Member Trip report

Mts Washington and Monroe Hike (NH)


Trip Report/Photos from shep5

Featured Photo

Early on Saturday, March 18th, I headed up to the White Mountains to hike.  I originally intended to hike the Willey Range; however, as I was driving through Twin Mountain along Route 3, Mount Washington just looked so inviting!  It was clear and sunny and was forecast to be fairly mild for winter.  I arrived at the hiker parking lot at the end of Base Station Road at around 8AM.  I was amazed to see the lots pretty much already full...probably an indication of the weather forecast and the fact that it was the last winter hiking weekend of the season.

I got ready and by about 8:15, I headed up the road towards the Cog Railway Station and onto the trail, which headed into the woods behind these buildings.  The air was cold and I initially wore my face was probably in the single digits.  I also doned my snowshoes from the start, as the area had received about a foot and half of new snow during the week.  Despite this the trail had already been clearly broken out.  The initial part of the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail was fairly level with only a slight grade.  At times there were nice views up into the ravine and by 9:10 I reached the pool at the base of a small falls/cascade.  This was mostly covered in snow, but this point marked a significant change in grade.  After this point, the trail steepened quite a bit.  As I climbed there were intermittent one point a beautiful view of the Twins and Bonds.  By just before 10 the trees were thinning out and I was getting views of the antennas on Mt. Washington.  In about a half-an-hour later I made it to the Lake of the Clouds Hut.  There were about half-a-dozen other hikers here and the hut entrance was buried in snow up to the roof.  I took a break here and chatted a bit.  I then continued on by following the cairns for the Crawford Path.  It wasn't long before I lost sight of these rock piles and I just began to climb.  I ended up running across another set of cairns, which turned out to be the Tuckerman Cross Trail.  I continued to follow this trail until it met with the Davis Path and then turned again towards the mountain.  At 11:30 I re-joined the Crawford Path for the final 0.6 miles to the summit.  I hiked this portion with a woman from Ashby, MA and we had a good time talking as we climbed at a comfortable pace.  At 12:30 I reached the summit sign and the top of Mount Washington (6288').  There was a modest wind of 10-15 mph and the observatory had noted a maximum day temperature of 16F.  There were probably 12-18 other hikers up here taking their lunch breaks.  I walked over to the deck to get a good view of the northern Presidential peaks (Adams, Madison and Jefferson) and then walked over to get a better view of the Carter-Moriah Ridge.  I was getting a bit chilled, so I didn't stay too long.  I decided, that I would take another break back at the hut.

I started back via the Crawford Path...this time taking it all the way back to the hut.  There were many more people on the trail by this time and except for crossing an ice field with no cairns, it was pretty easy to follow.  At 1:30 I made it back to the hut and sat down for another snack break.  There were about a dozen folks here now.  After the break I headed for Mt. Monroe.  I had been warned by some hikers of the difficulty in getting up Monroe.  I reached the Monroe summit trail at just before 2PM and began the short ascent.  About half way up I could see what some of the hikers had talked about.  As the trail made the final turn up towards the summit, it was steep and a sheet of ice.  I had to make very deliberate steps to make sure that I was dug in to the ice while keeping myself low to the grown.  This ice field was short and in 15 minutes was pretty much reached the top.  I still had to traverse this summit to reach the true summit (5372'), which I reached by 2:20PM.  For a little while I had the summit to myself, but in 5 minutes a group of hikers showed up.  One of them intended to ski off of the eastern side of the summit.  There were good views of Boot Spur, Mt. Isolation, Mt. Davis and the Dry River Wilderness.  Of course, the view back towards Mt. Washington was simply amazing!  I started back across the summit and instead of following the trail down, I just decided to descend in a direct bearing for the hut.  This was still icy in spots, but I could distinguish the shiny ice from the encrusted snow.  This turned out to be a slightly easier path down...returning to the hut at 2:40.  From here, I turned onto the Amomonoosuc Ravine Trail and followed this back to the Cog Railway/hiker parking lot.  I reached my car again at about 4:15PM.

What a glorious day!  The stars certainly aligned for this one!  There was not a cloud in the sky, mild winds and, for Mount Washington, fairly reasonable temperatures.  I'm so glad I changed my plans at the last minute!

Total mileage and elevation gain:  Approximately 9.0 miles with 3960 feet in cumulative elevation gain.

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Gandalf Posted Mar 22, 2017 at 2:16 PM


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