Ascent of Elephant Mountain on 2012-03-18

Climber: Ms. K.

Others in Party:LaughingTerry
Date:Sunday, March 18, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Elephant Mountain
    Elevation:3772 ft / 1149 m

Ascent Trip Report

The actual goal for this trek was to search for a geocache which had not yet been found in the months since it had been placed. We felt we were well equipped with snowshoes, ski poles, water, food,flashlights, dry socks, and a shovel. I was prepared to drive up Elephant Mountain Road to park before attempting the bushwhack but hadn't considered that there would be too much snow.

Instead we parked on South Arm Road and snowshoed up Old County Rd. The snow became more and more sparse as we proceeded and we decided to leave the snowshoes behind. As we followed our compasses the snow became deeper but we attempted to bushwhack up the fall line through dense coniferous trees. We instinctively headed toward open spaces but soon learned that the snow was between thigh and waist deep in those spots.

I resorted to walking up some downed trees to gain elevation which provided a short respite. Just at the point where we could see the lower summit of Elephant Mtn I spotted a herd trail and followed it to the peak that was our goal.

The ascent started at 11:30 am and concluded at 5 p.m. The snow was far too deep to locate the cache but I did spot the Peakbagger log container and waded over to sign us in. There were lots of Moose tracks at the summit and I couldn't quite believe that I saw some fairly fresh snowshoe tracks which belonged to the last person who had logged in two weeks before.

The descent could have been quicker had we been able to follow our tracks more easily. My shortcut of walking on fallen trees made it more difficult to retrace our route in the fading light.

The unusually warm day had resulted in some snow melting and therefore our tracks in some places had disappeared. We used our
GPSrs to locate the waypoint for our snowshoes. With only a mile to go the end of the trek was straight forward on the packed snowmobile trail.

Since Elephant Mountain is one of the 100 highest peaks in New England I checked the notes in my AMC White Mountain Guide to see which others I had successfully summitted.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Sunny, unseasonably warm
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 30 Minutes

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