Member Trip report

Eisenhower, Pierce & Jackson Hike (NH)

04/15/2017

Trip Report/Photos from shep5

Featured Photo

On Saturday, April 15th, I headed up to the White Mountains to hike Mounts Eisenhower, Pierce and Jackson.  It was forecasted to be fairly nice but partly cloudy.  I arrived at the Mount Clinton Road Parking lot at 7:45AM.  I got ready and headed out at 7:50.  

It was a bit chilly to start, but despite the forecast, there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  I started by taking the short portion of the trail out to Mount Clinton Road and immediately turned onto this road for the 2+ mile walk up to the Edmands Path Trailhead.  The road for the most part was about 80-90% clear of snow and ice already (the road was still gated).  The road was fairly level and there were a couple of openings with views over to the Mt. Washington Hotel.  I made it to the Edmands Path at 8:30.  I started up the trail, which maintains a pretty modest grade.  There were areas on the trail which were snow free, but for the most part there was still a few inches of packed snow.  Still it wasn't icy, so I barebooted it (I was carrying microspikes).  About half way, the grade increased, but this trail never became steep.  At about 10AM, there were openings in the tress for views over the valley...mostly to the south and west.  In another 20 minutes I reached an area where I had to cross a small slide.  This was tricky as the snow was hard on the slope and difficult to get a footing.  I carefully dug my heals in to create steps and slowly made it across.  After this point the trail was pretty level; however, this part of the trail also had an uneasy slant to it.  Still by this time, the views were really opening up with Jefferson, Washington and Franklin prominently displayed.  By 10:45, I reached the junction with the Crawford Path.  I turned onto the summit trail.  This climbed steeply for a short time and then leveled out a bit as it approched the top...reaching the summit (4780') by 11:15AM.  It was relatively warm and there was no wind at all.  The views over the Presidential Range and the peaks to the south were spectacular.  There were already about half a dozen other hikers here, who came from the Crawford Path.  We chatted a bit, while I took a short break.

At 11:30, I continued on by descending the summit to the south and re-joined the Crawford Path 10 minutes later.  There was more snow in spots along the trail here and it was a little more slushy as the day warmed.  Still, I made good progress and I reached the junction with the Webster Cliff Trail by 12:15PM.  I turned onto this trail for the short climb to the summit of Mt. Pierce (4310'), which I reached in 10 minutes.  I stopped here to take another short break and to talk with other hikers.

I then followed the trail off of the summit to the south.  As I descended, there were a few hikers coming up, who had lost the trail and had returned.  I forged ahead and quickly found the area, where the hikers got confused...there were several sets of tracks and no obvious blaze.  After bushwhacking a bit, I finally ran into the trail again and was on my way.  The rest of the trail was quite obvious all the way down to the Mizpah Hut, which I reached by 1:10PM.  There was even more snow here as the trail signs were still almost totally buried.  I turned onto the Webster Cliff/Mizpah Cutoff Trail.  It wasn't long before I lost the trail again, but after some bushwhacking I ran into blue blazes.  This was wrong, so I backtracked and finally found the white-blazed trail again.  After being on the trail for a while, I ran into a couple traveling the opposite direction from Jackson to Pierce.  It wasn't long before I emerged out into a couple of bogs with open views back towards the Presidentials and foward towards Jackson.  After re-entering the woods, it took another 25 minutes to climb to the summit of Mt. Jackson (4052').  There was a couple here, who were just leaving.  Otherwise the peak was empty.  The views back along the range were still spectacular.  I sat down on the other side of the summit for another break...looking down over Crawford Notch and over towards the Willey Range.

I had thought about going over to the Webster Cliffs, but decided that I had had enough for the day and I began to head down at 2:40PM.  I followed the Jackson Branch of the Webster Jackson Trail.  This was steep and after entering the woods, it was icy, as well.  I probably could have benefited from putting on my spikes at this point, but I just continued to bareboot it.  This was also the first time during the day, where I had post-holed a few times.  It still seemed so weird that there was so much more snow here than on the way up Eisenhower.  I reached the junction with the Webster Branch Trail at 3:40 and continued to follow the Webster Jackson Trail back to Route 302, which I finally reached an hour later.  Out of the woods now, I just had to walk the road back to the Mt. Clinton Road Trailhead.  This took 15-20 minutes...making it back to my car at just before 5PM.

Despite the forecast it turned out to be a picture perfect day on the Presidential Range...warm with clear, blue skies.  It was a great warm-up for the season and the views all day were fantastic!

Total mileage and elevation gain:  Approximately 13.1 miles with 3750 feet in cumulative elevation gain.

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