View Full Version : West Peak via Firewardens Trail (actually Rt. 27!) 1-19-08

01-20-2008, 01:11 PM
Incredibly beautiful cold crisp conditions following the 8 inches of powder from Thursday/Fridays storm. The walk in started just off route 27 at the start of the Stratton Pond Rd. (Not plowed) We opted for snow shoes as the road was not broken except for a few early snowmobile tracks, and walked the 2+ miles to the brook crossing trailhead. The crossing wasn't bad as it was early and cold enough to have formed a fairly good ice dam interlocking the rocks and we were able to keep the snowshoes on for the crossing w/out any difficulty. Firewardens trail was not well broken even under the fresh powder (the long approach is a likely deterrent for many?) so we made the long gradual northeast walk to the wall just below the saddle. Going up the steeps just below the saddle was extremely difficult/tiresome w/ snowshoes factoring in the powder and subsequent slippage. Off they went cached, and on came the crampons. Presto! Things sped up from there. We made the saddle, then pushed up to West Peaks windy cold apex and eyed Avery's summit back to the east. It was getting too late by about an hour to go bag Avery as well, (the longer than expected approach slowed us down) so we opted to descend and head back the 7.5 miles to the car. We walked out a good portion under the filtered light of the large moon, and that made the trudge so beautiful along the flats. With no wind at that point, the forest ever so silent hearing only the crisp crunch of crampons over packed trail. For the first outing of the winter for us, it was a good one-LONG and tiring. We felt deserving of the Guinness back at the pub that followed. I had never climbed into the Bigelows before from such a long approach. Now I have, in winter. And, Avery will be there for the next time. That's the beauty of the mountains and this sport we love so.

-Dave and Maple