Mighty Mt. Cube
A Beautiful Day for Kilimanjaro Preparation
Prep Hike #2
4 miles, 2909 feet
November 7, 2011
View of Smarts and the Dartmouth Skiway from the Summit
November 6, 2011
Kilimanjaro Preparation with the Sirens of Hanover
Pete and I returned to Hanover to find a house full of people – all of whom wanted to go climbing the next day – desperate to prepare for Kilimanjaro next year. It was dark, we were tired and we agreed, so long as the hike was local and easy. The ladies were violently opposed to doing anything too easy, but we talked them out of doing Franconia Ridge, and into Cube – about 2,000 vertical feet of hiking – with the best ROC (return on climb) in the Upper Valley.
Andrea, Martha and Christie – the Sirens of Mt. Cube
We headed up the Cross Rivendale trail, which replaces the Appalachian Trail, which used to start in the same place, but was moved several years ago. The local volunteers do a great job with this trail, which is well laid-out and maintained. Cube is a giant hunk of quartzite, which is very hard and resistant to both chemical and physical erosion. The rock was polished smooth by the glacier, and still bears the glacial striations ground into the rock over 10,000 years ago.
Mt. Cube NH
Smarts Mt from the summit of Cube Oct. 30, with a lot of snow
Cube is one of my favorite hikes, and was the first hike that I did in 1973 when I arrived at Dartmouth. I’ve climbed it in all kinds of weather, every time of day and every month of the year. The last two weeks have had some of the best weather and views that I’ve ever had from the summit, and Sunday’s climb was about the biggest and most raucous crowd that I’ve ever climbed with. It was one continuous laugh from the bottom to the top and back.
There was just a little ice on the trail, and only a few minor spills. The lunch at the top was quick and just enough to whet appetites for something more substantial back in the valley. This was a great way to spend a Sunday getting ready for Kilimanjaro in 2012.
Lunch including Rick Morse
Rick Morse and Pete Volanakis preparing to descend
This is the second in a series of preparatory hikes for the Prouty climb of Kilimanjaro in December of ’12. These hikes happen sporadically, depending on weather, demands of work, the venue of the author and simple ambition. If you have any interest in joining us, drop me a line.