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View Full Version : Conditions on Mt Jefferson Ridge of Caps



slowmo68
10-20-2006, 07:14 AM
I am thinking of hiking Jefferson via ridge of caps on Sunday, anyone been up this trail recently? I have a need to get this in before winter. My best friend and I attempted this trail a few years ago but it started to rain just before the 1st cap and 38 degrees so I turned us around. Unfortunately the same friend was involved in a fatal car accident 2 weks ago. I have been starring at the photos I took of him on the ridge of the caps and knowing that we never returned to finish this hike ( the only one he ever came with me on ) is pushing me to finish the hike. I would love to get this in before winter but thinking I may run into unfavorable conditions at this point. Is this doable with just yak tracks?
Thanks
Chris

w7xman
10-20-2006, 07:22 AM
First off, terribly sorry to hear about your friend! Really no words to help ease with such trajedies...but I wish I could offer some

If you did the hike early today, the answer would likely be yes, the trails are clear enough for boots/maybe yaks. Unfortunately it's hard to say what the trails will be like Sunday, with the storm that is predicted to hit the peak tonight and tomorrow. Could some snow and icing tonight, how much though, I'm not sure. I'd check back with the trail conditions tomorrow during the day for a much better picture.

slowmo68
10-20-2006, 07:36 AM
Thanks W7XMAN
I will do that, I probably wouldn't go if any accumiltion of snow or ice occured tonight. My friend wouldn't be to happy with me if I attemted this in bad conditions especialy seeming I was the one to turn us around when bad conditions occured when we hiked it last together ( He wanted to finish it).

Jim lombard
10-20-2006, 09:49 AM
This is what the Mount Washington Obs is posting for tomorrow

Tomorrow:
In the clear with an undercast & partly cloudy skies .

Highs: lower 20s°F

Wind: NW 80-100 decreasing to 55-75mph afternoon

Drastic changes coming, be careful

DougPaul
10-20-2006, 10:34 AM
It is now wait for good conditions and pounce time...

The Mt Washington webcam pictures might help you to asses conditions in the northern Pressies: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/cam/index.php

Doug

w7xman
10-21-2006, 06:32 AM
I'm sorry to say but it's not looking good this morning. The summit picked up 4 inches of snow and a good amount of ice, and temps aren't progged to get above freezing. Watch the webcams through the day, but it doesn't look like a safe idea if you aren't comfortable with snow/ice on the trails.

I'd continue to watch conditions the next few weeks. I've definately barebooted in November before. All the best!

~w7x

Breeze
10-21-2006, 04:53 PM
I'm sorry to say but it's not looking good this morning. The summit picked up 4 inches of snow and a good amount of ice, and temps aren't progged to get above freezing. Watch the webcams through the day, but it doesn't look like a safe idea if you aren't comfortable with snow/ice on the trails.

I'd continue to watch conditions the next few weeks. I've definately barebooted in November before. All the best!

~w7x

It is not a friendly place above 3000 feet in the Presi's this afternoon/evening.

There are isolated snowdrifts in the lee of some of the summit Buildings on MW, but most of the snow was blown off the summits down to treeline and below.

I could watch the rime build on Carter Dome, the Carter- Moriahs, and on Madison and Adams as they peeked out of the clouds occassionally today.

Winds did just as predicted, dropped from 100+ early AM down into the 60-80 range around noonish. Down around Tree Line the estimate was 60+mph most of the day.

Actual temp stayed 16F most of the day and is now slowly dipping lower.

A steady freight train of clouds was streaming over the summits of Adams, Madison, Jefferson and Washington, but had brief glimpses of Adams and Madison.... White, Rime Ice, with snow squalls depositing some fresh snow between 3K and 4K

I spoke with some folks ( party of four, WELL DONE!!!) who did Great Gulf to Chandler Ridge to the Auto Road and down the road from Chandler Ridge Trail. One described it as North Pole stuff, but all were agreed they had a great hike.

State Parks has left a couple of guys at the Sherman Adams building to complete closing up TOMORROW ( 10/22). One who shall remain anonymous chose to drive down in 4WD chained up, described his drive--- above tree-line there was 3-4"ice ( blue topped with rime), blowing snow, visibility variable 50 to 300 feet. Tree line to 3000', substantial drifted and accumulated snow with underlying ice, below 3000 feet the road had been mostly cleared of snow and deadfall.

Deadfall is another warning for those staying below treeline. Last October's big slap ( same weekend a year ago) damaged and weakened both coniferous and deciduous trees. Avoiding limbs and trees was an adventure this morning as I drove to work ( 2 and 16) , and I would advise the "expectation" of same on trail. Expect to be climbing over new obstacles.

It is definitely winter this weekend in Pinkham Notch.

Breeze

MadRiver
10-22-2006, 12:34 PM
From where the link Trail crosses Lowe’s Path there is snow and ice. I stayed at Crag Camp Saturday night and there was close to 6 inches of snow on the Mountain. I didn’t venture above tree line on Saturday because of the wind. This morning the ridge was beautifully covered in a soft blanket of snow.

I had planned to hike the ridge over to Jewell, but my legs were tired from the hike Saturday and I would have been alone on the ridge, which wouldn’t be too smart, so I opted out.

Maddy
10-22-2006, 03:48 PM
[QUOTE=slowmo68 Is this doable with just yak tracks?
Thanks
Chris[/QUOTE]
Chris...just wanted to say that I have not had good luck with "yak tracks". I never wear them hiking anymore because they just did not hold up. Mine broke right here in the driveway! My own feeling is that they were not designed to climb the Ridge of Caps.
Stabilizers seem more reliable and have better grip and stability.

My deepest condolences in the loss of your friend.

skibones
10-23-2006, 04:38 AM
Sorry for your loss.

How did the hike go? Please let us know.

slowmo68
10-23-2006, 10:57 AM
Thanks for the condolences
I decided after checking out the Mnt Washington observatory site and various weather sites that I should wait and hopefully get a better day in the next week or so. I was going to be solo and thought it to risky for the 1st winterish hike of the year ( need to get my ice legs under me ). Does anyone have an idea how long the Base rd to Ridge of the Caps trail head typically stays open? I know this changes from year to year but there must be an average date that it would be open till. It was 3 years ago that we attemted this hike and I do remember this being a tough scramble in fair conditions. We turned around due to deteriating conditions and my friend was not properly outfitted for cold rain and strong winds. From some of the posts I am wondering if I should just bring my crampons at this point instead of the Yak tracks that I ran out to buy before I had read Maddy's post about Yax, sounds like full on winter has arrived in the Presidentials. This is something I really wanted to solo and take my time and reflect on the time I did it with my best friend. So has any one here done this trail in icy conditions? Sorry about the long confused post but I am trying to make a decision on either doing this now or waiting untill next June.
Thanks for the reply posts

Jim lombard
10-23-2006, 02:26 PM
Does anyone have an idea how long the Base rd to Ridge of the Caps trail head typically stays open?

It depends but usually till mid-November, it's open today
STATUS OF ROADS (http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/recreation/roads_status.php)

Maddy
10-23-2006, 03:04 PM
T From some of the posts I am wondering if I should just bring my crampons at this point instead of the Yak tracks that I ran out to buy before I had read Maddy's post about Yax, sounds like full on winter has arrived in the Presidentials.
Thanks for the reply posts

Can you return the Yaks??? If you bought them at EMS/REI they will probably take them back and you can invest in the stabilizers. Crampons are always an option.
The Alum Kahtoola crampons are wonderful. The are very lightwieght, compact and super easy to use. Obviously more aggresive than stabilizers which are very good.
I forgot to tell you that my friend and I both fell with our Yaks on.
You can always save the yaks for local sidewalks or the driveway.
Hope you get to go up north.

David Metsky
10-23-2006, 03:41 PM
For a trail like Ridge of the Caps I'd go with full crampons. Yaks or Stabilicers don't have enough bite for the steep rock (and exposure) you can encounter on that trail. IMO, those tools are best for relatively flat terrain, but definately not stuff like this:
http://www.hikethewhites.com/clay/up07.jpg
Now picture that with a layer of ice. :eek:

-dave-

slowmo68
10-23-2006, 06:39 PM
Thanks for the tips. I will keep the yak tracks for when I plow ( gettin out to shovel). I do have a pair of Grivel 10's, I had just heard alot about yak's over the last year and wanted to check them out. Dave is that a picture of the Caps trail? We didn't get as far as that the day we went. If that is the caps trail I am reconsidering doing it when any ice is present WOW !!! I can't even say that I would feel comfortable using my
Grivels and an axe. Looks like alot of fun though and can only wish I had gotten my buddy to that point (If it was dry). Looks like I may be off to safer snow covered trails and will tackle this one in the spring, thanks for the picture Dave.