Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three-fer: North and South Kinsman and Cannon

There are times when a slideshow is better than 1,000,000,000 words. This slideshow follows us up to Lonesome Lake, Kinsman Pond, North then South Kinsman. After that we camped at Kinsman Pond, leaving early in the morning to pop over the infamous Cannonballs, summit Cannon Mountain, and return via Lonesome Lake.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Passaconaway, Carrigain and thoughts on Winter Hiking

 This last weekend we hiked Carrigain and the weekend before we did Passaconaway – that makes two weekends in a row that were just phenomenally perfect! The weather on both days was clear, the views spectacular. The leaves are at peak color and every view you have is better than the rest. Every corner you turn, the trail just looks more fantastic. This being New England however, the temperatures between the two weekends were radically different. Two weeks ago it was 75 degrees this week, 45. While we ate lunch in our t-shirts and shorts on Passaconaway we retreated from the rime-ice covered Carrigain summit to have lunch huddled behind some stunted firs on Signal Ridge. Wearing our fleeces and soft shells it was still way too cold. But we enjoyed watching the high clouds flying over the Presidential range and occasionally glimpsed Mt. Washington.

This weekend was the first time I've ever seen rime ice. It coated everything on the North side of Carrigain's summit and really made me think twice about winter summiting. We'd started our climb in shorts and long sleeve t-shirts but here at only 4700 ft it was cold enough to make ice. Imagine how cold it would be on top if is was snowing below. Image how cold it was at the top of Mt Washington only 50 miles North and 2000 feet higher. Image how much you'd have to carry in your pack to cover the possibilities! There are dead bodies all over Mt. Everest. I'd been reading about some of them in The Lost Explorer and other mountaineering books and the reason for it is often because they were not prepared for the mountain. While you probably won't stumble upon any dead bodies in the Whites, you will stumble across lots of unprepared hikers, and unless you carry a lot of extra gear – you could easily be one of those very hikers/bodies. Alarmist, but true – read Not Without Peril.

But – its so good to be hiking, and now that the Whites are in my backyard, I can't imagine not going for an entire season. It's time to gear up for winter hiking!