Ascent of Mount Jefferson on 2019-01-05

Climber: Scott Dresser

Others in Party:Emily Dresser
Date:Saturday, January 5, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Jefferson
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5712 ft / 1741 m

Ascent Trip Report

Weather forecast was a little strange all week and the reason for it was the northern whites were going to be on the end of a coastal rain storm. Late night reports looked good, but being on the edge of one of these storms is always a little concerning, reminded me of Moriah a couple years ago.

Up at 3:30a and on the road around 4a so we could be at Mad River Coffee by 6am (there by 5:45a). Arrived at Cog Railway ($10/person parking on weekends and holidays) about 7:15a and on the trail by 7:30a. Upon arrival the northern presidentials were almost completely clear with blue sky above, the southern presidentials were overcast but visible. Hiked to eastern end of Cog lot, crossed the stream using the truck utility bridge on the south side of the rail and then walked up to about trestle 28-32 and crossed over the tracks. From there it is a short bushwhack north to pick up the Jewell Spur trail and then onto the Jewell Trail. As soon as we arrived on the Spur trail we put on snowshoes because there was 2-3" of new unbroken snow down low which turned into 4-5" up high before the tree line.

Jewell Trail is a very easy hike save for one rocky section which was hard to navigate in snowshoes all the way up to the treeline. We hiked for .2-.3 miles above the treeline before taking off our snowshoes. By now we had run into two solo hikers (one with a small dog) and another couple who we traded trailbreaking duties with on the upper part of Jewell. There were a few steep scrambles up to the Gulfside trail and once we could see the cairns we "bushwhacked" over to save little time.

Gulfside trail was a mix of ice covered rock and pretty stable snow fields which weren't bad in trail crampons, but my longer Hillsounds were better than microspikes on the small snow fields where a deep bite helped. Beautiful views of Jefferson and Adams on the way past Clay down into Sphinx Col. Sphinx Col was also pretty, everything covered in 3-4" of feathery rime. From there we made it up to Monticello Lawn and followed the Gulfside trail a little too far and doubled back to where the Jefferson Loop Trail broke off (hard to follow on the snow field). Made the last pitch up Jefferson to Cap Ridge and the last few hundred feet to the peak.

Awesome views of just about everything in the whites: South Kinsman, Franconia, Twins/Bonds, Carrigain, Field/Tom/Wiley Ridge, all of the Presidentials, especially the full on view of Washington across the Great Gulf. Distant peaks in Maine and Vermont were also visible. After grabbing our peaks shots (this was Emily's 48 halfway point, her first winter presidential, and her last Presidential) we dropped down to the Caps Ridge and Jefferson Loop intersection to grab a quick bite to eat in the almost calm conditions and enjoy the views.

Trip back was uneventful with perfect views of Washington and the southern presidentials all the way. Met a number of hikers doing their winter Presi traverses because of the perfect conditions to do it. Probably ran into 40-50 above the tree line. After getting back to Jewell we used spikes to below the treeline and put our snowshoes back on to avoid postholing the trail, although other people were. Arrived back at the car around 3:35p and home by 6:15p. My only regret was that we weren't above the treeline for sunset -- absolutely stunning as we drove home.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4463 ft / 1360 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4463 ft / 1360 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.2 mi / 14.8 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Overcast
Temps in the teens and probably low 20's at the end. 20mph wind above the treeline which dropped to
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3819 ft / 1164 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3175 ft / 968 m; Extra: 644 ft / 196m
    Loss on way in:644 ft / 196 m
    Distance:4.7 mi / 7.5 km
    Route:Jewell Spur, Jewell, Gulfside, Jefferson Loop, Cap
    Start Trailhead:Cog Rail Parking Lot  2537 ft / 773 m
    Time:4 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3819 ft / 1164 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3175 ft / 968 m; Extra: 644 ft / 196m
    Gain on way out:644 ft / 196 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.3 km
    Route:Jewell Spur, Jewell, Gulfside, Jefferson Loop, Cap
    End Trailhead:Cog Rail Parking Lot  2537 ft / 773 m
    Time:3 Hours 32 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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

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