Ascent of Gridley Mountain on 2019-03-11

Climber: Dan Lewis

Others in Party:Karl Lewis
Date:Monday, March 11, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gridley Mountain
    Elevation:2217 ft / 675 m

Ascent Trip Report

My brother Karl and I set off from the gate on Mount Washington Road. The dirt track was snow-covered but packed. We crested the hill and found a spot to cut left and onto the northwest flank of Gridley Mountain. The slope was moderate, and the density of Mountain Laurel was also moderate at first. The snow depth was around mid-calf. So far so good. However, as we approached the height of land, the laurel thickened. There were points were no obvious avenue of egress existed. Small clearings led to dead ends. I picked my way through where I could - and in some spots - resorted to belly-crawling under the thicket with my elbows. My trekking poles were affixed to my pack with the handles protruding upward, and they kept snagging on branches and restraining me. I removed my pack and slid it ahead, or threaded it through the branches. Progress was measured in 5 to 10 foot increments. It was hard to keep to the summit bearing on our GPS units, but I eventually bludgeoned my way through and into the summit clearing, with my brother arriving shortly after. It took us 2 hours to go 1.25 miles. We assessed the damage: Karl lost a mitten shell and a 'basket' from one of his trekking poles. His GPS holster was also missing, and a pocket seam on his pants was ripped asunder. I tore a ski mitten and had some bruises, but nothing else.

We had little appetite to retrace our steps, opting instead to descend west-northwest to the Mt Washington road. It was a more direct route, but steeper. To our amazement, the Mountain Laurel was much less dense along this bearing, and our descent to the road took no longer than 20 minutes. We were about a quarter mile south of where we started our ascent, and it took no time to return to our vehicle. The weather improved throughout the morning, and we finished under sunny skies and mild temperatures.

If you ever hike this mountain, take my advice: Hike east-southeast from the Mt. Washington Road and follow the big trees to the summit. Avoid the northwest slope.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:327 ft / 99 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:327 ft / 99 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:Unpaved road, bushwhack.
    Start Trailhead:Mt. Washington Road  1890 ft / 576 m
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics

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