Ascent of Mount Jackson on 2013-08-04

Climber: Jeffrey McLean

Others in Party:Elizabeth
Date:Sunday, August 4, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Jackson
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4052 ft / 1235 m

Ascent Trip Report

Stayed over in Woodstock to get an early start up Webster and over to Jackson. Overnight the weather forecast turned from kinda bad to kinda worse. But we had an early enough start we figured we could beat the rain. We did the Webster - Jackson trail, followed the Webster branch to the Webster Cliff trail, bagged Webster summit, then backtracked on the Webster Cliff trail to Jackson. Followed the Jackson branch back to the Webster -Jackson trail split, and then down and out. This seemed like it should be an easy enough day, but the trail ended up being different than I had anticipated. Like most NH trails it starts off pretty moderate and gets steeper as you travel along. Up to the split is pretty easy. We noticed a lot of water and mud on the trail. I'm not sure if that was due to recent rain, or if that's just the usual state of this trail. I've read other reports that call this a dry trail though, so we maybe just were suffering from recent wet weather. This trail is very very rocky almost the whole way from top to bottom. It's also quite eroded in many places. After the trail split the Webster branch descends steeply and rapidy to a water crossing. There is a gorgeous waterfall to the left of the trail with a pool below it and a ravine heading down to the notch on your right. This was just a gorgeous gorgeous place. Be careful on the descent. It's tricky, but not horrible. After the water crossing you climb steeply up and out of the ravine. The trail stays rocky and steep with occasional flat spots most of the way up. As the trees get shorter around 3200 feet you're getting close. It gets even rockier and steeper for the rest of the way up to the Webster Cliffs trail. Webster's true summit doesn't appear to be marked. I did fine a well worn herd path the lead just 10 feet off the trail to a rock that seemed like it was the most likely high point. The views over the cliff into the notch are amazing. The sheer drop is very impressive. After a quick bite we headed north along the trail to Mt. Jackson. With thunder in the distance we moved pretty quickly across the ridge line. There are a few trick descents down some short 6 to 8 foot scrambles. The forest is nice through here. At points it was very wet and there are bog bridges placed along the trail to help. We were moving so quickly I didn't get a chance to enjoy this part of the trail much. As you get closer to Jackson it starts to pick up and climb again. Just before the summit is a very steep scramble of probably 25 to 30 feet. It looks and is almost straight up, but there are a lot of convenient hand holds and foot holds. It doesn't look it at first glance, but if you study it for a moment you'll be able to pick a path up. We stayed to the left side of the face and found it easy. After this you're pretty much on Jackson summit. It's a large summit with plenty of views. On our day Washington was in the clouds, but we could see clear over to the Mitpah Springs hut, up to Pierce, and just slightly beyond it. The other thing we could see was massive rain clouds to the south west headed our way in a hurry. We descended via the Jackson branch trail. It starts of very steep with a lot of scrambles then flats. We found sticking close to the tree line provided the best foot holds. We also incorporated the ever so graceful butt slide a few times. After the scrambles it's mostly rugged rough rocky footing all the way down to the branch. For some reason this descent seemed to go on and on forever. And just when we had enough, it started to down pour. Aside from the scrambles at the top, Jackson branch seemed like the easier of the two trails up. Perhaps because you do a lot of the elevation in the scrambles. Or maybe it just seemed easier because we were headed down instead of up. Either way, I think I'm glad we did the loop in this direction. I think going down the scramble on the Webster Cliffs trail would have been way worse that it was going up. When you do this hike leave time for the Elephant head and Bulge Cliff spur paths. Both offer excellent views, though Bulge is higher and just off the trails, so it's much easier to add than Elephant head.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Stream Ford, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Raining, Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Part of Trip: Webster - Jackson loop

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Webster2013-08-04 
2Mount Jackson2013-08-04 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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