Ascent of Mount Whiteface on 2013-06-17

Climber: Dave Bigelow

Others in Party:This was a solo hike with the exception that my dog Kaitlyn was with me. This was her 3rd NH 48 4000'
Date:Monday, June 17, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Whiteface
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4000 ft / 1219 m

Ascent Trip Report

I think I may have become a NH 48 4000 Footer Peak bagger?

6/18-19 /2013

Hiking enthusiasts with more experience than me say by the time you have hiked your tenth peak or so on the NH 48 4000 footer list you have become hooked and become addicted to peak bagging the list. I wonder if I may have caught the bug sooner. So far I have thought to myself that if I ever finish the list or not it is no big deal and if it happens, it happens no matter how long it takes. Currently though a few different hiking groups I have already signed up to hike a 3 different peaks on 3 Saturdays in a row on June 22 and 29, and July 6, those being Washington, Carter Dome and Monroe in order.

Since August of last year (2012) I have hiked 5 of the peaks, in order, with other people, Mooselauke, Osceola, Tecumseh, and also for these two, besides with others with my dog Kaitlyn as well, Hale and Waumbek. The last one in April. So I haven’t been exactly burning up the list. As I am on vacation this week I planned on getting a few more hikes in and had decided for Monday, June 17 to do a 2 for one special and try and bag Whiteface and Passaconaway on the same hike, making it my 6th and 7th and Kaitlyn’s 3rd and 4th as dogs can earn the certificate and patch as well.

In prepping for the hike the day before on Sunday I bought 3 items to make my list of the 10 essentials more complete. I forgot to buy a lighter that night and on the way up to the hike as well. I ended up going to bed about 11:00. it should have been earlier but it didn’t end up mattering anyway, I planned on getting up at 4:30 to hopefully be up to the trail head at 7:00 or that was the plan. The reason it didn’t end up mattering was because for whatever reason I couldn’t fall to sleep at all and when my alarm went off at 4:30 I hadn’t got one wink of sleep. I figured I would play the hike by ear and see how it went. As the saying goes the mountain will still be there tomorrow, if I had to bail for being tired.

Any one who knows me knows I tend to run a little late. Of course packing for the hike would have made more sense the night before but I saved it for the morning. Every thing ended up taking more time than I had thought, maybe it was the lack of sleep or just the fact I have always been a slowpoke and fast just isn’t my speed. In any case, I ended up at the trailhead ready to start at 9:05 AM on Ferncroft Road in Wonalancet, NH. I was going to use the Blueberry Ledge Trail, the Rollins Trail, and the Dicey’s Mill Trail. So I got started 2 hours later than I had planned. But that meant I still had a good 12 hours of daylight before it was to get dark and I wanted to be off the trail by dark even though I had a working headlamp and extra batteries. I just didn’t know the trail yet.

The forecast said there was 0-40 percent chance of rain as the day went on, with possibly a thunder storm latter in the day. So I was hoping for the best but had a Gore-Tex rain coat and a tarp just in case. I had also asked others for advice on doing the hike or not based on the forecast the night before. Everyone thought it was a go. My main concern was not having hiked the trail yet, so didn’t really know it in spite of the research I had done. Although I don’t necessarily mind hiking in the rain in terms of getting wet I am more concerned with the rain making the trail wet where it was steeper thus making it more slippery and potentially dangerous for a slip and fall. Till noon at least the forecast was for 0 % of rain. 20% through 2pm (showers) then 40 percent thereafter till dark or more.

The hike started off easier without much elevation gain and it was sunny and cloudy but no darker clouds that might be rain clouds. So far so good.

Once the trail was getting steeper it effected how fast I was able to move up hill. I maintained a pace where I was breathing harder than normal yet never got very winded from to much exertion. Still at times it seemed like I wasn’t going that far before was stopping for a few seconds to take a very short break. It made me wonder if it was from getting no sleep or just the shape I was in or some of both. The day before I had also led a 5.9 mile hike at Crotched Mtn. in Greenfield, NH with an 1,450 foot elevation gain. Who knows because if I was tired I didn’t feel it as far as I could tell. I am definitely a slower hiker than a lot of people.

As I got into the parts of the trail that were steeper going up Whiteface it was starting to seem like molasses might be able to go uphill faster than me. But in spite of the slower pace at least I wasn’t feeling like I’m to tired to go on. I didn’t even seem to be a mile an hour. I had met one gal at one point zipping right along who had passed me. Silly me I hadn’t thought to have her take at least one picture with me in it. I am not a fan of holding the camera pointed at myself by holding my arm extended fully to take a picture with me in it.

One of the interesting things about Whiteface once you got to the ledges is that you would think you at the top only to find that once you got to the "top" there was more top to climb. The summit is actually on the Rollins Trail past the Kate Sleeper Trail and not at the top of the ledges. I found the summit of Whiteface at a cairn and continued on to try to summit Passaconaway.

At this point in between hiking from Whiteface and heading over to Passaconaway I heard 3 different Thunderstorms, but only one at a time seeming to get closer and closer to where I was hiking. For what ever reason though they never seemed to reach where I was. One the fourth one I wasn’t as lucky. Although there was no thunder and lightning and torrential rain like during a thunderstorm there was a light rain that had started making the trail wet. Knowing it was coming I already had my raincoat on and my tarp being used as a rain cover for my backpack. The rain made the trail wet so one had to be very careful where one stepped. I tried to look for flat places to step as much as possible. There were plenty of steep parts still. The one time I did slip and fall was totally unexpected on a flatter part. I either stepped on wet moss on a rock or slipped on the top of a wet tree root. Fortunately as soon as I landed there was no pain whatsoever. Although I don’t mind hiking in the rain per say in terms of getting wet I just don’t need the extra risk of slipping and getting hurt because of slick spots on a slope. The above picture was the last one I was able to take before it started raining and I didn’t want to risk getting my camera wet. So I didn’t get to take a picture of the sign for the Dicey’s Mill Trail where it went up to the summit. At that point it was 4 PM and I decided to not do the summit of Passaconaway knowing how slow I was going and that the mile or some to the summit was going to be much steeper and I didn’t know if the rain would stop. Also I didn’t want to be going down a wet trail in the dark even though I had a working headlamp and extra batteries as I didn’t know the trail yet. As the saying goes the mountain will still be there another day.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2860 ft / 872 m
    Distance:10.1 mi / 16.3 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Raining, Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy/Sunny most of the trip with some rain during parts of the Rollins Trail and the Dicey
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2860 ft / 872 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Route:Blueberry Ledge Trail, Rollins Trail
    Trailhead:Ferncroft Road Parking Area  1140 ft / 347 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:Rollins Trail, Dicey's Mill Trail
    Time Down:5 Hours 

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