Went to the High Peaks to climb Algonquin but ended up toward Wright Peak. Left Long Island at 1:30am and arrived at the Info Center lot at 7am. we hit the trail, which was covered in a snow that was great for packing... good footing and all. Headed up and down the Van Hovenberg till we reached the Algonquin trail, then headed up and down then finally up that trail. Most of the small brooks were crusted over with ice and the rocks were fairly covered with snow, which made hiking in easy.
Above the 3500' mark, we started to run into some technical problems with hidden ice below the snow layer, which made things slippery in points, and got us thinking about good approaches. One such point we wished dearly for a pair of crampons, but finally figured out, with help, how to surmount this tricky incline that was covered in ice at least 4" think underlying the snowfall. As we progressed further up the Algonquin, due to the trail being on the leeward side, there was alot of wind-blown snow forming drifts at times almost 3' deep, which made for slower going.
We reached the split between Algonquin and Wright at around 10:40, and decided to try for Algonquin. We proceeded about one-quarter of the way up, and encountering greater drifts, without gaiters (my Arcteryx Thetas did really well...), we decided to head back and try Wright.
We reached the summit of Wright at about 11:40am.... or I should say we reached a point at about 20' below the summit. When we got to the bare rock, emerging from the portection of the scrub, we walked into a wind that was gusting at least 50mph or greater. We climbed up onto the outcropping, then got down on all fours and crawled to a small ledge flanked by a large boulder, which offered some protection from the wind, this point a frustrating 20' from the pinnacle. We made the decision not to venture to the top of the rock and icy peak, due to the simple fact that at our perch we could not stand up and be assured we wouldn't be blown over. I collected a rock for my son, we descended and reached our car just before 2pm, and Long Island at 9pm.
Overall a great trip except for not reaching the peak of the mountain. The weather was great except for the wind, and the trails were also good, a little worse for wear coming back down. We met about 25 climbers in several groups, and they made the trails more challenging coming back due to snow compaction; virtually all of the small streams were now also exposed due to the temperature and foot traffic. We also would have felt more secure in crampons at times along the route.
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