View Full Version : Three Presidnetial Summit Attempt

06-04-2004, 03:27 PM
Our original dream was to do a presi trverse this spring but the reality of the thing and our limited opportunites as a team made us re-consider (good thing). Instead we planned a three summit attempt of Jefferson, Adams and Madison which would complete the presidentials for two of our three man party in a 15 mile loop. We left Springfield MA at 0345 and got on the Castle Trail at 0808 leaving the car at the Bowman Trail Head. The weather forecast called for thick clouds, winds gusting to 50, hail, t-storms and rain. Nothing on the ground suggested that this forecast would come to pass. We started up the Castle Trail and made very good time (for us) to the ridge and then were delighted that the contour was everything the AMC guide promised (but without the spectacular views since the weather report was beginning to materialize.) Following the Castle Trail toward the summit of Mt Jefferson we crossed the Cornice trail at about 1130 and had it in our minds that we might even summit inside of four hours. This noble goal was, alas, not to be realized. The clouds were completing enveloping the area and we could see only the next cairn for the next half hour-then we began to hear thunder in the distance. With the thunder came the first of the hail. We found a nice high group of rocks within view of what we assumed was the summit and hunkered down for lunch and to see if the storm would pass. It didn't. It got colder, wetter and hailier (I made that word up just now) We donned our wet wether gear and extra insulation layers and considered going on up sans packs for a quick summit. About that time (it's 1300 by now) the weather really turned and we all felt we would be the very definition of wisdom if we were to get out of there and come back another day. We descended to the Cornice trail and worked our way over toward Castle Ravine trail thinking we might pick up the Gulfside for our attemp of Adams. The weather had not improved much by the time we hit the junction, and once again because the AMC guide said we should not head toward Edmonds Col in bad weather we followed the Randolph Trail to Isreal Ridge and on to Gulfside southwest of Adams. The clouds lifted just enough for us to get a good view of Adams and a part of the Auto Road on Washington before socking us in again as we turned up Lowe's Path for our ascent. Slippery, wet rocks, dense fog, and a howling wind greeted us. We made the Summit ar 1610 and were immediately greeted with fierce wind and biting hail. After a few photos we were down again and on our way back to the car. We took Lowe's all the way to the Rail trail with a half hour dinner stop at the Log Cabin. We arrived at the car at 2000 hours just minutes shy of a 12 hour roundtrip. All of our gear was wet we were tired, Jefferson and Madison still taunt me, but we were safe and sound. Home and in bed in Springfield before 0100! My scripture reading on the way up came from Isaiah 35 which includes these words "Strengthen the feeble hands, stready the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts. 'Be strong, do not fear your God will come...'" I did have strong knees (and ankles) and I needed all the courage I could get!We only saw three people, those on the descent below tree line after 1700 hrs. What a great day!