Ascent of Mount Whiteface on 2013-09-18

Climber: Michael Berger

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Whiteface
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4000 ft / 1219 m

Ascent Trip Report

#44 Mt. Whiteface
#45 Mt. Passaconaway

I'm not sure why, but I always assumed that this hike would be pretty boring and nondescript. That was not the case at all. As soon as I got out of the car, things were great. The sky was clear and brilliant blue, the temperatures cool with low humidity, and the adjacent field had just been hayed giving that sweet fresh-mown hay smell everywhere. I headed up the trail walking past a few houses along the road and got a great view of my destination. I crossed over the river onto the Blueberry Ledges trail which starts out as a private road with houses on it. Once past the houses, the trail enters a very warm and inviting forest. I'm not sure how to explain it, but the forests in the Sandwich Range just seem nicer, more varied, and comfortable than a lot of the forests farther north. There were several ledge scrambles - hence the name of the trail - to deal with, but they were dry and easy to handle. The hike was very easy until the last quarter mile or se before reaching the top of Whiteface. It felt like I was actually climbing the face - some of the most difficult rock climbing I've done so far in the 4000'ers. I made it to the top without incident and was rewarded with a great 180 degree view towards the south taking in the lake country and also a great view of nearby Chocura. Clear skies with very little haze gave some great long views. I hung out on Whiteface for about 20 minutes having brunch and just enjoying everything about the place. I then got on the Rollins trail to head over to Passaconaway. The Trail follows the edge of the Bowl getting tantalizingly close to the edge in some spots where trail fell off on one side down a very steep drop into the bowl. The trail is mostly wooded, but there were a few spots when I could get good views of the Bowl and the two peaks. I was thinking this might be my first hike on a 4000'er where I didn't meet any other hiker - but I ran into my one and only other hiker about halfway between the peaks. As I turned up Dicey's Mill trail to ascend to Passaconaway, I got a very painful reminder that I had unknowingly let myself get dehydrated - some very painful and serious leg cramps. I got the cramps under control, popped some electrolyte capsules that I always carry, and began drinking a lot of water. I gingerly continued climbing trying hard not to trigger another round of cramping. I made it to the top of Passaconaway without further cramping - the summit is wooded with no views. I then made my way gingerly back down to the trail junction where I had my first cramping episode. By this time the extra water and electrolytes seemed to be kicking in as I didn't feel the twinges of oncoming cramps anymore. I did have to refill my water as I had managed to finish off the 3L I was carrying. The rest of the descent was very easy. I met a trail repair crew on the way down Dicey's Mill trail that were improving a section of the trail by strategically repositioning some very large rocks. I really appreciate the work the WODC ( do as these trails are in excellent condition. At the bottom of the trail, you come out in someone's yard and then follow a road with houses built on the river. I appreciate these folks keeping their property open to hikers. Overall, this goes in the books as one of my favorite hikes of the 48. Other than that little stretch where I was dealing with leg cramps, I had a big smile on my face.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Part of Trip: Whiteface

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Whiteface-Ledges2013-09-18
2Mount Whiteface2013-09-18
3Mount Passaconaway2013-09-18
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Michael Berger
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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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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