  We waded across Twin Brook and Franconia Brook.
Time:  9.5 hrs, including 20 minutes at Galehead Hut
  • 1:25 to summit of Garfield
  • 3:25 to summit of Owl's Head (4:50 from start)
  • 2:50 to summit of Galehead (7:30 from start)
  • 2:00 to car (9:30 from start)
The bushwack route was up the 'West Ridge', sometimes called the 'Northwest Ridge'.  The descent was via the middle of the bowl.

Notes on the bushwack:
  1. We waded across Franconia Brook and followed the Lincoln Brook trail as it gained elevation.  You'll note on the map that the trail has a sharp bend to the south, followed by a bend back west.  At the second bend we headed into the woods.  If you continue on the trail another 100', you'll hit a very straight section that looks almost like a 100 yard-long cobblestone path.  Making the left anywhere along there is fine too.  That's actually where we came out.
  2. The West ridge isn't well defined - it's broadly rounded and forested, however it's no trouble to determine when you've reached it as you can detect the terrain curving down toward the west.
  3. You'll cross 4 or 5 old logging roads.  The first two are very well defined grades.  Continue across them straight up the hill or you'll just waste time moving diagonally across the bowl.
  4. At around 3600' the fir trees become challenging and you'll encounter both extensive blowdowns and an extreme thickening of the balsam as you enter into the krumholz.  We took advantage of blowdowns near the summit by walking the horizontal trunks, often quite high in the air.
  5. Many of the trunks in the blowdowns are rotted through.  Test before committing your weight.
  6. Visibility drops to 3-4ft near the summit.
  7. We didn't go all the way to the 'old' summit where the well-worn paths are.  We were actually unsure of where we were, but when we began to descend into the saddle between the summits we decided that was where we were, and turned around.  Instead of retracing our route we stuck to the western side of the ridge about 100ft below the ridge and avoided all the blowdowns.
  8. The descent into the bowl wasn't as steep as we'd imagined, however there are extensive networks of brooks draining, and a series of fascinating and muddy marshes.  If you can see Garfield as you drop into the bowl, head directly at it.  If you can't, stay on a bearing toward magnetic north.  The bowl faces South Twin and naturally turns you in that direction but that will take you .  To head toward Garfield (and return to your entry point) you will feel like you're walking along the contour lines but you really want true magnetic north.  When you hit the Lincoln Brook trail, make a right to take you down to the falls.


Garfield & Lafayette

Date:  May 5th, 2012
Route:  Garfield via Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge to Lafayette Summit, Return via Skookumchuck.
Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky and me
Logistics:  Spotted a car at the Skookumchuck trailhead.
Conditions:  Dog-Friendly and soggy.  Used Microspikes on upper part of Garfield Trail.  Never after.

tMail's pics:  here
mutha's pics:  here


Bondcliff to Galehead Birthday Bash

Date:  3/17/2012
Route:  Bondcliff to West Bond, South Twin via the Twinway, Galehead, Gale River Trail to Rte 3.
Gear:  light packs, light shoes, no snowshoes, microspikes (except tMail)
Team:  MadDog, DogMan (birthday celebration), tMail (birthday celebration) and me.
Conditions:  Bondcliff:  good snow cover, some postholing off the narrow treadway.  Bondcliff and the Twinway over Guyot were melted out.  Twinway between Guyot and South Twin was painfully slow due to postholing, as was descent off South Twin.  Gale River Trail had sporadic postholing higher up, completely melted out on lowest mile.  The Loop road has no snow on it.
Mutha's Pictures:  here
tMail's Pictures:  here

Trip report:  DogMan, MadDog and I trotted the rail bed from the campground (0:55 to the turn to ascend Bondcliff).  My microspikes exploded and we all got separated while I was doing repairs.

Lots of folks heading up to BondCliff - quite the crowd on a summit known for its remoteness.  Probably a dozen people on the trail on the way up, a few already on the summit, and another dozen coming in from Zealand.

DogMan and I stuck together for the next few hours, tagging West Bond.  We ran into tMail a few minutes into the W. Bond spur, on his way out.  While the three of us were on the spur trail, MadDog trotted by on his way north.  We eventually all met up by the time we got to South Twin.

The Twinway between Guyot and South Twin was pretty tough w/out snow shoes.  The postholing was unpredictable and I lack the language skills to do justice to just how hard that 2 miles was.

We all ran out of water by South Twin and refilled from a brook crossing the Gale River Trail later in the evening.

tMail took off on the final descent and arrived at the cars a good 1:30 before the rest of us.  DogMan defeated his demons and ran out the last 2 miles at a half-marathon 'sprint'.

Good for us.


Mt. Isolation in 2:32

Date:  3/10/2012
Route:  Isolation via Rocky Branch (from Rte 16).  Took Engine Hill bushwack.
Team:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky & Mutha
Conditions:  Completely packed out trail.  Dogman was barebooting - i put on micros at some point although they weren't really necessary anywhere.  The bushwack was in great shape.  Two snowshoers from Keene did their best to follow the packed trail, which was a bit blown over.  To a large degree they followed it.  The Isolation trail near The Davis Path is a bit filled in and a few minor deviations by the snowshoers were corrected on the return trip.  Snowshoes aren't a bad idea beyond the bushwack but aside from a few deep postholes it actually wasn't that bad.
Pictures:  here

Trip Report:  We're preparing for Leadville so keeping the pace up was pretty high on the priority list.  On the other hand, the weather was gorgeous, the birch groves open and inviting and our packs light (z30's).


Lincoln, Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Loop

Did the Franconia Ridge Speed Loop w/ Spanky. 
Date:  3/7/2012
Route:  Ascend Falling Waters Trail, Descend Old Bridle Path
Conditions:  Very well packed trail everywhere.  In the warm temperatures there was a lot of slush and soft snow.  When this freezes up expect a lot of ice and crust.  Sections of the OBP were packed very tight and those will be quite slick when frozen.  I recommend traction of some kind.
Team:  me & Spanky The Wonder Dog
Pictures:  Here

Trip Report:
3:20 total time.  this included:
    - snack on Mt. Lincoln (5min)
    - lunch on Mt. Lafayette (10 min)
    - climbing down to retrieve the dog's water bowl that blew off
        the summit (+10 minutes round trip)
    - changing out of my crampons and final food/water (5 min).
    - 50+ photos
    - one 40sec video

Amazing blue-bird day, but a little warm.  Wore sleeveless shirt for the entire ascent and descent.  Put on a longsleeve shirt on the ridge.  Only wore a sweat-rag and no gloves.  I put on my light liner gloves on Lincoln when things got pretty windy, although it was nothing like on the Bad Boy (which cranked in the 60 mph range).  The wind probably got to around 25mph in sections.  My hands weren't actually cold - just seemed the prudent thing to do.  Gloves came off before I even got to the hut.

Traction was necessary.  Wore crampons until the final descent from treeline on down.  Probably could've been done w/ microspikes but at the higher trotting speeds that would've been dangerous on the descent of Lafayette.

Light climbing pants, gaiters, mid-weight summer hiking boots, wool socks.  gaiters were unnecessary.


Mt. Flume via The Osseo Trail

Date:  2/3/2012
Route:  Mt. Flume, via The Osseo Trail
Group:  Dogman, Trudy, Spanky & Me
Conditions:  Fresh fallen snow over packed trail.
Gear:  Snowshoes were necessary but we packed the trail down pretty tight on the up-and-down so it should be workable with crampons.  There are a lot of soft spots though, especially on the ladders so snowshoes are recommended high up.  Postholing w/out snowshoes is likely.  Once out on the cliffs, watch for spruce traps.  We headed into the trees to go around the spot where the trail crosses over the top of a slide.  It's a clean chute now.


Mt. Liberty Speed Hike

Date:  2/25/2012
Route:  Whitehouse to Liberty Springs, up and down.
Conditions:  Perfectly packed out.  Wore crampons the whole day - got a little soft near the top.
Hikers:  me and Dogman
Dogs:  Trudy & Spanky The Wonder Dog
Comments:  Speed hike to the summit (1:50).  Full battle gear needed in the high winds and blowing ice and snow.  Full packs on the ascent but stripped down to thin base layer w/ sleeves rolled up.  Almost died in the explosive winds/ice/snow... well, not really.  But it was damned cold.

Mt. Lafayette Speed Hike

Date:  2/18/2012
Route:  Up and down the Old Bridle Path
Conditions:  White carpet - crampons needed above treeline.  Drifts were only knee deep and the trail below treeline was perfectly packed out.  Barebooted descent.
Hikers:  me and Dogman
Dogs:  brought Trudy & Spanky The Wonder Dog
Comments:  Speed hike to the summit (2:05).


Mt. Washington

Route:  Lion's Head Trail up and down

Date:  Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Group:  Hiked directly with tMail & Dogman, and more generally all the other guys of the annual Bad Boy event.  (The Puppet Master was unable to attend this year, and it was Old Skool's 2nd year in a row.)

Weather:  0° with winds gusting up into the 60's or so.  Actually, the winds were kind of out of the NW and the summit caused some weird wind shifts that basically protected us most of the day.  I doubt I experienced anything stronger than a steady 30mph for a short time.

Trail Conditions:  Very little snow, no snowshoes needed anywhere, crampons all day.  The trail is well packed out and somebody had placed bamboo poles w/ pink tape on the trail on the eastern snow fields.  The rocky sections of both the crossing from Lion's Head along the Alpine Garden and the ascent of the summit cone were well filled in and for one of the only times in a dozen-ish ascents, didn't feel like I was just banging on rocks.  Even the summit itself has almost no visible rocks although obviously you can tell by the shapes of the ice/snow/crust/rime that it's rocky.

Some hikers used microspikes, but were a bit unstable in the snowfields.


Lafayette, Lincoln & The Spungie Day Loop

Route:  Franconia Ridge Loop (clockwise) via the Old Bridle Path and Falling Waters

Date:  1/21/2012

Team:  Spungie, tMail, Wildman, g-$$$, Mutha
Conditions:  No snowshoes needed.  Snow depth below treeline on the packed trail was deep enough for crampons all day except bare-booting the descent.  All trails well-packed out, some drifting on the ridge.  Traction is necessary on the Lafayette ascent but Wildman and g-$$$ were in microspikes all day and never changed into their crampons.


Mutha's Trip Report:  As part of our annual 'Spungie Day' celebration we took a more-or-less standard route for this event, although in part we were motivated by a forecast of low visibility in blowing snow and fog.  Conditions turned out to be quite easy, although the flat, grey light made photography challenging.

One of the more startling facts:  the snow on top was soft, dry powder everywhere, even in drifts.  It was as if none of it had been subjected to high winds or other consolidating/transforming effects.

Wildman showed off his shoulder-mounted, water-proof video/still camera and Spungie brought an expedition pack filled with gear for a few nights (see pic above).

Unexpectedly caught up with a huge group of 20 (more or less) Koreans from Virginia.  This was their second, annual, adventure up Lafayette.  Their skill levels were mixed so they were spread out all over the mountain.  One young woman seemed to have the motivation to break some record to the summit.  Weird times ahead.

Great day, great conditions, great group.
g-$$$'s Trip Report:  Upon further reflection, discussion with Lisa and EZ-E, and the sheer realization that I descend like shit (or is it my shit descends) and I have been displaced by Dumi Sok Mi as the token Asian. I am hereby hanging up my crampons and going to embark on a new business initiative, Kitchen Remodeling...as it appears that is the only skill I have competence in at the moment.  I will be bringing my gear to the Bad Boy and auctioning off my slightly used/almost brand new stuff to anybody with cash, paypal account, and/or coffee rolls.

Thanks for your years of support, friendship, and trailside camaraderie...

With that note I thank all who participated in Spungie Day 2012.

After PM's scolding about how he didn't want to be bothered by a message while in Chicago that 6 dudes got lost in NH....and for the record it would have been ONLY 5.....we opted to stay off the Castles and hit the standard fallback, Franconia Ridge Trail....FRT is never boring in the winter.
Notable points of the day:
The two fittest guys carrying the smallest packs......
F'in Koreans only have one speed..just fast enough to slow me down and piss me off....
Spungie knows his weather...for at least a couple of hours
Two newest pieces of gear....my GPS and Wildman's GoPro camera....neither of know how to use them....
Dumi Sok Mi is one beast of a climber
Proposed nickname for K4/Brian...Northern Belle
By summertime we are all buying Harleys and will have license plates to match SPNGY and BRO
The Spungie/Wildman renenactment of famous historical proposals was deeply touching and it certainly was not the wind strewn snow crystals pelting my face that were causing me to tear up
I descend like shit, ascend like shit, and eat like shit ergo i am full of shit.
K4 or Winter Presi Traverse....it's all good!
Chicago Basin...book it.
Woodstock Inn....great eats before the Loon crowds arrive
Highlight of the trip...not spending a cent in Lincoln!
Happy Spungie Day!  Good times.
tMail's Trip Report (pics here):I believe this was the 4th Spungie Day off of which have been held on Franconia Ridge, weather usually dictates as does snow conditions.  What we thought would be a little bit of a beat down with wind and visibility turned out to be a calm day.

We did the climb in the counterclockwise conditions was the wind was coming out of the Northwest, if you can call it wind, but enough to warrant a facemask and goggles for some.  The trail conditions are in good shape there is a good base and I would imagine where there is a good base on other trails and lots of traffic the conditions are the same.  There is not a lot of snow, but what is there will pack and freeze nicely in the coming weeks.

We had a great run in with the Korean team and there desire to latch on to whoever is around to keep up and route find.  DOO MI BOO TE was hot on Spungie’s heals for the ascent to Lafayette.  She was determine to summit with our team.  Once arriving on the summit she laid down on the ground, it was impressive.

The hike along the ridge had visibility of .5 – 1 mile at times.  The snow on the ridge does not appear to be windblown as there are clear billows of low density snow in pockets which is unusual.  This matches the Avalanche forecast comments of powder like snow, that is just sitting on steep stuff waiting for a heavy load or rain to make natural avalanches occur.

Be interesting to see the video that Wildman recorded.  Picture from Mutha, Spungie and myself are pretty sweet.

Awesome day overall stuck together as a group and no child was left behind, separated on the descent off of Falling Water as the boot skiing, running was awesome.  Mutha and I waited down near the water cascades and we all hiked out together from there.

Looking forward to low key weekend next week and a big Saturday shake down at The Louie Chinese New Years Party and then BAD BOY weekend!!!!!


Cannon Mtn And North Kinsman

Date:  January 14, 2012
Route:  Cannon via Hi-Cannon, Kinsman Ridge and Cannon Balls to North Kinsman, Fishin' Jimmy to Lonesome Lake.
Team:  tMail, DogMan and me.
Conditions:  Hi Cannon and Kinsman Ridge were unbroken, but with a base of only at most a foot, travel was easy in crampons the entire day.  Temperatures never got over -5°F so the snow stayed soft and manageable.  Snowshoes were unnecessary unless it was only for traction.

DogMan's Trip Report:  Two curious couple sightings.

First the "grumpies" heading into Cannon Balls. The more I reflect on that, could not have been a good end result.

"All your losing is a little mascara!"

And then the "fashionistas". WTF was that????

Great day. I am tired and stiff. But then I have more body fat than TMail or Mutha, and not as good of equipment (although TMail does his best providing my hand me downs). But my hands still froze into useless pain generating nubs at the car. That was freaky.

Thanks guys! Missing everyone else.

tMail's Trip Report:
My trail runners worked great.
My jeans worked better.
My boots with fur sticking out have great traction.
My rope I was carrying "just for the look" was awesome.
Great day!!!
Mutha's Trip Report:  Yeah! Wish you all could have been there. It never got above -5° all day, though we were sheltered for the most part and only got hit with a cold breeze a few times.

We all had great success with clothing/gear - no changes the entire day (9am to 4pm). We stayed surprisingly uninsulated and surprisingly dry (I'm still in my hiking clothes as I type this). Given our vertical assault up Hi-Cannon to the summit and the ass-dragging over the Cannon Balls and the bitter cold wind, it was quite surprising.

Crampons all day. Perfect gear.

One quick anecdote: on arriving back at the cars at the Lafayette Place Campground Parking Lot, we started to go through the simple gestures of pulling down jackets out, removing boots, etc., and each of us, like synchronized swimmers, got hit with a massive wave of bitter cold, bone-chilling finger loss. We nearly died there in the parking lot. In under three minutes, at 2°F with a very light breeze, we all lost the use of our fingers in one of the most painful episodes I can remember.

For me, I had just removed my pack, set it on the ground, lifted the top pocket and dug in for my down jacket. In the span of time it took me to pull it out of the pack & unzip the storage pocket I nearly lost the complete use of my fingers. I had great difficulty unfurling the jacket and almost couldn't get it on me. Unbeknownst to me, DogMan and tMail were getting hit with the same thing.

I've never experienced anything like it. It reminded me of the tsunami videos where it just comes on in an unstoppable assault. It was like the gates of hell opened and released the demons and sucked us into the vortex of cold hatred to die there just outside the parking lot. It was like being doused with gas and having a match thrown on us, only with cold, not heat. It was an explosion of numbing extremity-loss.

It took a while to recover.


The Hancocks

Date:  1/8/2012
Route:  Standard route from the Kanc on the Hancock Loop Trail (North then South)
Conditions:  The fastest conditions on this trail ever.  Packed snow w/ ice underneath, some icy spots.  In microspikes we could go as fast as we were physically able, not slowed down by trail conditions.  Water crossings were easy (mostly frozen over).
Dogs:  had two experienced winter climbing dogs - plenty of water down low.  No problems for the dogs.
Specs:  9.8-ish miles, 2,650-ish feet of gain.

Mutha's Trip report:  tMail, Dogman, Trudy, Spanky and I ran the loop.  tMail disappeared, returning around 2:20 or so but credited for the waiting around he did for me and Dogman, he pulled off a sub-two-hr run.  What an animal!  Dogman, the dogs and I hit the cars at exactly 2:40.  I doubt we'll ever have conditions this fast in there.  We spent so little time out there that I didn't eat or drink anything.  Got back to the car with a full liter of water.

Afterwards, hit the Cascade Cafe in Woodstock for portabella wraps, grilled ham sandwiches, cookies and lattes.

Fastest.  Conditions.  Ever.

If you're thinking of doing this loop in the next few days, now's the time.

Pictures here.

tMail's Trip Report:  This was a fascinating trip on a couple of fronts.

The trail conditions have been ideal for these "speed" hikes.  Its a weird concept "winter hiking" with running gear.  I actually took a pack this trip that had two jackets a Patagonia Nano Puff, MH Effusion Hood Jacket, Brooks Fleece Mittens and HH Hat.

I had a 26oz of water and two gels.  The conditions are fast and with spikes you get excellent traction, thanks also to Mutha who sharpened mine.  Even on hard ice I got purchase to push off.  The day was fast all day, we pushed hard.

DogMan was cursing in the parking lot, Mutha and I poisoned him, pulling stuff out of his bag, "am I allowed to bring this?" was uttered at one point, answer was "No".  The rule in all of this is you have to keep moving there is NO stopping, but if that is what you want to do that day, then that is acceptable.

I think we all enjoyed it and fought our own discomforts all day, mine was going up Hancock, brutal and the last 1.5 miles out cramp city and the ice was hard on the feet with micro-spikes.

After all was said and done we were all laughing at the parking lot about the battle, the dogs were still barking and jumping up and down.  We didn't talk much during the day BUT we had an awesome lunch at DogMan's Cafe find that serves excellent food, link here.

We caught up on the week, talked about card games, I am learning Mah Jong, business in the Northeast Kingdom, the pros and cons, upcoming trips, 2012 presidential election.  It was actually awesome, it was casual in a way after the track meet we had on the Hancocks, something we rarely get to do.

DogMan wanted to be home before dinner, that was his request.  If we didn't go to lunch he could have been home for lunch.

Great Day, missed the rest of you guys!!!! 


Cannon And Liberty Double Header

Date:  Jan 1, 2012
Route:  Cannon via Hi-Cannon (speed hike up and down), drive to Liberty trailhead, hike Liberty Springs up and down.
Hikers:  tMail, Mutha
Conditions:  The lonesome lake trail was packed ice. Hi-Cannon was in the best shape of any trail:  ice with a thin bonded layer of snow (an inch or two).  Snow softening in the warming weather.
Gear of the Day:  trail-runners w/ micro-spikes.

tmail and Liberty Summit
Mutha's trip report (pics here):  unbelievable conditions.  the liberty spring trail is a douche and was kind of slog down, but overall it was a great day indeed.  in this warm 'spring' weather, the trails (especially Hi Cannon) were nearly perfect.  i had been planning on using the excuse of shitty/icy trails to explain why it was hard to haul my lard-ass to the top, but even i had to admit that there's little that could've been done to improve on the conditions.

we spent much of the day in running tights and t-shirts.  seriously.  on Liberty summit we had to layer up to hang out, but there was only a light breeze.  the summit was enshrouded in clouds so we didn't have warming sunshine but this was a May hike for sure.

liberty spring trail was kind of crappy - the trail was basically all ice, so the ascent was fine but the descent was annoying.

note to future self:  if everyone bails and i'm stuck w/ tmail, don't go... or pretend i have the flu or something.  it's unbelievable how that guy just dis-a-fucking-ppears going uphill.  it's like chasing an F4 on a tricycle.  buh-bye.

dogman, remember on our hike w/ the dogs around Thanksgiving when we ran into the couple on Mt. Tom?  she was belching really loud and he looked like he had no idea why he was with her.  we ran into them on the Hi-Cannon trail.  we passed them on the way up, and at the summit tmail pointed out that they were one and the same.  i actually recognized the guy, but didn't place him.  i muttered 'have a great hike' as i passed and she said 'you too, darling'.  that weird phrasing put me on the edge of figuring it out.  tmail nailed it at the summit and we chatted when we passed them on our way down.  they remembered the dogs, one young guy and two old guys.


wish you all could've been there to share the pain.
tmail's trip report (pics here):  Mutha and I had an awesome day peaking bagging, griding, assaulting call it what you want.

Cannon was every man for himself blitz assault via Hi Cannon trail AND conditions are epic for trail running with spikes.

Liberty was our 2nd assault we actually carried packs for this albeit ultra-lite had a "leisurely" pace talked and had a great time.
Conditions are spring like. Mutha is going ultra lite for 2012, watch out!

Wished you guys all made it.