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Ascent of Grand Monadnock on 2010-06-20

Climber: Yu-Pu Wang

Others in Party:23 others
Date:Sunday, June 20, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Grand Monadnock
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3150 ft / 960 m

Ascent Trip Report

This trip was originally planned at June 4th, but postponed due to rain in forecast (but it was actually sunny). The forecast for the actual ascent day was about the same but we decided to climb the mountain anyway.

The weather was a mix of sun, clouds, and a stray heavy downpour that lasted for only a minute on our way to the trailhead. We could easily see the unique shape of Monadnock from the town of Jaffrey.

It was noon when we arrived at the trailhead. Entry fee was $4 per person. The outer parking lot was already full. There were a visitor center, a little grocery store and restrooms at the trailhead. The weather was very hot at 86°F and very humid with calm wind. We had simple lunch and started ascending the trail at 1 pm sharp.

We took the easiest White Dot Trail (i.e. with white dot blazes) up. The first 1/3 was a gentle ascent in forest. About 0.4 mi from the trailhead White Cross Trail forked to the left. About 0.5 mi fro the trailhead Cascade Link (a very long way to the summit) forked to the right. We stayed on White Dot.

On the middle 1/3, the slope gradually became steeper with big rock surfaces. Some parts needed scrambling, but no rope was required and the trail was very wide and easy to follow. There were lots of climbers as usual. We reached "1/2 way" sign at 1:50 pm and took a 10-minute break.

The last 1/3 was above the tree line, being very rocky with sparse vegetation. This is unusual for such a small mountain. We had a stray shower lasting for 5 seconds, and a thunderstorm passed by a few miles south of the mountain shortly after. There were cairns marking the trail in this part, and the trail went up and down several times before finally reaching the summit.

We could see a big crowd at (and near) the summit from faraway. The weather became sunny again when we came close to the summit. We reached the top at 3 pm sharp. In contrast to calm wind all our way up, it was very windy at the top. Mostly sunny, 81°F. The 360° view on the summit was gorgeous, but due to extreme humidity, low clouds and rain, the visibility was only 35-40 miles. Even Mount Wachusett can only be vaguely seen. I tried to find Boston skyline with my telephoto lens without success.

There was a USGS survey point at the summit (elev. 3,165 ft). Interestingly a rock stood a bit higher than that point with "3166 ft" carved. There was a shelter area surrounded by rocks near the summit with carvings all over the place.

After snacking and group photo, we started descending the mountain at 3:40 pm. About 0.2 mi from the summit the trail forked into White Dot Trail (left) and White Cross Trail (right). We took White Cross down. There were some puddles and mud on the rocky part probably due to rain. The trail became drier back into forest.

White Cross had lower proportion of rocky parts that needs scrambling, but a bit more roundabout, compared to White Dot. We arrived at White Dot Trail junction at 4:40 pm, and trailhead at 5 pm sharp.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1784 ft / 544 m
    Elevation Loss:1784 ft / 544 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Drizzle, Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
hot and humid, a stray shower
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1784 ft / 544 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:White Dot Trail
    Trailhead:Park HQ  1366 ft / 416 m
    Time Up:0 Days 2 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1784 ft / 544 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:White Cross Trail
    Trailhead:Park HQ  1366 ft / 416 m
    Time Down:0 Days 1 Hours 20 Minutes



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