Ascent of Mount Pierce on 2021-02-15

Climber: Map Man

Date:Monday, February 15, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Pierce
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4310 ft / 1313 m

Ascent Trip Report

First winter 4000-footer, Presidents Day 2021! There was snow in the forecast for the afternoon today, but the morning looked clear, so we decided to give the easiest 4000-footer a try. We arrived at 9:00 and there were not as many cars at the trailhead as we expected for a holiday. I started out without any traction and was able to go the entire hike without putting on my microspikes. The trail was solidly packed down, but a few feet off the trail it was all soft powder. It was overcast most of the way up, and the temperature was not bad. We encountered maybe 10 groups coming or going. The scenery was excellent with the large amounts of snow on all the trees. Gibbs Falls was imperceptible underneath the snow. The trees in the alpine area around the summit were especially beautiful, being thickly caked with windblown snow. The views from the summit were spectacular despite the overcast sky. Looking up the Presidential ridgeline was of course the most exciting part, as I had never seen the higher summits in winter from this close. One gray jay approached us while we were eating lunch, and we gave him some peanuts and raisins. We stayed for about half an hour to enjoy the view before leaving down the Webster Cliff Trail. We hadn't tried this trail approach before. The viewpoint just south of the summit was nice, overlooking the southern part of Crawford Notch and offering a nice view of the Montalban Ridge. The clouds were moving in fast, and we looked back to see that the summit of Washington was already socked in, having been in sunlight not 10 minutes earlier. The trail descending south of Mt. Pierce had several good viewpoints, all looking the same direction, and it had mostly easy grades. The top of the "south peak" (really a plateau) had a wide clearing with a good look back to the main summit. The trail descending to Mizpah Spring Hut was rather steep and passed through some interesting blowdown areas. The smooth snowpack on the steepest sections was difficult for walking, so I got down most of it by crouching and sliding on my snow boots. The trail flattened out and we soon reached the hut. This was our first visit to this hut, and it was the only one in the White Mountains that we hadn't seen yet. Naturally, it was boarded up for the winter. We took a short detour to Nauman Tentsite to check it off for redlining, then headed back to Crawford Path on Mizpah Cutoff, which was a nice gentle walk with deep snow all around.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2510 ft / 764 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2510 ft / 764 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.4 mi / 10.3 km
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2470 ft / 752 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2430 ft / 740 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Loss on way in:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Route:Crawford Path
    Start Trailhead:Mt. Clinton Road  1880 ft / 573 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2470 ft / 752 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2430 ft / 740 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Gain on way out:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Route:Webster Cliff Tr/Mizpah Cutoff/Crawford Path
    End Trailhead:Mt. Clinton Road  1880 ft / 573 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Map Man
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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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