Mt. Monadnock: 11/14/04


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  1. #1

    Mt. Monadnock: 11/14/04

    This was a trip that was originally supposed to take place on Saturday. But a snow storm dumped about 6 inches of the white stuff in my neck of the woods (North Reading, MA) as well as points south -- and neither me nor Poison Ivy could get out of our driveways until the plows came. So ... we changed our plans to the following day.

    I'd been to Monadnock a couple of times -- in summer time as well as in winter. One memorable hike was on New Year's Day from the 1999/2000 changeover. And it never ceases to amaze me how this tiny mountain can offer some challenges. To be blunt, it tends to kick my a**!

    The first stretch of trail from the parking lot is wide with railroad ties, a nice walk in the woods. The leaves had fallen from autumn and there was only a dusting of snow. This portion was relatively free of ice, and it's a nice introduction to a day's hike, getting the blood flowing. It was chillly -- about 30 degrees -- but toasty when the sun poked through the trees. That made for several stops along the way to adjust our layers.

    At the Red Spot trail turnoff, the path started to get a tad icy, so Ivy donned her Yak Trax, while I put on my brand new Stabilicers for their maiden voyage. I was impressed with how well they worked -- and they were perfect for this kind of patchy ice; crampons would have been overkill and would have actually been a hinderance since the coating of ice wasn't thick enough or prevalent enough to warrant the spikes.

    About halfway or two thirds of the way up, we hit the first of the ledges. Then, we reached a point that brought back memories of another hike: I got stuck at exactly the same ledge where once before I also struggled to find a way up! Ivy patiently waited for me while I went through pretzel moves to maneuver my way up. I think I muttered quite a few times: "Ugh, I hate ledges!"

    Soon, we were above treeline and back to donning our Gore-Tex shells, hats and mittens. And by the time we had the summit in sight, the winds were howling at our estimate of 40-50 mph. At one point, I was literally on my hands and knees wiggling across the rock, and feeling like I was about to puke. My left knee tweaked. I called out above the wind to Ivy up ahead of me, and told her I was heading back down. I figured she'd go on ahead of me, tag the summit and then meet me below treeline, but she graciously came back down and we decided to find the cutoff to White Dot for our descent.

    There wasn't much snow up top, but there was enough to obscure some of the blazes painted on the rock. Ivy has good navigational skills though, and we found our way onto White Dot, the most popular of the trails on this touristy mountain. It proved a nice way to descend -- even the one mini-chimney that we butt slid down -- only to later see an easier way to walk down to the right. A nice fellow hiker helped me stretch out my legs at the last drop. Thanks!

    The rest of the walk out was uneventful and pleasant. It's a great mountain to tackle in all seasons -- and oh so close!

  2. #2
    WOW, sounds like you had a great time on Monadnock. I was wondering how you were both doing as I drove to Connecticutt yesterday.


  3. #3
    Hey there Alpinista,

    If we get to go on a hike that we talked about over a year ago, will you please write another great trip report?!

    Always looking forward to reading your reports and to bump into you guys on the mtns. Keep 'em coming.

    Thank you!

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