Ascent to Cascade Mountain-50 feet from summit on 2014-02-22

Climber: Sarah Keats

Date:Saturday, February 22, 2014
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Cascade Mountain - 50 feet from summit
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4070 ft / 1240 m
    Remaining Elevation:28 ft / 9 m (0% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

I had to work on my turning back from peak bagging when it is too dangerous- my Dad and I made it to the final open ascent of Cascade and others were telling us that we would have to hold on in order to not get blown over. There were numerous people huddled at the bottom before getting out to the exposed summit, hiding in the trees. Only a few people actually made it to the summit and they were mostly younger, less experienced people it looked like with less fear of falling off cliffs. This is a very popular hike even in the winter so there were probably 50-100 people on the trail- in the summer it's more like hundreds. Anyway, we decided to brave it and almost immediately I was hit by a wall of wind and it was hard to breathe. We tried to skirt around the side of summit away from the exposed rock where the wind was howling and follow other tracks through the snow. Then it got harder as we continued to climb up on to the exposed rocks and crawled our way on our hands and knees at times to keep our body weight close to the ground. The snow that was getting kicked up was flying like bullets into our faces propelled by the wind and when I looked up and saw the summit only 50 feet away, my Dad was blown over by the wind even though he was already down on his knees. We decided we should turn around as the possibility of getting injured was getting higher as we continued going. I was really worried about him since it was his first time on crampons and it was even scarier turning around to go back down as then the wind was at our backs, pushing us forward. I decided to crawl down backwards, keeping myself as close as I could to the rock.
Anyways, that was the first time I had not checked the summit forecast as my forecast bookmarked on my computer is for the Whites and Western Maine. We were thinking it could have been 50-70 mph wind but we're not quite sure. That weekend wind at high elevations looked really high for NH up to 80 mph above 5,000 feet.
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