January 15, 2006.
3.8 miles | 2000’ ele. gain | 3 hr.
Yesterday there was torrential rain all across New England, turning to snow in the wee hours of the morning and into the course of our drive. The roads were bad and rivers were raging high. Temperatures dropped from the high 50’s on Friday to the single digits today (Sunday). At the tram station, a worker said winds were gusting 50-60 mph at the summit. We were ready for a chilly day.
We started up the snow-covered trail, which was already broken out by at least two hikers. After about 50 feet we put crampons on to negotiate the steep, icy trail. In addition, it was covered with about 4 inches of fresh powder.
The climb was long and arduous. We took many stops for food, water and clothing adjustments. After a seemingly long period of time, the road and trailhead were still clearly visible. We weren’t making much progress.
Eventually the steepness mellowed out a bit and became more and more exposed.I wished that I had brought my goggles to cut the wind. Only my face and my butt was cold, but I was able to keep my core warm. I put on my balaclava to warm up my face, which made my glasses fog up. I took them off and continued walking in a blurry fog.
We slogged our way up to a wooded trail junction near the tram. Since the tram was closed, the upper trail was roped off. The wind was fierce and my hiking partner’s feet were cold, so we decided to turn back. It was -15 ° not taking windchill into account so, uh, it was cold.
Coming down was so much easier once we hit the shelter of the woods. We descended in at least half the time it took us to go up.
It was a tough little hike on a brutal day, but we had a lot of fun!