Climbing in the Presidentials I have learned that it is very important to check the weather before setting out on a three and a half hour drive. The forcast was in the 20's and no wind. Now when they forcast no wind for Mount Washington I wonder if they just forgot to include that in the summary. So when we started hiking and there was no wind and the snow was starting to melt I was just amazed. I went with Tatyana a friend that answered my WPI outing club email. She was wearing leather boots and in February leather boots had turned out to not be good enough, but when I got out of the car it was so warm I thought maybe my plastic boots were far too much overkill.
As we headed up through the trees on the Airline Trail we weren't moving too fast. Perhaps I was anxious about our almost 10 am start or that I was not sure of her skills and I am also in amazing shape at the moment due to my intense track coach. However, we made it out of treeline and ate lunch at about one. I was not sure heading for the summit was the best idea considering out speed thus far. However, when I asked here what she wanted to do she said we should try for the top so I decided that we would just go for it.
Summit and Decent
This was quite amazing there was hardly any wind probably less than 15 miles an hour!! As we made our way throught the rocks and snow to the summit there were a few other groups mostly heading down. It got to be 2:00 and we were still heading up and due to my previous experience on mountains I was quite nervous because that is an extremely late time to still be heading up. Fortunately, as I looked around it looked as though the weather would hold and since the sun is setting latter each day my desire to get to a summit I haven't been to yet took hold and we made the top at 2:20.
We stayed for 15 minutes or so taking some pictures and enjoying the scenery as there were no clouds obscuring the neighboring peaks at that time. I took my gloves off for a moment to take a picture and my fingers started to get cold so I had an oppertunity to try on my new down mittens. They didn't immediately get warm like I was expecting but in five minutes my fingers were toasty and after another 15 minutes I took them off because my fingers were too warm.
On the way down Tatyana stayed back to take pictures from time to time so I just walked down and managed for perhaps the second time on the snow not to rip my pants with my crampons. I was nearly estatic. We had talked to two more locals near the summit and they highly recommended that we take the Valley-Way trail down instead of the Airline trail because it was much less steep so we headed down to the cabin between Madison and Adams and took of our crampons to walk down and possibly glissade.
As it turned out it was not even steep enough to glissade or slide much. So we just walked the four odd miles back to the Appalachia trailhead. Comparing the two trails, Airline and Valley-Way, it is undeniable that Valley-Way is much easier without the sections of ice that Airline has. The day turned out to be quite successful we made it back to the car at about 5:15 so it was around 7-7.5 hours round-trip which I consider quite acceptable although not as efficient as my other six hour folley's in the Presidentials.
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