Sunday, February 14, 2010

Climbing Mount Monadnock

To fulfill my new year's resolution, I decided to climb Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. Mt. Monadnock is 3,165 feet high. Seth and I thought that it would be better to start with a shorter mountain, since we don't have proper winter climbing gear, like crampons. Last Saturday, it was about 30 degrees at the base of the mountain and sunny. It was the perfect day to reach the summit.

We took the White Dot Trail, which is the fastest, most direct route up the mountain and also the steepest. As we climbed and passed people coming back down, they all asked if we had any traction. Everyone had some form of crampons on, except us. They thought we were crazy to do this climb without any traction. (Seth and I did a climb last year on Massachusetts' tallest mountain, Mt. Greylock, where we reached the summit without using crampons. However, we had a good two feet of soft snow below us, so we really didn't need crampons.) Since we have not had much snow this season, the snow that was on the trails was packed down and most of the trail was covered in ice. As we found out, crampons would have been a big help.
We could not see the summit as we were climbing and didn't know how much further we had to go. We got to a point which we thought was the summit. We stopped to talk a man who was letting us pass him, and had some wise words of wisdom. He first thought we weren't smart to not bringing traction aids with us. Then he asked if we had any matches; we didn't. So he said that not bringing matches is just plain stupid. We should have brought matches, but considering there were about 50 people on the mountain at the same time we were, we weren't too worried about being stranded. After talking to the guy, we kept heading for the summit.
 We had a lot farther to go
 I took another picture when we thought we had reached the summit...

 But then we turned around and saw the real summit.
We continued to head towards the real summit. Once we reached the summit it was an amazing sight. Visibility was great and you could see for miles. 
Here are photos from the actual summit  
The hike down was more treacherous than going up. The ice that covered the trails was a large slip and slide made of ice and rocks. It was a lot of fun, though. We plan to climb our next mountain in the next few weeks, but this time we will bring crampons... and matches.

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