Mts. Pierce and Eisenhower Winter Hike
4000 Footer DATE: 01/28/2023 - 01/28/2023
Trip/Event Location: Bretton Woods, NH
Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh
Max # People: 12
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Join us for this 9.6 mile winter hike to the summits of two prominent 4000-foot peaks in the Presidential Range...Mt. Pierce (4312') and Mt. Eisenhower (4760'). We will take the Crawford...
As you pass the exit for Lincoln, continue on I-93 N for 11.9 miles. Take exit 35 to merge onto US-3 North toward Twin Mountain. Follow US-3 N for 10.3 miles. Turn right onto US-302 and follow US-302 East for 8.4 miles where you'll drive by Bretton Woods Ski Area and the Mt. Washington Hotel. The Crawford Path parking will be on the left...before the AMC Highlander Center...taking a left for a short distance up the Mt. Clinton Road (beyond this, the road is closed). Total distance from Lincoln is 30.8 miles (about 35 minutes). Look for a blue Toyota Tacoma truck.
We took the Crawford Path and Mt. Eisenhower Loop trails for 9.4 miles, out-and-back hike with 3,250 feet of elevation gain. For a variety of reasons, the hike up to Mt. Eisenhower is considerably tougher in winter than any other season!
Mt Clinton Rd parking lot was not plowed and blocked. We had to park on Route 302 on the AMC Highland Center side. It was a comfortable 26 degrees when we got out of the truck. Unfortunately, I thought I communicated a start time of 8:00am so after 8:15am I contacted Bob to let him know we were starting without him. I actually stated a start time of 8:30am…so sorry Bob…thankfully you caught up to us on the trail.
We have not begun on the actual start of the Crawford Path in years so this was a treat! The trail was semi-packed so wore snowshoes. I would say 2/3 of hikers wore Microspikes while the remainder had snowshoes.
The trees were magical today…an assembly of various forms of snow gnomes…and very friendly too! We took a snack break 1.9 miles up, at the intersection with Mizpah Cut-Off. We continued onward, up the final 1.2 miles to tree line thorough a fine boreal forest.
The wind was about 20mph so we layered up. From here, it was a quick 0.1 mile up to the summit of Pierce. We got a preview of our next destination after Pierce, Mt. Eisenhower that was barely visible. We were happy to see that it was not socked in!
We chatted with a group of hikers on the summit of Mt. Pierce with fun banter between us. We then made our way to Mt. Eisenhower. Snowshoes absolutely necessary after Mt. Pierce to Mt. Eisenhower since the trail was barely broken. Everyone going to Ike had snowshoes save one hiker who was chewing up the trail. Bob did not bring his snowshoes so had to turn around.
Eisenhower ahead, the snow gnomes guided our way. It was a 1.6-mile hike on the ridge between Pierce and Eisenhower. As we hiked towards Eisenhower the summit began to appear. Today was spectacular traverse to Mt. Eisenhower as views opened up along the way!
At the base of the summit cone, we took off our packs for the final summit push. It was windy as we climbed up the steep summit cone with blowing snow but not to the point that it shoved us around. Halfway up we put on our goggles and face protection. We made it to the top! 40 mph wind, 5 below zero wind chill and blowing snow…we did not stay up there too long.
Once out of the wind below the summit cone, we found a sheltered area for lunch. Our descent was routine except at the Mizpah Hut Cut-off where we had fun feeding the Gray Jays. We got back to our truck around 3:30pm.
Back at our house, we enjoyed appetizers around the fireplace, soaking our tired bodies in the hot tub and enjoying a delicious Turkey Tetrazzini cooked up by Jon! Yummy. Later we had a piece of Lava Cake with a side of whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
Today was one of those days where your camera just isn't big enough to capture the massive spectacle that's spread out in front of you...a breathtaking winter day in the Presidentials! An electric white, snow-cladded, granite monolith of the Presidential peaks. One of the most beautiful experiences in the winter...that's why we were there!
~ Jon and Mike
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- Which one of you moonlights Snow White? How did you get that jay to feed from your hand?! Awesome pics! Looks like an epic excursion. I'm sorry I didn't join! - GpD
- Yahoo! Looking forward to the next winter experience in The Whites with fellow nature enthusiasts! - JDNnh
- Loved this adventure in extremes - snow, wind, calm moments, smiles, fear, happiness, endless vistas, clouds and sun beams guiding us onward! - JDNnh
- Winter mountain adventures = beauty, elevated heart rate, pushing past your comfort zone = reward of satisfaction knowing you are in an environment that can slay or make you confident and strong! - JDNnh