Delphine is a new mountain explorer. She has been a skier for some time in the resort areas, until a little while ago when she tried ice climbing. It seems that with this experience she has caught the mountaineering bug. Delphine contacted MMG to go backcountry skiing on Mt. Cardigan near Bristol, NH. Since the ice climbing trip she went on, Delphine has begun winter camping and ski touring on her cross country skis. All this has left her wanting to get into the steeper back country terrain.
To enter these areas one needs to have many skills beyond the ability to ski. Navigation, back country travel in winter, avalanche awareness, and many others. All these topics were discussed while we toured the Cardigan loop.
Our day began as we skinned up the Dukes trail towards the Firescrew. Once in the open face of the Firescrew we decided to take the skins off for a quick run through the trees. Here Delphine ripped it up, speeding and carving perfect turns around the trees and through snow drifts. After climbing back to our packs, we continued our ascent up the Firescrew towards the summit of Cardigan.
On our traverse of the exposed ridgeline the wind and the snow picked up giving us a real alpine feel. We skinned right over the summit of Cardigan! After a picture or two we began our descent. With a little navigation in the fog we found our next objective, the long steep Alexandria trail.
Soon we were flying through the trees to where the Alexandria really opens up. Once there Delphine and I let it rip full speed down the trail. It’s amazing how fast one can travel through mountain terrain on skis. What took us a few hours to climb, we were down in minutes. All together, the grand tour of Mt. Cardigan on skis is one of the mountain gems of New Hampshire.
Thank you Delphine for a great day in the mountains. I look forward to more skiing and learning about avalanche awareness in the Mt. Washington backcountry.