Mount Moriah 4049’
10 miles 3150’ Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma
We couldn't have asked for a nicer winter day in the mountains. The temps were in the thirties with very light winds. For the most part there were few clouds except those that hung like a wooley blanket over the Northern Presidentials and hid them from our view for the length of our hike. Trail conditions were interesting. The rain and freezing rain had formed a nice crust over the snowshoe packed trail. Snowshoes and crampons would have been overkill so we opted for our latest trick, Kahtoola Micro-Spikes. We tried Yak-Traks last year with terrible results, each of us breaking one on our first hike with them. I had read good revues about the Micro-Spikes so for Christmas we each found a pair from Santa under our tree. On this hike these proved their worth and then some. We were very happy with this product and would highly suggest them for those in between conditions when snowshoes are too much and crampons wouldn't work well. Crossing the Stony Brook at the trailhead and rising up through the forest on the brook's namesake trail, we soon found ourselves at the first water crossing. We had wondered about the difficulty of the water crossings on this trail due to the rain the night before and the high, snow melting temps of the previous week. Although the brook was wide open, the first crossing was easy and we were soon on our way along the old logging trail, through deciduous forest, on our way to the next crossing. The trees were bare and there were actually bare patches of ground along the trail. At the next crossing the trail begins to climb and at the third crossing it becomes more or less steep, although not terrible. Each crossing see's the size of the brook shrink considerably as it starts it's way down the mountainside to join the Peabody River below. As Emma forged on ahead of us up the steeps, she sent tiny avalanches of broken ice tinkling down the trail towards us like shards of broken glass. We eventually came to that spot that every hiker loves where you look up and see sky and sunlight behind the trees and you know that you have reached the ridge. The sun shone warm in the col between The Imp and Mount Moriah and the trees on the east side of the mountain were dripping water from the previous nights freeze. We stopped long enough to put on some extra layers because to this point I had been hiking in just a long sleeve polypro shirt. As we began to climb from the col, the freezing rain from the night before became immediately apparant. It had coated the trees in beautful glaze ice that gave the impression that the entire scene had been created in a glassblowers dream. Crossing the ledges on the way to the summit became tricky business and Emma took a few slips and slides along the way. Though the rocks were coated in an inch or two of glaze ice we were able to move carefully across them in our Micro-Spikes. Emma had to be helped over a few short sections of glaze where we were afraid that if she started sliding back she might get hurt. Chalk up another reason for having a small dog, when in doubt, pick her up and carry her. This is about the only time I can remember doing this with Emma, and she would much rather do it herself. It is very undignified for someone of her experience to be picked up, thrown over my shoulder and helped along a few feet of ice, but it was for the best as her utmost safety is the first thing we take into account on any hike. We hiked our way north along the more or less flat ridge of Moriah, passing through glazed trees, then back onto glazed ledges until we made our way to the open summit where we had sat on a beautiful May morning months before and took in the surrounding beauty with no one but the birds to intrude. This day was similar in that we were again alone, though the scenery had drastically changed. Alas, we did not linger as on that glorious day last May, but stayed long enough to breath in the views before making our way back down to the glade just below the summit where we could have our lunch out of the wind. After lunch we made our way back across the ridge and were again taken by the surrounding beauty as we stared in wide wonder at each new scene as it unfolded before us. On our way down we ran into Marc Howes and learned he had made the Wildcat/Carter Traverse, was going to finish up on Moriah and needed a ride back to his car at Wildcat. After some confusion on my part we decided to wait for him in the parking lot and we were able to give him a ride which was greatly appreciated. Always glad to help a fellow hiker!
Great stuff Kevin
aren't those micro spikes great for those kind of hikes?
Are these the MicroSpikes that you have? http://www.kahtoola.com/microspikes.html
Originally Posted by billysinc
They look like they would work a lot better than StabilIcers or YakTrax. What kind of conditions do you find them best for?
What a perfect day for a winter hike! We're going to be in the Whites for 5 days in February and are praying for a day or two like this one. Awesome photos as always Kevin
Those are the ones. For me I would say sections where the trail has already been broken out by snowshoes or where the snow is under 4-6", softer icy sections where you wouldn't need to front point, mixed snow/rock. I say softer ice because the spikes are only like 3/8 long and are allowed to float around some so if the ice is real hard they wouldn't bite in like a real crampon.
Originally Posted by mtruman
Those are the ones. I replaced my Stabilicers with them this year and I am happy. The Stabilicers have screws come lose, or out completely, and the straps where they connect to the sole are worn from rubbing against rocks. Plus they are heavy. The Microspikes are a bit more agressive, teeth-wise, but there are fewer teeth and the area under the boot is smaller. They move around less than my Stabilicers did.
Originally Posted by mtruman
There are some questions on long-term reliability because they are new this year, but I can say that they are not showing any signs of wear yet while the Stabilicers were showing wear after equivalent usage.
As always, very cool Kevin. Or cold I should say. Looks like you wouldn't want to be standing at the edge of those rocks.
Is there really any BAD
Yes, those are the ones. It seems all who have used them on this site are equally as impressed as I am with their performance. As you can see from the pictures we had some glare ice to negotiate and they worked well. They were great for traction on the frozen snowshoe track as well. They are no replacement for crampons when true crampons are needed, but they are great when the crampons are overkill. I was amazed at their ability to remain pliable even in the snow, and they seem to be very rugged and should last a reasonable amount of time. I'd say this hike was a very good test of the product and I would recommend them to anyone looking for something of this sort.
Spectacular, as always.
Thanks for giving those of us who live up here in the mountains some images that show exactly why we live up here in the mountains.