A President’s Day Weekend in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
A Winter Climb of Mt. Madison
5,367 feet, 8 miles
February 17, 2014
Sunrise on Mt. Moosilauke on the drive to Mt. Madison
I’ve climbed the various peaks in the Presidential Range at least a hundred times, but Mt. Madison was my first – back in 1967 – and you always remember your first. So when some Cancer Center business took me back to Hanover this weekend, I took a flyer on a climb of this old friend. Madison is the location of the eponymous Madison Springs Hut – rebuilt to palatial proportions.
The day was cool (-15° at the base) and breezy (reportedly gusts to 76 mph on nearby Mt. Washington). We had seen this and worse on Moosilauke at Thanksgiving, so I headed of on a solo climb, celebrating President’s Day in a fitting location and effort.
Temperature regulation was a bit of a problem, and I tried to dress lightly enough to avoid sweating, but the wind was hard on exposed ears, so a light weight hoodie was the best solution available.
Cool running selfie near tree line
The run to the summit up the Valley Way Trail was fast, snowy and really fun. At the Madison Hut I bumped into a frozen group of winter campers near the bottom, and 4 young men who had just bailed out of a summit attempt. They were smoking cigarettes and all complaining of cramps. I left them and headed up – cigarettes and cramps.
The Madison Springs Hut – waiting for the spring opener
Mt. Adams from Mt. Madison
A spectacular view of Mt. Washington
The trail bent into the lee of the summit ridge near the top, and the result was a spectacular view, unmolested by clouds or fellow pilgrims (check out the video).
Rime ice near the summit
For those who may be wondering why I climbed alone;
Peter stayed in bed
View to the North over Mt. Cabot and to the North Pole
Adios, From Mt. Madison