|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams, NH|
||Caps Ridge Trail, Gulfside, The Cornice|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, September 14, 2018|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Arrived Cap Ridge Trailhead at 9AM; 7 other cars in the lot. Jefferson Notch Road has some potholes and washboard sections but in great shape overall. The drive is a gradual ascent from Base Station Rd to the Caps Ridge Trail head parking lot. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Boardwalks through mud/wet sections. All good. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The yellow markers along Caps Ridge trail need re-painting. While it's somewhat intuitive getting up the caps, bright markers would assure you weren't heading to a dead-end. Otherwise, the cairns from the 2nd cap to the summit are prominent.
Caps Ridge sign is blown over at the The Link junction. Boardwalks in good shape.
Cairns along the The Cornice and Gulfside are well placed and numerous. |
||3 happy dogs on Mt Adams. |
||No mosquitos or black flies at trail head or along the hike. Plenty of grasshoppers though. |
|Lost and Found:
||Caps Ridge Trail|
Starts off easy with boardwalks, soft/flat sections and ascends moderately through short trees. I breezed through the first mile but the Caps definitely slowed me down. The climbs through the Caps aren't too difficult. There was just one ledge that required an all-points hold but even then the angle/height was mild. Overall, just a lot of scrambling.
The cairns from The Cornice junction to the summit are well placed and offer a direct and steady route to the top.
The descent to Edmunds Col and distance to Mt Adams looks imposing but the climb down from Jefferson was moderate. From the Col to junction below Adams is also fairly even with multiple flat sections (but lots of rock hopping). This stretch is beautiful and I stopped more than usual to snap photos. The climb up Mt Adams is one big pile of rocks marked by small cairns.
Return on The Cornice
Decided on The Cornice because I wear out more quickly on steep climbs than long/technical sections. There were so many hikers along the Gulfside so The Cornice would also provide a more peaceful return. The trail is very well marked with numerous cairns all the way to Caps Ridge Trail. You have to rock-hop blaze from one cairn to the other. The trail keeps to a consistent elevation so there aren't any extreme ups-n-downs. If you plot your rock-hopping carefully you can carve out a fairly even return. But take heed of the AMC guide- this trail is very rugged and doesn't really offer an "easier" return to the Caps Ridge trail. Despite how ominous the climb back up Jefferson may look (especially when tired), The Cornice seemed to require as much exertion. It looks tempting on the map but it's grueling. Also, I hiked this at the end of the afternoon and the western sun was relentless. All that being said it was nice having a trail to myself on what was a very crowded mountain.
Return on Caps Ridge Trail
Navigating down the Caps isnt too bad. There are solid foot and hand holds throughout. While Im pretty sure I didn't follow a marked route it was never difficult plotting your way down the Caps. After a rocky day, you'll welcome those flat(ish), soft stretches below the Caps.
||Young Parisians |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.