View Full Version : And Then There Were None... Mounts Madison and Adams for a Winter Finish 3/17/12

KD Talbot
03-19-2012, 08:43 PM
King Ravine Undercast

Mount Adams 5799' and Mount Madison 5366'

Airline/Gulfside/Osgood/Valley Way

9.9 Miles 5050' Elevation gain

Tim L, Matt D, Earl & Sue, Mike C, Kim S, Hui Yeng C, Mark, Val, Ali, Mark, Nat Judy and Emma, Dave, Chuck and Mark

"If I make a mark in time
I can't say the mark is mine
I'm only the underline
of the word"

Cat Stevens

I was always told as I was growing up, "You never know what you can do until you set your mind to it." These words have rung true for me over the last week. When I set out to try some winter hiking what seems an age ago now, I never had the thought of completing the winter 48. In February, on my birthday, I made it over what in my mind was a huge hurdle by checking the Bonds and Zealand off my list. That is when I fully realized that completing the list was within my reach. Over the next few weeks I watched the weather closely and waited. I have to admit I was waiting for the perfect day to tackle what was left on my list, the Northern Presidentials. Having spent several weeks on the summit of Mount Washington volunteering for the MW Obsevatory in the dead of winter had made me a little gun shy. I was all too familiar with what the winter could bring on these high summits, and I had no intentions of risking it all for a list. I also knew that on the right day my wife and dog could join me in relative safety, if not for all the peaks, then at least for some.

Undercast From Durand Ridge

Last Monday the chance finally came and we were able to make it to Mounts Washington and Jefferson to bring me within two of finishing. It was a wonderful, beautiful, warm day above tree-line, and I thank those who joined us for their patience with my slow pace as I was not feeling very well that day. The following Saturday had an excellent forecast and we decided to make an attempt at my last two, Mounts Adams and Madison. Saturday morning we met in the Appalachia parking lot with some good friends who were going to join us. Tim L had come to cheer me on as I had done for him on Mount Jefferson earlier in the week as he finished his single season winter 48. Also present was new acquaintance Matt D. Two more who joined us were our friends Mark and Nat Truman. Having them all along made me feel great.

Airline Trail

We set out from Appalachia in mud. Soon it became patchy ice as we ascended along the Airline Trail. Patchy ice soon became an ice sidewalk. We were engulfed in fog which hung heavy and made it difficult to breathe. It was ridiculously warm. Then some disappointing things happened. Emma slipped as she skidded across the ice and re-injured an old, nagging injury on her right, hind leg. The trail ahead of us was one long ice bulge. Judy decided that she would have to turn back with Emma, and it was painfully obvious it was the right thing to do. She had been to Washington and Jefferson with us and did well with no lasting effects, there was no need to push her on this hike, or on any hike for that matter.

Across King Ravine From Durand Ridge

I was in a quandary, should I turn back with them and try another day? Of course the answer was a resounding "NO! We'll be fine, just go!" The Trumans were so incredibly kind as to turn around and hike down with them, much to my relief. I am greatly indebted for this. I was saddened that none of them could now join me at the summits, but relieved as well that they were together and would be safe. Matt, Tim and I donned the crampons and continued up the ice bulge that was a at least a quarter mile long. Later I learned from others that the Valley Way had no such issues and I felt bad I had not chosen that way. Judy and I had hoped to use snowshoes and televators which we could have done on Valley Way, but we had both also agreed that neither of us wanted to ascend that way, that Airline would be preferable. So, there were mixed feelings about what had transpired.

Diapensia Mats on Durand Ridge

After ascending the ice bulge and forging through the thinning forest for awhile we could see we had risen above the fog and we now caught some filtered views through the trees of the Weeks, Plinys and Mahoosucs distant peaks rising above the undercast fog. We soon stepped out of the scrub onto the first rocky outcrop on Durand Ridge and had a look around. The scene was incredible, with a near complete undercast to our north and west, and the snow-filled headwall of King Ravine rising up from the rocky floor below us. I was saddened that those who had started out with us did not get this enthralling experience. A quick look up the ridge told me there was still much work to do. The sun was feeling very hot now that we were out of the shade of the trees.


KD Talbot
03-19-2012, 08:43 PM
On Mount Adams # 47 by Tim L.

Just before we had left the scrub another hiker had caught us. It was a nephew of Judy's sister, with his dad and another cousin. It was totally random that we were on the same trail on the same mountain at the same time. We laughed and enjoyed the views together for awhile, and met again on the summit of Adams. I continued to slog along at the best pace I could keep. Luckily for me, there was plenty to look at in the surrounding scenery, which kept Tim and Matt occupied while I moved like a snail up towards Mount Adams. As we approached the summit, we were caught by some more friends, Mark T, Val C and Ali. Before too long we were standing on Mount Adams. I could hardly believe I was now at #47, one away from finishing!

Mount Washington, The Great Gulf and Mount Jefferson

While on the summit we were joined by Earl and Sue, and again by Dave and company. After some food, lots of pictures and some celebrating we began the trip down to Madison Springs Hut where we would regroup and head up to Mount Madison. Mount Adams was Ali's #47 all season, so we would finish our lists together on Madison. As I had hoped, on the way down from Adams we crossed paths with Kim S, Mike C and Hui Yeng C who I knew would be out there this day. They were on a trip from Madison to Monroe, where Kim wand Hui Yeng would finish their winter lists. Mike finished his the next day on Moosilauke, with Kim and Hui Yeng in attendance. Such strong hikers! Congratulations to all! Further down, we ran into Glenn S and Deb S, it was great to see them as well!

Mount Washington, JQ Adams and Star Lake

As we approached the hut we kept an eye out for Star the Moose, but she was not to be seen this day. We stopped and had some food and drink in the hot sun by the hut, flies buzzed us as we ate. It was hard to believe it was March 17! We decided to leave some equipment at the hut, but carried our packs up to the summit. As we approached the true summit the others allowed Ali and I to reach it first as they snapped pictures. As I stood on the rock which holds the summit pin I felt a great relief that this was finally over, but I also knew that I had to get back down to my car for it to be truly over. I was as happy for Ali completing her all season list as I was for myself finally completing my winter 48. I would not consider myself a strong hiker, and it had been a long, hard fought battle, probably harder for me mentally with all the things that had gone on in my life over the years that this took to accomplish. It ws physically hard for me, but mentally harder, I was greatly relieved.

Mark and Val Approach the Summit of Mount Madison

Ali Gets Her Chocolate Award From Val for Her All Season 48! Yay Ali!

At the hut we had another banquet, mostly goodies that Val had lugged up to celebrate for us with. I was feeling mighty fine! The trip down Valley Way was uneventful and went well. When we got down low it was apparent that spring was taking hold in the valleys. The Snyder Brook was letting go of its ice, there was mud along the trail and it smelled like spring! Back at the car the Truman's waited with Judy and Emma. They had been off to hike in Pinkham Notch while Judy and Emma went back to the motel to rest Emma's sore leg. I knew now that I was done!

Another Look Over to Mount Washington

Many scenes flashed through my mind from the hikes that brought me to this point. Martens on the Hancocks and Mount Flume. Snowshoe Hare on Carter Dome. Fogbow on North Twin. Beautiful spring-like days on Lincoln, Moosilauke and Washington/Jefferson. Thick impenetrable fog on Monroe. Clearing skies on West Bond. Walking out in moonlit snowscapes on the Carters and Bonds. Turning around more than once on South Kinsman, Carrigain, Osceola. Unconsolidated sugar snow on East Osceola and Mount Flume. Belly crawling up Pine Bend Brook Trail through bent over frozen birch branches to the summit of North Tripyramid. Up to my chin in spruce traps on Waumbek and Wildcat A. Birch glades on the way to Isolation. Many Grayjays along the way.

Late Afternoon, Early Spring on Snyder Brook

All in all, it was a great experience! Each hike had lessons and individual merit! Thanks to all who led trips we joined over the years, and to all who joined us on trips as we went! Another bit of wisdom passed on to me as I grew up was often repeated by my mom: "When one door closes, another one opens." I look forward now to passing through that next door!

Madison Behind Me Now! By Tim L

Full set of pics HERE: (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Madison-and-Adams-for-Winter/22008390_nB7T52#!i=1756360275)


Snow Miser
03-20-2012, 07:45 AM
Congratulations to you and Ali on a huge accomplishment! What great weather both of you had to finish your lists. Good luck passing through the next door. May it be an even better experience than this last one! :)

I hope Emma didn't injure her leg too badly, and that she bounces back quickly. Please keep us informed.

03-20-2012, 07:51 AM
Congratulations Kevin!!!!!!

What a spectacular day. We were over on Moosilauke and I was wondering which day (Saturday or Sunday) you would get it done.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
03-21-2012, 10:23 AM
Congratulations on attaining your goal. It is wonderful when our dreams become a reality. Wonderful story and photos! Hope Emma heals quickly so she can continue to hike with you.


KD Talbot
03-21-2012, 10:29 AM
The best part of it all has been the folks that have cheered me on along the way! Glad you've been there for me. The journey has taken me from the depths to the heights figuratively as well as literally. I'm glad I had you for friends along the way!


03-25-2012, 08:00 AM
I'm sorry that I am late to the party, I don't get much time to read all of the threads so I try to catch up on Sunday Mornings.

Congratulations Kevin, it was fun to follow you along your journey...