Ascent of Mount Clay on 2010-07-24
|Date:||Saturday, July 24, 2010|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Location:||USA-New Hampshire|
| Elevation:||5533 ft / 1686 m|
Ascent Trip ReportWe drove up Friday night and spent the night at Cherry Mountain campground, finally getting to sleep somewhere around 1AM or so. We woke up at 4 to pack up and head over to Appalachia. We got started hiking around 4:45AM on Valley Way. Valley way was pretty easy, And we soon found ourselves at the hut just as the staff was doing their skit to elicit tips. We dropped our bags outside the hut and set off for the summit of Madison. It was very windy, though not very cold. We were still socked in with fog, so we just tagged the summit and headed back down to the hut.
At the hut we stopped for a few minutes and talked to some people there (Amy and her mom Sherri I think), ate some snacks, then continued on our way up Star Lake Trail to Adams. Adams was pretty uneventful as well. It was not as windy as Madison was, but the fog was still very thick. We met a recent thru-hiker named Matt who had come back to bag some of the peaks before returning home. We talked for a minute, then headed off for Edmands Col.
Neither the Col nor Jefferson were too windy. I think Jefferson was actually the low point of the day for me. I didn't enjoy climbing it, and I felt pretty tired. I was very happy to reach the top, and sit down to a good snack. As with the previous peaks, the fog was still in force, so we just sat by some rocks that blocked the wind, ate, then headed off again.
Mt Clay was not too difficult, and the terrain was beautiful. Unlike the previous 3 peaks, the alpine meadow covered most of Clay, so the little area we could see was beautiful. It was here the we also got our first windows of views. First the clouds rose a little to the west and we could see Marshfield station. Then they broke a little to the east and we could just see all the way down the Great Gulf, all the way to Madison. This was one of the best views I have seen in the east. I loved walking along the trail right near the lip of the Great Gulf; we could look down the headwall and watch it disappear into the fog.
The climb up Washington wasn't too bad, just a little long. I always get annoyed by all the people coming down that tell us "you are almost there, only 15 more minutes", because what it really means is 20 minutes hiking down. The summit of Washington was an absolute zoo. There was a fundraiser that day where 500 people were hiking Washington, and then of course the typical gaggle of drivers in flip flops, jeans, and no sense of what those that hiked went through to get there. Anyway, we got some hot lunch which was fantastic, rested a bit, then started off for lake of the clouds. on the way there we ran into out first groups that didn't have the best hiking etiquette and wouldn't step aside for us to pass. While a minor thing, it is just kind of annoying. Anyway, it was a pretty quick jaunt to Lakes of the clouds, which turned out to be alot nicer than I expected. The toilets were a little drafty, but it was a really nice cabin.
We tried to get in touch with the girls who were hiking up to Pierce, and here we made a mis-communication that cost us the last 2 peaks. We were 0.5-1 hr behind schedule (despite starting a hour behind), and the girls were a bit ahead of schedule. While we were really only about an hour difference in our schedules, They got my text late and thought that we were really 2.5-3 hours behind schedule. So anyway, what this meant was that they asked us to take the direct route down from Pierce instead of continuing on to Jackson and Webster.
From Lakes of the Clouds south was absolutely beautiful. I love the alpine meadow, and that is all it was from the hut to Pierce. The climbs were relatively short, and not very difficult, and we were able to make some good time in between. While we were quite tired, we weren't too bad, and the whole rest of the hike was quite pleasant. Franklin was such a small bump that I don't even know for sure where it was. Eisenhower looked so beautiful as we approached, and while this was pretty much the steepest part for the southern half, it wasn't too bad a climb. At the summit we met another group doing the traverse that we had leapfrogged with most of the day. They were looking rough and said they were hitting a wall. We barely stopped and just kept going so as to catch the girls as soon as possible.
Pierce was a very easy climb, with a pretty undramatic summit, though it did offer a cool view right back up the presidential range. We could see almost all the way to Madison. We stopped for just a few minutes, then headed back down to Crawford, path, then booked it the last 3 miles down to the highland center where we met the girls, and another traverse group we had met at the Madison Hut. 2 of us caught a ride back to appalachia with this other group since we didn't all fit in the girls' car.
We finished around 7:15 for a total time of about 14.5 hours, just over book time. We went to the Common Man in Lincoln for dinner and had some Bison burgers, then headed back to Boston, arriving just after 1AM.
All in all, this was not as difficult a hike as I expected. Perhaps it was good conditioning, but I definitely felt like I could have gone alot further. I will probably do it again to get the entire ridge.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||575 ft / 175 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||130 ft / 39 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||1.3 mi / 2.1 km|
| Gain on way in:||575 ft / 175 m|
| Distance:||0.6 mi / 1 km|
| Route:||Mt Clay Loop|
| Start Trailhead:||4958 ft / 1511 m|
| Loss on way out:||130 ft / 39 m|
| Distance:||0.7 mi / 1.1 km|
| Route:||Mt Clay Loop|
| End Trailhead:||5403 ft / 1646 m|
|Ascent Part of Trip: PresiTraverse 7-24-2010|
Complete Trip Sequence:
Total Trip Gain: 8540 ft / 2603 m Total Trip Loss: 7448 ft / 2272 m
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