The Southern Presidential--October 24 & November 13, 2004

This is a tale of two seasons, sort of. Take 1: October 24th. The climb was up Pierce and Eisenhower. The day started off very cold in the USFS parking lot in Crawford Notch, a notoriously windy spot, with blue skies to the west and solid clouds in the valley to the east. Warm climbing up the very mellow Crawford Path, slowly easing onto the frosty ridgeline. A reverse temperature inversion was in effect, and at 4000 feet the temps were in the 20s, it was very windy, and the rime was everywhere. We decided to save Pierce for the way back, and after adding a few layers (really, a T-shirt was a little optimistic at this point), we pressed on toward Eisenhower. In a matter of a few minutes the clouds burned off the ridge and we were in warm sunshine, climbing out of the inversion layer into a toasty thirty-something, though it was still plenty breezy. Eisenhower is above the treeline, with a great 360° view, and Washington beckoning just 2.5 miles away. Back to Pierce, then down a different trail to the Mitzpah Hut, and back. Stats: about 8.5 miles, 3100 feet of climbing, about 6 hours.

Take 2: November 13th. Destination: Webster and Jackson. It had been a snowy week in NH, but the big snow in Massachusetts slowed us down on the way out of town. Dry road in N.H., no snow on the trail until about 3,000 feet. It was cool, in the twenties. The final approach to Webster got icy, but was easily doable. The top was a 30-40 mph wind, and very very cold. Quick snack on Webster, across the ridge to Jackson, which was easy till the last pitches to the top, which were all ice. Again the wind and cold drove us off the top in short order, and the descent was all ice for the next mile (over an hour just for that!). Very interesting. The views were unsurpassed: absolutely perfect visibility, almost no clouds all day. Stats: 6.5 miles, 5 1/4 hrs, 2500 feet. No speed with all of that ice!

David White on Crawford Path

The very mellow Crawford Path up to Pierce.

Up on the ridge by Pierce, 3 seconds before adding a few layers!

David White on Pierce

Jon Denekamp feeding the Gray Jay

Taking turns feeding the gray
jays on the ridge near Pierce.
OK, so maybe we aren't supposed
to do this. The birds don't mind.

Feeding the Jay

Eisenhower Mountain slowly popped out of the clouds as we approached from Pierce

Mt. Eisenhower

Some Views From the Top of Eisenhower

Presidentials from Mt. Eisenhower

From the left: Adams, Jefferson, Washington, with Monroe and Franklin in the right foreground.

Up above the clouds on top of Eisenhower

David White on Eisenhower
Jon Denekamp on Eisenhower

Jon on top of Eisenhower, with Washington in the backgound

Dave on Eisenhower, with Franklin, Monroe, and Washington over his left shoulder

David White with Mt. Washington behind


Looking back towards Pierce, covered with rime ice, finally out of the clouds

The Hike up Webster and Jackson

David White at Silver Cascade Brook

The ice falls on Silver Cascade Brook

Willey & Field

Willey (left) and Field (right)

Jon on the icy approach to the summit of Jackson

Jon on Jackson

Panorama from Jackson

The panorama to the north, from the left: Pierce, Eisenhower, Washington
(with Monroe in front of it)

Close up view of the top of Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington

David White on Jackson

Dave on top of Mt. Jackson

Jon on top of Jackson, Washington and Tuckerman's Ravine over his left shoulder

Jon Denekamp on Jackson

Presidential Range

A final view of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range