Ascent of Mount Jackson on 2013-04-20

Climber: Spencer Corcoran

Date:Saturday, April 20, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Jackson
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4052 ft / 1235 m

Ascent Trip Report

My Dad and I arrived at the trailhead for the Webster-Jackson Trail at 10 AM, eager to see what awaited us. After gearing up, we headed out.

The lower parts of the trail had shallow, broken-out snow and some mud. The trail passed by the path to Elephant Head at 0.1 mile and paralled a brook for another 1/10 of a mile. It then veered right from it and gently ascended to a short steep section; at the foot of this section, we put on our microspikes and wore them for the rest of the hike. There was a group of people following us, but only one of them had traction; I wonder how their hike was (they did the same hike we did, but in the opposite direction).

After a second steep part, the trail intersected with a side path at 0.6 mi, which led to a cliff with good views toward the Willey Range and Twin Mountain.

After the cliff, the trail went up and down a bit to a rather high water crossing that, luckily, was bridged by a titanic log. We walked over the log and made our way back to the main path.

The ground quality didn't change much, although when we reached the Jackson/Webster Branch fork, the snow was a bit deeper. We did the loop clockwise and hit Jackson first.

This section was definitely steeper than the previous one; there were a lot more steeps, and they were covered in slick snow. Barebooters would definitely have a tough time here. We paralleled a brook for a while and then crossed an ice bridge over it; the ascent to Jackson became more constant. There were some peeks through the trees, but we soon saw Jackson towering above the surrounding area. And I also knew that the scramble was coming up.

The approach to the scramble was well-sheltered, but then footing got difficult, and shortly after that, the trail was slippery, icy ledge which was tough to grip in places. But it was short, and we soon saw a sign and a cairn; we had reached Jackson's summit.

At the summit, the wind was whipping and it was cold, but the views were great.

We ate lunch at a ledge away from the wind and, after a failed call home, decided against descending the scramble and instead opted to hike to Webster. We thought that the hike to there would be better than going down Jackson.

Wrong! The Webster Cliff Trail between the two peaks was an unbroken, waist-deep (probably even deeper), posthole-y, spruce trap filled mess. I couldn't walk ten feet without postholing. But I can say that I have officially been initiated into winter hiking (even though it's spring, the conditions were winter-like), as I did fall into a spruce trap. It happens *snap* just like that!

When we got to Webster, the summit also had good views, and the wind and cold were just as strong.

We needed a chance to rest our legs before beginning the descent, which was uneventful except for more postholing, the Silver Cascades, and a rather tricky water crossing.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2150 ft / 655 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2150 ft / 655 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Route:Webster-Jackson Trail (Jackson Branch)
    Start Trailhead:US 302  1902 ft / 579 m
    Time:2 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Webster-Jackson

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Jackson2013-04-202150 ft / 655 m
2Mount Webster2013-04-20350 ft / 107 m
Total Trip Gain: 2500 ft / 762 m

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