The adventure started early – our 5am drive up the snow covered highway was slippery and slow. We arrived at the finest Dunkin Donuts in the area and adjusted our strategy. One car left behind as we piled into 4×4’s to continued onward to the Ammonusuc Trailhead. Franconia Notch was icy and covered with drifts of the light snow then the Base Road to Marshfield Station was unplowed. It was exciting to be the first on unplowed roads then untracked mountain trails to climb Mt Washington. The Ammo trail had a foot of new at the start then as we ascended we found about two feet of new snow. We were amazed at the difference a thousand feet can make – truly a winter wonderland.
At treeline the wonderland changed – we layered up and entered the arctic alpine zone. Wind, ice, driving snows kept us in line and focused. The team followed Alex and we all climbed for 500 feet to the Lake of the Clouds Hut. The hut is closed but is one of the main stopping points on the Ammo climb. We headed for the leeward side to gain a break from the driving winds.
It was time to make a decision!!!
The weather was extreme and the forecast was for much worse to come as the winds were on the increase, temperatures were dropping, and frequent whiteout conditions existed. It was best for our team of climbers to enjoy the Lakes area as our high point and come back another time to climb higher.
After fueling up with drinks, high energy foods, warm gatorade we adjusted face masks and goggles and headed down the Ammo Trail directly into the wind. Frequently we grouped into huddles to check for exposed skin areas. Slowly we descended and entered the tree line area which immediately felt comfortable – like an average winter day.
It was clear to us all that above treeline travel in these conditions was extreme. We descended to enjoy the winter wonderland once again.
Early morning light while breaking the first path up the road.
Adventure seeker Stu enjoying this winter climb.
MMG Guide Bob our Mammut gear specialist.
Learning and practicing Crampon Techniques – The French Step.
Nate and Doug – Southern friends loving this place!
Alex in lead getting his leg workout breaking the trail
Pillows of snow bending over the trees.
Nick, Kevin and Tony taking a break from the slopes to try out mountaineering.
Masked men – full coverage needed for sure.
Rime ice on the brows and face mask.
Thanks to all for this weekend of adventure, excitement and fun.