Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mount Washington 4420' 400'P

I had three takers for a day out despite the gloomy forecast. I had hoped for some snow settlement after the recent dumps. I tried to think of something close and in the cover of trees. I had missed last week which has become a very rare event. I was pretty certain that the conditions would be trying but I wanted to push myself after taking a week off. I managed to get up 15 minutes early and I spent the time trying to get out of the house without alerting the dog. He is my usual partner but he just had a large tumor removed from his neck and he is sporting a nice 4 inch incision and a neck that is mostly shaved. I didn't think it prudent to bring him even though his healing has been much better than expected. I managed to get out without him causing too much of a stir. He did go into the kids bedroom and woke them with some soulful groans. I made  a pit stop and once under way I noticed a distinct burning smell coming from the driver side rear tire. I had some sort of squealing from a trip down the Middle Fork Road and it seemed to be getting better. I didn't think it wise to continue so I pulled over and called the rest of the gang letting them know I was out. After the wheel cooled down I turned around and went home. Thankfully I didn't have the tire burst into flames before making into the driveway. I took the tire off and couldn't find the problem so I switched out cars with my wife. I was able to reach the gang and they had changed goals from The Pulpit which I had hoped to do to Mount Washington. I hurried to get repacked and catch up to the rest of the crew.

   I parked at the trailhead and it started to snow, which I was pleased because it was preferable to the heavy rain of drive to the trailhead. The trail was very heavily packed and I entertained the idea of leaving the snowshoes. Thankfully I didn't succumb to that temptation. I was able to make good time and the precipitation stopped. It had warmed considerably so the trees where doing their best to soak me. I started to get bored of the meandering boot track and gave some thought of just going home. I decided to keep pushing and after what seemed an eternity I reached the end of heavily packed trail. The trail ends and the pitch greatly increases. I could see by the party of 3 ahead of me that whomever broke trail certainly had their work cut out for them. Since it was so steep I just booted it following in the Rob's boot prints. Some of the areas it was very difficult to find anything solid to push off. Soon I reached what I had hoped was the summit but instead was another road. Thankfully the summit was only a couple hundred feet more gain. I reached the summit to find the group huddled in a tree well. I tagged the summit and by the time I returned they were more than ready for the descent. We merely retraced our steps back to the car. I kept snowshoes on until the creek crossing where I took them off. The descent went on forever, the rain made the snow just slick enough that I was able to slide a couple inches with each step. Thankfully it wasn't slippery enough to make it hard to control my mini slides. I was thankful to catch up to the group and I enjoyed listening their conversation on the way down. It was very apparent to me that I didn't have enough sleep because I wouldn't have been able to articulate anything meaningful had I even tried. In the end the day worked out and the route was more difficult that what I had expected.

Approx 9 miles 3200' of climb 5 hours car to car

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