Mt. Moosilauke in Winter

January 22, 2006.

10.6 mi | 2800’ ele. gain | 8 hr

Ravine Lodge Rd > Gorge Brook Tr > Moosilauke summit and south peak > Moosilauke Carriage Rd > Snapper > Gorge Brook Tr > Ravine Lodge Rd

I joined a group of three other hikers for today’s journey. We started up the Ravine Lodge Rd, battling strong winds from the very start. I started out with bare boots while a couple others put their Stabilicers on. We moved slowly and I was feeling myself getting cold. I was reluctant to put more layers on because I figured I’d eventually warm up. But eventually never seemed to come.

We took frequent breaks, which allowed me to take in the nice views throughout the day.

As we approached treeline, each clearing provided beautiful views of the Sandwich Range, the Kanc, Franconia Ridge and other less prominent bumps. My partners tried to name all the peaks they could identify. I was okay just knowing one or two on my own.

Before leaving the shelter of the trees, we suited up for battle: windpants, fleece vest, jacket with hood, balaclava, hat, goggles, mittens and hand warmers. Check.

It was amazing how well the goggles protected my face and prevented my glasses from fogging up. I still have trouble breathing through the balaclava but it is such a nice wind barrier. Looking around at the panoramic vista drew my thoughts away from the wind anyways. It felt great to be above the trees.

The recent unseasonable warmth and rain, even in the mountains, led to the creation of lousy trail conditions up top. It was a combination of bare rock and slick ice. I still hadn’t put any kind of traction devices on.

It seemed as if we were the first people to summit today. After our triumphant victory, a solo hiker came up the Beaver Brook trail. More people began arriving from the Glencliff Trail.

We decided to retreat to the Carriage Road. The ice on that side was ridiculous, so I finally put my snowshoes on. The wind was relentless. We estimated the wind speed at 50 mph and temperatures of 10-15 °. We quickly gained the protection of the trees and walked the rest of the way out cheerfully chatting the whole way.

What a rotten day to forget to bring extra batteries for my camera!

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