Winter Climbing – Mt Monroe and Mt. Eisenhower

Prouty Logo
Mt.Monroe 5,372 & Mt. Eisenhower 4,780
12.5Miles, March 17, 2012
The Prouty Mountaineering Program
(the first Prouty Challenge Event benefitting Dartmouth-HitchcockNorris Cotton Cancer Center)
WesChapman
PresidentialRidge 3/17/2012 from Mt. Eisenhower
PresidentialRidge from Mt. Nancy 3/10/2010
Mt.Monroe & Mt. Eisenhower in pseudo-winter hiking
Arriving at the parking lot at the base of theAmmonoosuc Ravine Trail (meaning fish place in Abenaki) and the Cog Railway, Iwas struck that I had forgotten my skis. The parking lot was full of intrepidback country skiers, out looking for some snow. After a largely snowless winter,we are enduring a preposterously warm spring, and these skiers were hoping tobeat the odds. As the photos above make painfully clear, these guys were abouttwo years too late.
This was to be my last “winter” hike of the season,and I really wanted to get out and enjoy what was left of the snow. I came withouteither human or canine companionship; human caused by complications and/or slothon the part of my climbing buddies, and canine caused by breakable crust androtten snow – both really tough on dogs. These were my 20th and 21stNew England 4,000 footers of the winter, and would finish off the southern endof the Presidential Ridge. This has been a great season for hiking –specifically because it has had no competition from skiing – which is a sad anddisturbing situation.
The day started out warm and foggy, which turnedspectacular as I climbed up the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail and through the fog. Ipassed a couple of guys struggling up the step, icy path on skis with skins,and another poor unfortunate with neither crampons or Microspikes. The cloudsacross the valley reminded me of what the area must have looked like under thecontinental glacier. Prospectively, I wonder what it will look like with palmtrees as beach front property. The trail was really fast with the rightfootwear, and I was passed Lake of the Clouds and on the top of Monroe in under2 hours.
   
ValleyFog seen from Lake of the Clouds Hut
Valleyfog from the trail
FranconiaRidge from Mt. Monroe
Hikersenjoying the sun at Lake of the Clouds
(Originallynamed Washington’s Punchbowl)
The route along the hike affords views of at least35 of the 4,000 footers in the White Mountains, and temperatures in the 50’salowed light outerwear and high speed. Only the rotten snow posed much of anissue, and it was a small price to pay for such a day. The trip to Eisenhowerwas via Crawford path, and then out to Mt. Clinton Rd. via Edmand’s path. Goingdown Edmand’s path I followed someone who had multiple wrecks in the crustyrotten snow – with a leave-behind of equipment resembling a yard sale. I pickedup most of the “lost items” and left them at the signup station on Clinton Road– if the unfortunate climber happens to be reading this blog.
Pierce,Eisenhower (originally Pleasant Dome) and Franklin from Monroe
Mt.Isolation
Mt.Willey

 

Mt.Nancy from Monroe, with Jackson in the foreground
Washington,Monroe and Franklin from Eisenhower
It’s been a great winter hiking, and I hope that Ican entice my climbing buddies to come out to play in the in New England andthe Adirondacks this summer. We’ll be off the trails for the next few weeks toallow the frost to come out of the ground and minimize soil erosion. Perhapssome spring skiing on Mt. Hood in the meantime would take the sting out of what will surely proveto be a lackluster and snowless season in Tuckerman Ravine.
Adios from Mt. Washington
Wes Chapman
Written by Wes Chapman

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