Ascent of Mount Jackson on 2010-06-13

Climber: Michael Bryant

Others in Party:Brian Arenella
Anai Arenella
Date:Sunday, June 13, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Jackson
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4052 ft / 1235 m

Ascent Trip Report

Weather: The day started out very cloudy below the notches and stayed that way, but above the notches an overcast morning gave way to sun by mid afternoon. Some ominous clouds over Mt. Washington when we hit the Jackson summit never produced rain for us. Sun was shining bright by the time we reached Webster and stayed with us down the mountain.

Trail: Webster Jackson Trail, Webster Cliff Trail. Well maintained and marked trails. Toward the top there is a bit of a hand and foot scramble but nothing too difficult. Scramble on ledges the rest of the way. Descending Jackson on the Webster Cliff Trail (AT) there are some downward scrambles.

View: Great views of Presidentials, Crawford Notch, Mt. Washington Hotel.

Group: Mike, Brian and Anai

We were a bit worried that this might make two rainy hikes in a row. As we set out from the Concord area it was overcast and the forecast predicted it would stay that way with a chance of a thunderstorm. After Waumbek I went out and bought a pack cover. Luckily I wouldn’t need it this day.

Brian had picked me up again from the Exit 17 park & ride. We transferred my gear from my car to his and we were off, again stopping at Price Chopper in Lincoln for my lunch. We swung into the AMC Highlands Center just to check it out. It seems like a great facility. There is a store there where you can pick up any last minute forgotten items or AMC logo gear. On this trip there would be some forgotten items. When I transferred my gear to Brian’s car, the boots somehow got forgotten. When I realized this at trailside I had a few minutes of agonizing at the thought of doing the trail in my New Balance 966 trail walking shoes. I love these shoes and this is my second pair, but I have always used them on flatter surfaces such as the ones I find near home in Bear Brook State Park or the scout camps. Not wanting to scrap the day I decided to make due. Brian forgot his synthetic blend t-shirt. I let him borrow the extra one I carry since it seemed we would stay dry this day. This made us look like we were a hiking team with our matching navy UA shirts and our Gregory packs which have the same color pattern despite being different models (Brian has the z35).

The Jackson Webster Trail has two branches. From Rt. 302 just south of the AMC Highlands Center the trail heads east and then turns south after about .2 miles. After another mile you come to the Silver Cascade and at this point the trail branches to the left (east) to Mt. Jackson and right continue south to Mt. Webster. We decided to bag the 4000 footer first and see what the weather was like before heading for Webster. Up to the Silver Cascade the steepness of the trail varies with some rambling semi-flat sections and some rather steep sections including some rock stairs at points. The cascade is a good place for a photo op and a quick snack.

The last half mile of Jackson becomes progressively steeper until you reach a point where hands are needed to scale some rock faces. This was more fun than it is challenging. Beyond

that it is a quick walk over some rock face to the summit. When we reached the summit there were some slightly worrisome clouds headed towards us over the Presidentials but they never amounted to anything. We took plenty of time at the summit eating lunch and taking in the views. You have views in all directions from Jackson but most notable are the views of the Presidentials, and the valley that includes Bretton Woods and the Mt. Washington Hotel.

From there we took the Webster Cliff Trail southwest toward Mt. Webster. Coming off Jackson this involves several sections of downwards scramble, again more fun than challenging. This is a beautiful trail, blazed in white as part of the AT. When we reached Webster the sun was shining. Webster has some great views down on Crawford Notch, the trestles RR bridge, Mt Willey and Mt. Field to the East. Web has a rock slide on its west face that you stand directly over at the summit. Great photo op location if you don’t mind heights.

After Web we came down on the south branch of the Webster Jackson Trail. You cross the

cascade again, only in a prettier spot with a waterfall – great photo op location.

The rest of the hike down was uneventful. Brian says this will be his among his recommendations for troops looking for 5+ mile hike suggestions. I agree this one has a lot to offer. The climb is interesting and the forest you walk through is beautiful. The views are excellent on both Jackson and Webster.

Leaving Crawford Notch the sun was shining brightly. As we hit Franconia we could see clouds looming over Cannon. Evidently the clouds never left Southern NH all day. It was a long ride to the Mad River Tavern this time. I went with the bourbon steak tips this time. They were good but I could have used more steak tips and less cauliflower and fries.

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Webster Jackson Trail/Webster Cliff Trail (AT)
    Trailhead:Rt 302 near AMC Highlands Center  
Descent Statistics

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