Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snowshoeing to Mount Pierce

There were high winds in the forecast and I was thinking of maybe doing a sheltered hike today but went ahead with my plans for a hike to Mount Pierce. The morning sky was clear with a third quarter moon, 50% of full, hanging above the summits on the way to the trailhead.

 Early morning moon

 Third Quarter Moon 50% of full hangs over the mountains

 Ready to hike

When I arrived at the trailhead parking lot there were two other vehicles, others started arriving as I geared up. There was a small group of hikers then a large group that left before me so I took my time getting ready giving them a good head start.

 Large chunks of snow falling from the trees

 Someone else's posthole

The next decision was snowshoes on or off. I took a short walk on the trail and while there was no postholing there was loose powder so I decided to go with snowshoes on. Trail conditions turned out to be great for snowshoes and it was a car to car snowshoe hike. 

 First view from the Crawford Path

 Mount Washington summit

 Mount Washington Hotel

As I made my way up the trail I passed the large group of hikers and then the small group. Along the way I started noticing big chunks of snow on the trail that had been blown out of the trees by the wind and hoping one of them didn't come down on my head. There wasn't much I was going to do to prevent that so I just considered it to be one of the minor hazards of winter hiking and continued on.

 Mount Chocorua

 Attitash ski slopes

 Summit is just ahead

When I reached the Mizpah Cutoff trail junction I did a quick layer change swapping my damp ones for dry anticipating the wind that would be at the summit. I also wanted to try out my new EMS Ascent jacket. This was not going to be a loop hike today and I stayed on the Crawford Path.

Getting closer to the summit

 Mount Carrigain

This section of the Crawford Path is a beautiful hike through woods full of trees laden with heavy snow. It's an easy climb as scenic views begin to appear. The trail emerges into a clearing where I expected a strong wind to be blowing but it was not bad at all. I stopped for a snack and a photo. There were other hikers along the trail here enjoying the views.

 On the summit

I reached the trail junction and made a right turn to the summit. It was sunny with a bright white covering of snow on everything as I made my way up. The wind was very tolerable and I did not consider it an issue at all. After reaching the summit I dropped down on the other side to capture a few photos of the southern views. After wandering around on the summit for a bit I began my descent back.

 Bretton Woods ski slopes

 Easy under

 Walk around blowdown

This peak was a very popular destination today and I stepped aside for many hikers making their ascent. I was glad to have gotten an early start because the cloud cover was building although the summits were always in the clear. It was a pleasant hike down the Crawford Path and I arrived to a very full parking lot.

With mild temperatures, great trail conditions, and awesome views the wind was really not a factor today. It was a spectacular day for a hike to Mount Pierce.

Panoramic view from Mount Pierce

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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