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Ascent of Mount Hale on 2012-01-21

Climber: Matt DiFrancesco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, January 21, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Hale
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4054 ft / 1235 m

Ascent Trip Report

First-ever winter hike, and first-ever solo hike. Saw the first people of the day about 2 mintues down from the summit, then a group on the Zealand Road heading to the hut. Otherwise, just me, the lightly falling snow, and the woodpeckers (a bunch of them!)...

Overall a great first hike. I was a bit worried about the -30F or lower wind chills predicted for the summits. Ended up with hardly any wind all day, even on the summit it was calm. Temps were below 10F on the summit, low teens along the road.

Parked at the winter Zealand Road parking on Rt. 302, walked up the road to Hale Brook, summited, and retraced steps. The road was well-packed with a spider-web of fresh and not-so-fresh ski tracks, and filled in footprints (about 1" fell overnight). I was obviously the first one up this way on this day, aside from maybe a skiier or two. Bare-booted up to Hale Brook, no problem.

Microspiked up Hale Brook. A fairly-well packed trail, with the same ~1" of powder on top, probably could have bare-booted without trouble honestly. Summitted eventually (I felt slow, but only ~10 minutes over book time from car to summit!) I am rather not in shape...

Hung around at the completely untouched summit for 30-45 minutes. Lend-a-Hand was not cleared out since Thursday night's snow it appeared, although it might have only been the 2" that had fallen since Friday night, I didn't go far enough to look. Not knowing exactly where the FWT comes in, I couldn't check that, but there was no obvious path so it too hadn't been touched in a day or so. No views thanks to the clouds, a brief glimpse of either Zealand or the Twins (too quick to orient myself) was it. There was several inches of fresh powder on the summit, looked to be a solid 6" plus, so I put my snowshoes on and tramped around a little to get used to them. Switched back to microspikes after a little bit.

Ate some food, headed down. Still in microspikes, but shortly after passing the previously mentioned couple, I put the snowshoes on. I was post-holing a little bit with the harder landings from descending. No problems shoeing down, and since the couple was shoeing up, there should be a nice track again now. Descent was pretty solid, right around 1 hour. Put the snowshoes back on the pack at the trailhead, barebooted out. Drove back to Highland Center where I was staying in the bunkhouse and had a nice view of the Southern Presidential along Rt. 302 as the clouds had cleared...figures!

Totals: ~9.8 miles round-trip (figure 0.1-0.2 roadwalk to get to Zealand Road, 2.5 miles up the road, and 2.2 up Hale Brook), 7 hours taken total, about 6.5 hiking time.

Oddly, while the AMC book and the sign at the Zealand road end of Hale Brook all say 2.2 miles from trailhead to summit, the sign at the summit of Hale says 2.3 miles back to Zealand Road...

I enjoyed the hike overall, although the 2.5 mile road-walk at the end wasn't all that great...having the trails to myself with the light snow all day was actually very nice. Plenty warm enough, most of my layers stayed in the pack (except at the summit) despite the single-digit-F temps.

Pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/114607190336092730169/January212012MountHale?authkey=Gv1sRgCIPNsND6jKCLggE
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2584 ft / 787 m
    Distance:9.8 mi / 15.8 km
    Route:Rte 302, Zealand Road, Hale Brook Trail
    Trailhead:Winter Zealand Road Parking  1470 ft / 448 m
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Calm, Low Clouds
Light snow, limited visibility
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Hours 55 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Matt DiFrancesco
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

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