Ascent of West Bond on 2015-10-03

Climber: Michael Stonek

Others in Party:Gloria Matveev
Kim Grabois
Date:Saturday, October 3, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:West Bond
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4520 ft / 1377 m

Ascent Trip Report

We arrived at the parking lot at the end of Zealand Rd at 8:30 AM and it was already close to full on this cool but sunny Saturday in early fall. We took the Zealand Trail for 2.3 miles that were easy and with plenty of beautiful views of the mountains with the autumn colors on full swing. We passed several nice ponds and we could've made it pretty quickly to the Zealand Falls Hut if it wasn't that we stopped frequently to take pictures. The trail went gradually from a 2,000 ft elevation at the trailhead to 2,600 ft at the Hut, 2.8 miles from the start.

At the Hut we took a break to chat with some people and take pictures of the Zealand Falls. When we continued we took a left onto the Twinway Trail, where we started climbing on earnest and the hike got rougher. We paralleled the falls for a while, but then the trail moved away towards the west. After 1.2 miles from the Hut we got to Zeacliff Mountain at the intersection with the Zeacliff Trail. There were more than a dozen girls taking a break there and they told me not to take the Zeaclilff since there were no views to speak for. I thanked them but I had no intention anyway. I continued on the Twinway Trail for about 1.6 miles to the Spur for Zealand Mountain, 0.1 miles to the right. This mountain had absolutely no views and I quickly went there to bag the peak and came back to the Twinway. The elevation was 4,260 ft. Not an easy climb from the Hut, but nothing crazy either. I had lost my trekking partners Gloria and Kim by now, as expected since they are faster hikers than me.

I started going down gradually for 1.3 miles from the top of Zealand until reaching the intersection with the Bondcliff Trail to the left. I encountered several hikers that were doing the Hut-to-Hut (Zealand to Galehead). For them they had to continue on the Twinway to South Twin. But for me, I took Bondcliff towards Mount Guyot (elevation: 4,508 ft) which I reached after a quick climb. Soon after that, I reached a sign pointing to the Guyot lean-to, 0.2 miles to the left, but I continued ahead. I made it to the intersection with the West Bond Spur to the right, which i took. I made it to the West Bond Mountain (elevation: 4,540 ft) after an easy climb. My third peak of the day and two to go.

After retracing my steps from West Bond for 0.5 miles I made it back to Bondcliff and continued another half a mile to the top of Mount Bond, the tallest of the bunch at 4,698. This peak offered outstanding views and I re-encountered my hiking mates over there. Fairly crowded with other hikers. Somebody stepped on one of my trekking poles breaking it, so I had to do the rest of the hike with only one, which was a bit of a pain, not to mention the pain to my wallet to spend another $ 150 for another pair. Well, sh*t happens...

After the break I continued on the Bondcliff Trail for another 1.2 miles to the top of Bondcliff Mountain, which also offered great views. The descent from Bond and subsequent ascent of Bondcliff wasn't that easy since there was an area with exposed boulders that made for a difficult scramble, particularly with only one pole. Luckily this section wasn't very long. I met with the girls again at the top. This was our final peak of the day. It was windier and colder at the summit, but considering it was the Whites, not too bad. Still sunny with few clouds on the sky.

Now it was a matter of retracing our steps all the way back to the car at Zealand Rd. We had done 10.5 miles so far and had about 9.5 miles left (we weren't re-climbing West Bond, of course). I started the descent before the girls, but they quickly passed me and I gave them one of the keys to the car so they didn't have to wait for me outside at the parking lot on a cold night.
It got dark at about 6:30 PM and when I went to put on my headlamp I realized that the batteries were all drained out! I hadn't used it for several weeks and I hadn't tested it at home before the hike (mistake!). Well, I found in my backpack a small flashlight which I used the rest of the way. Having at this point only one trekking pole made it slightly easier because I could hold the flashlight in my empty hand, but it made for a more difficult and slower descent. In some sections I had to carry the flashlight in my mouth so I could use both hands coming down.

I got to the Zealand Hut at about 8:30 PM. I was glad to make it since it meant that what was left was an easy 2.8 miles of gradual descent. The guy in charge at the hut recognized me in the dark and asked about the girls; I told him they probably were in the car already! I made it to the parking lot at 10:10 PM but, to my surprise, the car was empty! What happened to the girls?? Did they get lost? I was pretty worried. There was absolutely no cell reception in the area. Finally, they arrived at 11:10 PM. They had decided to take the Zeacliff Trail at the Zeacliff Mountain instead of continuing on the Twinway to the Hut. Taking Zeacliff to the Ethan Pond Trail would have been 2.7 miles instead of 1.5 miles on the Twinway, but they felt strong and it was still early. The problem they encountered was that when they reached the Whitewall Brook they couldn't find a way to cross it safely and they never made it to Ethan Pond. They had no choice but to retrace their steps back to the Twinway Trail and take that one instead. So they made it to the car about an hour after me.

The final tally for me was: 20 miles, 6,200 ft of elevation gain in 13.5 hours. Great hiking day!
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Zealand Trail - Twinway Trail - Bondcliff Trail
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Zealand

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Zealand Mountain2015-10-03 
2Mount Guyot2015-10-03 
3West Bond2015-10-03 
4Mount Bond2015-10-03 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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