Ascent of Mount Monroe on 2010-06-05

Climber: Tony Rachupka

Others in Party:Anne
Date:Saturday, June 5, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Monroe
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5372 ft / 1637 m

Ascent Trip Report

The weather forecast for the weekend looked dismal. But Anne, Tish and I had reservations at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut for Saturday night so we headed up north with all of our rain gear and hoping for the best. We headed up the Ammo Ravine trail since it’s the shortest route to the hut. A short way into the trail we noticed someone had set up a tent less than five feet from the trail. I’m not sure if this is illegal at that spot but it is certainly not good etiquette. I’d heard there was an avalanche recently and there seemed to be evidence of this just before reaching the Gem Pool. We climbed the steepest part of the Ammo Ravine trail and made it to the hut in pretty good time. Amazingly, we didn’t get rained on at all. But it was very foggy and we had no views. We had some soup at the hut and contemplated going to Washington before dinner. The issue was the forecasted thunderstorms for the afternoon. We decided not to risk it and save Washington for Sunday morning.

In the meantime, we went to the top of Monroe in the fog. We left our packs at the hut and found the climbing predictably easier. I brought too much stuff for this trip. It was partly an experiment on my part to see how much stuff I could carry and how I would fare. I also brought more stuff in case I got wet from the expected rain. I wanted to be able to change into something dry. We got to the top and took some foggy pictures with no views along the way. A little after we got back to the hut the clouds parted and suddenly Monroe and the southern Presis were in the clear. We ended up climbing Monroe a second time and were rewarded with outstanding views. I loved seeing the southern Presis from that vantage point. I also enjoyed the views of Boott Spur with the dotted line of cairns going across the ridge. The skies stayed clear for sunset and we even got a peek at Washington’s summit.

This was the first time any of us had stayed at an AMC hut. I can’t see doing it again because it costs a lot. But we all enjoyed the experience. We had a fantastic “thanksgiving dinner” and a nice filling breakfast. Anne and I looked through the hut’s library and went through a couple of books including “Forest and Crag” and “Not Without Peril.” Why not read about all the famous deaths of Mt Washington right before hitting the summit? We were fortunate to not have any stranger’s snoring. I feared this could not be avoided. I’m glad I was wrong. We liked the croo too. Go visit the nice folks at the Lakes Hut.

We started the next day’s hiking at 5012 feet which is fantastic. Only 1300 feet to go! We would get rained on today so we put on all of our rain gear. There was no wind and it was warm so getting to the summit wasn’t too bad. We got our summit pictures and then went inside to warm up. The other goal of the day was to find Marty, the cat that lives at the Mount Washington Observatory. We took a tour of the observatory and did indeed meet Marty.

When planning this trip bagging Jefferson was also a goal. But with the rain and no views we quickly decided against it. It was time to head down but the wind picked up. We would later discover that peak wind speeds would hit almost 60 mph. Anne decided to take the cog railroad down the mountain after getting knocked over several times by the wind. We had a long stretch to hike above treeline so I think this was a good decision for her. Screw the list, she’ll bag the peaks some other time. Tish and I would hike down via the Gulfside and Jewell trails. It was really windy! Even windier than on Madison a few months ago! We took our time and finally left the alpine zone about an hour and a half later. I didn’t realize how exposed the Jewell trail would be. Luckily it wasn’t cold at all or the hike would have been miserable and even dangerous. But it worked out fine and we made it down in about 3 hours. We found Anne and headed off to the Woodstock Inn for food and beers!

Monroe was #31 for me and that was my 4th ascent of Washington. Anne’s a little pissed that she doesn’t get to count Monroe and Washington so I’m sure we’ll be back soon to fix that.

Summary Total Data
    Weather:Drizzle, Pleasant

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