A grand day out in the Northern Presidentials
Had grand plans for Saturday to try out a new route (for me) for Jefferson in Winter and add Adams as a bonus. Namely Lowes Path-Randolph Path-Gulfside-Jefferson Loop then back along the Gulfside to Adams and down Lowes.
Ended up turning around on the Gulfside on the way up Jefferson when I came to a chute that had obviously avalanched at some point. Though a few folk had obviously traversed it I chose not to. I was solo and did not have crampons nor ice axe. Even if the remaining top slab was solid a slip and un-arrested fall would have nasty consequences.
Having just about run out of steam at that point was also a factor :) I headed back along the Gulfside trying to make my mind up about Adams. My legs were shot. I had had too little sleep prior to an early start and 220 mile drive to the Whites. I was also suffering that 'just can't face food' problem and was not getting enough fuel into my old body.
Was caught up to by a group of hikers most of whom I knew personally or by reputation. Some had started the day heading up Washington via Lions Head and two were on a full Traverse having started at Crawford Notch. We chatted a while, but I knew I would not be staying with this pack!
At Thunderstorm Junction I rested briefly then made off for Adams Summit. Having come this far how could I not? At least I knew it was a short hop and no dissapointing false summits along the way.
Grand views taken in and pictures taken of and then time to head down. I knew my legs and feet would be nagging the rest of the day... and they did :)
So, the route would make a fine summer loop and on the right day in winter a feasible alternative. Randolph Path had not seen much traffic and the sidehill sections above the ravines were tiring with the unbroken slope. On an icy day traction and caution would be necessary.
Looking at my pictures there seems to be a snowfield path making a beeline from Edmands Col to the Castle Trail and avoiding the steep section of the Gulfside and the chute. Might have to go check that out sometime soon.
If you are thinking of heading up to the mountains don;t be fooled by the valley conditions. I started out in shorts and tank top but was in full winter gear up top, mainly due to the wind. Sunscreen and sungalsses a must but thankfully no bugs!
Pics can be found HERE