Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Pierce, NH
Trails: Valley Way, Osgood Trail, Gulfside, Airline, Lowe's Path, Israel Ridge Trail, Jefferson Loop, Trinity Heights Connector, Crawford Path, Monroe Loop, Eisenhower Loop, Webster Cliff Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Only one car at Appalachia at 5:30 am, when I got dropped off. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Drifts 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Light Traction, Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes:  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: My stars were apparently aligned. The goal was a Presi Traverse, but with predicted gusts in the 50 mph range later in the day, I expected the winds to get too strong for my liking so gave myself less than a 50% chance of success. Having done the Presi many times in the past--albeit never in January and never solo in winter--I knew all the possible bailout options and was equipped with snowshoes should I have to drop down one of the side trails. Fancypants most generously spent the morning "on call" should he need to pick me up at the Cog, Pinkham, or wherever. Then, when we knew I'd make it all the way through, he hiked up to the Pierce-Eisenhower col mid afternoon to meet me.

Started off in Hillsound spikes and wore them all the way to the summit of Washington. Valley Way had been well broken out such that the snowshoes remained on my pack. Snow/ice was mostly of the styrofoam variety and made for easy walking. Most importantly, there was *hardly any wind* up there, with readings in the teens and low 20s until mid afternoon! Conditions for Madison and Adams were pretty near perfect for January. The trek over to Jefferson had the usual snowy spots in the krummholz, but those had been broken out and thus did not warrant taking the time to switch back and forth between snowshoes and spikes. The snowfields on Jefferson are shaping up nicely.

Coming off Jeff I met my first two hikers of the day, Tim and Sarah. We were all incredulous that on such a nice day there was no one else up there! Crossing Monticello Lawn was downright warm, the sun shining in full force. I had to unzip my wind pants for ventilation and in fact was in shirtsleeves from Edmands Col to the top of Washington! I laughed about all the gear (weight!) in my pack that remained unused this day: hooded parka, face masks, goggles, big mitts, snowshoes...

I skirted Mt. Clay although in retrospect I think it is safer to go over the top as opposed to negotiating some of the steeper terrain on Gulfside. (Next time!) Conditions got icier approaching George, but I waited until the top to switch to full crampons, which were probably not absolutely necessary; I just feel a whole lot safer wearing real crampons in such conditions. Descending toward the hut, I began meeting more folks, including the "Slow N Steady" group, who looked like they were having way too much fun. :)

On top of Monroe, the wind picked up as predicted, clouds and grey gradually replacing sunny blue skies. Monroe to Eisenhower was the least travelled of the entire route, and there were spots where snowshoes would have made for easier walking, but again, just not worth the time and trouble to keep switching back and forth. Saw lots of fox tracks around Mt. Franklin. Eisenhower was getting windy, but fortunately it was a tail wind that nudged me up and over the summit. Trail in the trees between Ike and Pierce was well broken and fast. Fancypants met me in here -- we climbed Pierce and descended Crawford Path together. Normally I do Jackson as part of a Presi but intentionally saved that for a calendar day that I "need" this week.

After kicking myself for not doing the Presi Traverse on Friday, Jan. 8, I feel very lucky and thankful to have been able to pull it off before the end of the month. Thanks to the mountain gods! It was an amazingly gorgeous day up there!  
Name: Snowflea 
E-Mail: muddylegs2004 at yahoo dot com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-01-25 
Link: https:// 
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