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View Full Version : Mt Madison - Yes! :D - Mar 5th, 2009



corey.mcentyre
03-07-2009, 11:49 PM
First off .. thank you again Brad for a ride north and a truck to drive and great advice on hikes and to Bill for a place to stay.

Photos for this trip (its a public link):
Photos and comments (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2017857&id=1379500386&l=670ab)

I had watched the weather and saw a day developing that looked like it had all the pieces I wanted: lots of sun, low(ish) wind, and reasonable temperatures. I had grand plans of hiking Madison and then knocking off Adams as well to make up for my Gray Knob trip (I skipped it then due to lack of good/safe winter gear).

My day began with a 4am wakeup and a target departure of 4:30. Why is it I always leave 10 minutes after my target regardless of my target?? ;-)

The trailhead had a wonderful 8' snow wall (pic has Brad's truck to show scale). I was the second car in the lot and feeling very good about arriving on time (6:30). I started out as a bare boot with my new Nuptse's. There is no way Al can knock my boots now. ;-) The summits are mine! Sorry.

The Valley Way trail was very well packed out for the first 2-3 miles despite all the snow that had fallen in the preceding days. I found myself following a set of small snowshoe tracks, but was otherwise alone in the woods. After a few gentle slopes, the trail begins a long steady climb and I decided to break out the snowshoes. Mostly, I was looking forward to the feel of the heel risers easing the angle of incline on my calves. I also started to notice some impressive post holes along the sides of the trail (some 2-3' deep - must be fun getting out of those).

About 2 miles in, my left heel riser snapped with a pop. I took a picture just so I could show Atlas. My story is that the cold was so severe and my legs so powerful that the poor wimpy steel could not compete. It has absolutely nothing to do with how much I weigh. Really. I did briefly ponder if this was enough of an equipment issue to stop my attempt and decided it was merely a comfort thing and not a safety item. I hiked on with one heel riser - no reason my right leg should suffer as a result of my left's incompetence, right?

With about a mile left, the trail becomes steep, the snow becomes deep, the trees become small, and for no reason at all, the wind picks up and the temperature drops. It feels like the mountain is trying to make sure I understand who is in charge. It was also at this point that I was passed by one of those annoying hikers - you know the type: strong, not winded, friendly, moving faster uphill then you do on the flats, and at least 20 years your senior - yeah, he was 50 or 60-something. Punk.

I popped out above treeline to a deep snow drift wonderland. I have no idea where the trail is, so I just follow the quickly disappearing super-hiker tracks and soon find myself at Madison Hut (9:45). Why on earth these things are not left open as self-serve during the winter is beyond me, so I did the next best thing and hid in a back corner to decide what to do next.

Super-hiker arrived after hiking out to look at Star Lake (yeah, I was that far behind him - what of it?). He introduced himself and turned out to be a super nice guy. Chris Karr. He lives in Montpelier, Vermont, and like me had decided today was too nice to miss. On a side note, he doesn't do computers .. so I'll have to snail mail some of the photos I took to him and I couldn't quite talk him into joining a forum or the MWO. But, I tried. ;-)

We both agreed that doing the summit would be a little scary, but if we teamed up, it would be much safer. A LONG .4 mile later, we stood on the summit of Madison with clear skies, and a bitter cold wind. I took pictures of everything and Chris was kind enough to snap two of me. It was now that I discovered he's practically blind as he aimed the camera and then decided to pull out the coke bottle glasses (blind and 20 years older and still kicks my butt - ugh). The summit cone was very icy but the rocks were dry and we cautiously "rock hopped" our way up and back.

We returned to our hiding spot behind Madison and enjoyed a hot lunch and talked. I mentioned I planned on sliding on my butt for a large portion of the descent and he clearly thought I was nuts. He said I should go ahead as he likes to descend slowly and we said our goodbyes. I didn't see him again despite several stops to change layers and one long one to make water (didn't bring enough).

All in all, it was a very nice day. I finished it off with a drive to visit an old HS buddy and his family in Vermont and spent a couple of days enjoying their company. My last picture was Mt Washington from the Hotel driveway on my way back along 302.

I hope you like the pics (its a facebook public link - they have been having some photo issues so it may be unavailable on occasion until they fix whatever the problem is).

Until my next adventure above tree line...
-Corey

mtruman
03-08-2009, 07:48 AM
Great TR and pictures Corey! Looks like it was an awesome day. Too bad about the riser breaking. I'm sure that didn't do anything to make the way up easier :(. I'm sure I speak for all of us "50-60 something punks" when I say I enjoyed hearing the story of "super-hiker". Just remember - if you hang in there long enough you'll be there too (right Brad?) ;)

krummholz
03-08-2009, 10:01 AM
I really enjoyed the humorous commentary, especially about that "punk" super-hiker! I loved the picture of him waiting for his water to boil. One very important point, though--the picture of you on the summit is a complete silhouette, so how do we know for sure that's really you?:)

CHRIS
03-08-2009, 10:39 AM
Great T/R and pictures. Looks like you had a nice and exhausting day to hike. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

CHRIS
03-08-2009, 12:43 PM
Corey I noticed in your pictures you had the Jet Boil. Are you happy with it? I'm asking because I was thinking of ordering one. Thanks

Brad
03-08-2009, 04:40 PM
Corey I noticed in your pictures you had the Jet Boil. Are you happy with it? I'm asking because I was thinking of ordering one. Thanks
Oh my goodness - you asked him THAT QUESTION! He will go on and on how great it is here and waste all sorts of disk space. You did notice his water was boiled first. But, he did not mention that he had less water in his bowl. . .

TrishandAlex
03-08-2009, 05:53 PM
Congrats! Sounds like you had a great day out there. :D

corey.mcentyre
03-08-2009, 08:32 PM
Corey I noticed in your pictures you had the Jet Boil. Are you happy with it? I'm asking because I was thinking of ordering one. Thanks

Depsite Brad's concerns, I do have to promote a great little gadget. I love my JetBoil. You buy a little fuel canister and it all fits together in the cup. It is very fast as well. I would say there are two potential drawbacks:


If the spark ignite fails you are w/o a stove. It has never failed me, but next time I will bring some matches to be safe.
It has a hard time lighting in the wind. I will probably invest in a wind shield.


I also have to promote the food ..
Its the perfect size to go with the Mountain House Pro Packs. Every one I have tried has been amazing.

See Brad, I kept it short. ;-p

CHRIS
03-09-2009, 06:56 AM
Thanks Corey For the fast reply. I do believe that is the one I am going to get. Also thanks for the heads up on the Mountain House I am going to have to give them a try. Thanks again.

corey.mcentyre
03-09-2009, 06:15 PM
Just an FYI for folks looking at buying snowshoes. I sent an email to Atlas telling them about the riser and they emailed back the following day and offered to send me a new one. I sent my thanks along for both the quick response and free replacement. I happened to mention that I would probably hit up EMS to see if they sold them so I could carry a spare (don't want to be left on a mountain side again with the decision of "go / no go" due to equipment failure).

They replied again: "we'll send you two". :-D

Awesome. Atlas just earned themselves a lifetime customer.

CHRIS
03-09-2009, 06:38 PM
Now that is good customers relations good for you. I took your advice and purchased a Jetboil today the kit that comes with a frying pan,utensils and the stabilizers etc. I also ordered in a package of beef stew from mountain house to try and a cannister of fuel. After the 20% discount and my dividend I only had to pay 14.00. Way cool.

KD Talbot
03-09-2009, 07:16 PM
Nice going, Corey! Hope to check this one off this week!

KDT

corey.mcentyre
03-09-2009, 08:42 PM
Nice going, Corey! Hope to check this one off this week!

Have a blast. If you will not be wearing crampons up top, step carefully. There were literally rivers of ice just below/around the hut and in-between the rocks on the way up the climb using Osgood. If there is any of this new snow left, either of these may be hidden.

corey.mcentyre
03-09-2009, 08:51 PM
I took your advice and purchased a Jetboil today the kit that comes with a frying pan,utensils and the stabilizers etc. I also ordered in a package of beef stew from mountain house to try and a cannister of fuel. After the 20% discount and my dividend I only had to pay 14.00. Way cool.

It is a good idea to play with the ignition and gas from the comfort of home before trying it in the middle of nowhere ;-) I know it took me a bit to get good at adjusting the flow and getting a light.

I thought of another small drawback. I was unable to operate it with thick gloves on, so had to open the valve with just thin liners. I haven't had to do this in extreme weather so it hasn't been a huge issue for me, but it might for some of the hard core types (it is a bear to turn on when really cold - either that or I am way too aggressive when I turn it off).

Have fun!! (my fav is Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce)