Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mt Avalon 2-16-08

Mt Avalon - 3,442'
3.8 miles, 1,542' elevation gain, 3-1/2 hours
Mark, Nat, Jamie

Arrived for our February winter vacation at AMC Highland Center and decided to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon for a hike up Mt Avalon. We did this one before in October of '06 and the upper 2/3 of the trail was snow and ice even though it was a 50 degree fall day! This time there was about a 4 ft snow base (the White Mountains have gotten burried this year). Trail was well packed but must have been recent since a trail report from 2 days before on VFFT said that trail was unbroken that morning. Probably could have bare booted as long as you didn't get at all off trail. Snowshoes were a good idea anyway for the steep sections and since the spur path to the summit was unbroken. The temperature was in the mid-teens with little to no wind. Blue sunny skies. A perfect winter day.

Started out at about noon.

The trees were heavily snow coated. A real winter wonderland.

Trees were frequently hanging low over path between the snow load and depth of snow on the trail.

Jamie got cold hands about a 1/4 mile before the summit and didn't want to go on. I made a dash to the top while Nat stayed with her. The spur path to the summit was not broken and was a bit of a plod. The steep section along the last part of the summit ledge was quite slippery - top layer of snow sliding over the icy rock below. A few scrambles got me over the top. Forgot to get the camera out for a shot of this section.

The summit views were beautiful. Second time up here and can't wait to do it again. No place with better views for this amount of effort

This one looking down Crawford Notch is my favorite.

Had to get a shot at the summit but there was no place to put the tripod for the camera. Sat the camera on top of the pack and set the timer. On the first try I hit the shutter and then tried to step straight back. This doesn't work so well in snowshoes. The heels went into the snow, my knees folded together and I wound up staring into the camera from about a foot away. Deleted that one... This one turned out a bit better.

Came down from the summit after a few minutes to get back to Jamie and Nat. The spur path down was even more fun. Did something that was between a glissade and riding a mini avalanche most of the way back to the main trail. Wasn't sure I was going to stop!

Nat came up for a few minutes after I went back down. She and I both did a couple of more slides down the steep section of the trail.

Jamie was really suffering with very cold fingers and we really should have turned around sooner. Hopefully learned a lesson here. We made a quick retreat down and Jamie actually ran most of it without her showshoes. By the time we were down she had warmed up again and was back to her old self. Better results for her with skiing the next day and the hiking the rest of the week. Back at Highland Center in about 3-1/2 hours.

Complete photo album is here:
Mt Avalon 2-16-08

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