Headed up Pierce on Saturday. We had a great start, breaking trail on a few new inches of snow. It snowed lightly about 1/4 way up, then heavier as we neared tree line. Cold and very windy. We saw quite a few other groups on the mountain that day. All but one of them passed us on their way back down stating it was 'too windy' or they couldn't see. We stopped just before popping out above tree line to layer up, then made it about 50 feet. A large group headed towards us saying "no way!". Immediately thereafter, the trail dissappeared before my eyes, which were starting to freeze and felt like they had needles poking them. WE took a quick picture, turned tail to head back and the trail was gone behind us. We were disoriented very quickly, but soon found a good direction and headed. We got back out of the wind and were very happy with our decision to turn around. Pierce had won once again, so close, but just not the smart decision...
You made the right decision. Not worth it for a checkmark. Our first winter hike to Pierce was on a cold, windy day, but conditions were otherwise good. We hiked the 100 yds. above treeline, found a spot out of the wind, (sort of) and had lunch. When we started back down we found our tracks obliterated. We continued down expecting to cross the Edmands Path on our way. After awhile I knew we had been hiking too long without finding it. We took a westerly track and rose back up a hundred feet or more through drifted snow before we found the trail back into the woods. We couldn't believe what had just happened on a hike that is barely 100 yds!
We hiked it unsuccessfully last winter as well, and it looked so different that we didn't realize how close we were this time! It seemed that we were above tree line for a lot longer last year,but we also had much more snow, so we were up a little higher than we were this year. It's very scary to see the trail dissappear in front of your eyes and have it seem like there's no right direction to travel into! It only took seconds to make the decision to turn around, and I'm glad we didn't summit and then have the storm move in! There was one group ahead of us that must have made it before the weather turned, but they must have headed back down Mitzpah cause we never saw them again. It was a beautiful day in the woods and we enjoyed it, but it was brutal above tree line. Another day : )