Ascent of Vose Spur on 2014-11-01

Climber: Michael Berger

Others in Party:Lisa Rogers
Rich Farrell
Joan ???
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, November 1, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Vose Spur
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3862 ft / 1177 m

Ascent Trip Report

#69 Vose Spur

Transitions - some smooth, some not so smooth.

I climbed Vose Spur with a few new climbing partners: Lisa, Chris, and Joan.

Vose Spur my second peak towards completing the New England Hundred Highest list, but the first one that I've gone since deciding to actually start working on the 100. I had no intentions of working on this list until I finished the New England 67 4000'ers back in September. However, I found myself with no list and no direction. I must have a list. So, NEHH it is.

We started the hike about 8:30 AM with temp at 33 degrees and overcast. I thought the precipitation was supposed to hold off until later in the day, but soon into the hike, a frozen mist began. The precipitation got heavier as the day went one and never really let up. First snow hike of the season for me. I had packed for cold weather and so wasn't really uncomfortable although towards the end of the hike after being soaking wet and freezing temps I was starting to get chilled and happy to get back to a warm car.

The first and last four miles of this hike is some of the easiest hiking I'm done in the Whites - flat with fairly smooth trails. It's the middle two miles that were a real adventure - some of the hardest hiking I've done in a while. There's no trail to the summit of Vose Spur, so the last mile is a bushwhack. Not only is it a bushwhack, but you also get almost all the elevation in that last mile - about 1800'. We started out on a herd path, but we quickly lost the herd path just winged it. We found a drainage ditch that we followed for a while that made the hiking a little easier as the terrain was a little bit clearer. But it was still slow and difficult hiking with lots of blowdowns to get over or under and fairly think bushwhacking in places. The terrain quickly turned steeper as we made pretty much all the elevation of the entire hike while bushwhacking. We occasionally found and lost the herd path. All the way up, I was hoping to get a break from the steep ascent, but it kept getting steeper and steeper as we got higher without a break. When we got to the talus field all the rock was covered with snow just to make things a little more interesting. The climb just below the summit was the steepest looking about as close to a wall as you can get. I was looking straight ahead at the feet of the person who was just a couple feet in front of me.

We finally got to what we thought was the summit and looked around for the summit log, but couldn't spot it. We had to hike another couple hundred feet until we spotted the log tube and the "throne". It was a big relief to get up there after a very tough climb with everyone cold and wet, but all well. We only stayed at the top for about ten minutes as we all wanted to get on with the descent.

I was expecting the descent to be a lot worse than the climb - it usually is on steep terrain. But we all proceeded carefully and got through the entire descent with no incident. We were able to follow the herd path for a lot of the way down, but still lost it a lot. We did have a navigation incident about half way down with me in the lead as I was informed that I was going in the wrong direction. I basically though "down" was the right direction, but I had started down the wrong side of a ridge. I'm glad cooler heads prevailed and corrected our course by 90 degrees.

We made it back to the trail and the easy hike out. There's one water crossing that we had deal with. There were rockes just above water level allowing for a just barely dry crossing. On the return, Joan lost her footing about half way across and went down on hads and knees in the cold water. She came up with a badly dislocated finger pointing in a direction that fingers aren't made to point. So, post hike for her was a visit to urgent care.

I stupidly forgot to bring pants and socks to change into so had to drive home with wet pants.

It was a great hike, but much more difficult and wetter than I expected. I can tell the 100 Highest is going to be a different kind of climbing. A lot of the mountains on this list don't have established trails to top and some don't even have established trailheads. This is going to be even more of an adventure than the 4000'ers.
Summary Total Data
    Route:Signal Ridge, Carrigan Notch, bushwhack
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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