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View Full Version : Jewell/ammo trail (winter)



snowbird22
12-23-2012, 07:55 PM
This morning we intended on going up the Jewell trail.. Not likely going all the way.. With the wind forecast of 85-105 and higher gust, along with -50 wind-chills we wanted to go up as far we would be comfortable.. We showed up about 0630, still dark and snowing hard. However, we got there and the parking lot was gated and not plowed.. The place was deserted. We didn't see anyone else and couldn't car in far enough off the road without getting stuck. So the combination of the remoteness, windy conditions at the base, not being able to properly park, and I guess it just seemed to spook us a little. Something didn't seem right about going in the woods. We ended up deciding to go to highland center and head up the Crawford path to Mt pierce. Which was a very nice hike.. Just wondering, if we elect to try Jewell and Ammo on a nice day, what is the option for parking? Also the road was mostly not plowed which made it a little challenging for a front wheel drive Elantra. The Elantra is a beast in the snow but, i'm not up for ruining my car. Is that the norm for that road in the off-season? It doesn't show up on WMNF road site. thanks!!

bikehikeskifish
12-23-2012, 08:15 PM
Usually winter hikers park at the hiker's lot at the cog, below the cog lot. They don't charge in winter, but they have tended to chase people out of the upper lot the past few years. Base Station Road is usually plowed but probably not salted.

Tim

Brambor
12-24-2012, 06:06 AM
Now that the question has been answered, (I didn't want to hijack the thread before) can you please elaborate on your statement that the Elantra is a beast in the snow? :-) I've had the new Elantra now for about 2 months and experienced some snow driving with it. One of the experiences actually was the connecting road with 302 and the Cog road that leads to the Edmunds Path parking lot. Needless to say that I have been a bit nervous about the ability to stay on the road and climbing. Should I just trust it more? :-)

Driver8
12-24-2012, 08:57 AM
One other thing to the OP: up to you, but you might consider ascending via Ammo and descending Jewell, which is much gentler. Ammo is quite fierce between the Gem Pool and the hut. Jewell is much gentler. An advantage for Jewell, though, is that if you ascend it and find it to be plenty to handle, you can go back down it rather than taking on Ammo. Personally, I'm hoping on a good weekend soon to go up Ammo, over Monroe and down to Eisenhower, descending via Edmands. Should be gorgeous. :)

snowbird22
12-24-2012, 10:26 AM
Now that the question has been answered, (I didn't want to hijack the thread before) can you please elaborate on your statement that the Elantra is a beast in the snow? :-) I've had the new Elantra now for about 2 months and experienced some snow driving with it. One of the experiences actually was the connecting road with 302 and the Cog road that leads to the Edmunds Path parking lot. Needless to say that I have been a bit nervous about the ability to stay on the road and climbing. Should I just trust it more? :-)

haha, yeah.. I have always had pickup trucks, the latest a 11' Toyota Tacoma DBL cab 4X4.. However. I got tired of the high cost to register in NH and more so the fuel prices!! I actually bought down and I have an 08' Elantra that I found. It was used on 36k from Grappone in Concord.. Great car so far though I have only had it a few months. It handled the base road yesterday without too much trouble.. The hardest spot were areas where I had trouble maintaining ground clearance. Hence the comment of not ruining my car!! What kind of tires do you have? It came with BF Goodrich Premier Touring tires.. Mud and Snow.. They're great, they bite well, like I said the biggest challenging is maintaining ground clearance. I still spin the tires accelerating on snow covered roads and hills but, I did with my Tacoma unless put it on four wheel. You still can get stuck.. I cannot do the same things I could with a Tacoma but, for 36mpg; double the gas mileage, and only filling up with 12 gals instead of 18 gal.. I'll make the sacrifice. Hope that helps..

snowbird22
12-24-2012, 10:28 AM
Thanks for help everyone, I think we will do that loop with Ammo first.. Given the condition we wanted an easy up and back yesterday never setting the goal for the summit. More of a hike for really cold high wind experience. Just to see what its like in case we accidentally got caught out there.. Happy holidays!!

peakbagger
12-24-2012, 10:51 AM
I have driven my honda civic up there in winter a few times and a lot of other back roads without issues but the road does get icy and there can be fresh snow on it even when nowhere else got snow. The key is real snow tires not all season. I recomend Nokian Hakkapelittas on all four wheels. In VT, you will see some cars on the road where the Nokians on the car are worth as much as the rest of the car. The civic doesnt have much ground clearance and it doesnt plow well so if the snow exceeds the ground clearance (except for drifts) its time to walk. I also carry a snow shovel and occasionally a tow strap. Its a 2000 with 165K on it and get 40 MPG, the darn things an "appliance", pour in gas, change the oil with synthetic every year and drive. For some cars its worth going to a skinnier tire which may mean going to a set of winter rims. Basically you go to a smaller diameter rim and a different aspect ratio tire to keep the speedometer working right.

Of course worse case I take my 4wd truck:) but its rare when the civic doesnt work just as well.

Brambor
12-24-2012, 03:34 PM
thank you Peakbagger

blacknblue
12-25-2012, 08:19 PM
One other thing to the OP: up to you, but you might consider ascending via Ammo and descending Jewell, which is much gentler. Ammo is quite fierce between the Gem Pool and the hut. Jewell is much gentler. An advantage for Jewell, though, is that if you ascend it and find it to be plenty to handle, you can go back down it rather than taking on Ammo. Personally, I'm hoping on a good weekend soon to go up Ammo, over Monroe and down to Eisenhower, descending via Edmands. Should be gorgeous. :)

Normally, that's fine to ascend Ammo and descend Jewell, but in the wintertime, the 'entrance' into Jewell at treeline can be very tricky. If you haven't come up from that direction, and there's any sort of visibility issues, you may find yourself in a dire situation wandering around a confusing landscape looking for the Jewell Trail into the woods. I would stick to up/down Ammo (which you can butt-slide down the steepest section), unless you are *very* confident you can find the route on Jewell.

DougPaul
12-26-2012, 09:33 AM
Normally, that's fine to ascend Ammo and descend Jewell, but in the wintertime, the 'entrance' into Jewell at treeline can be very tricky.
This route also requires one to travel a significant distance above timberline into the prevailing winds in a region that has no escape routes and no shelter. (The summit buildings are closed in winter.)

Doug

sierra
12-26-2012, 11:01 AM
The last two points should be taken serious, descending a route like the Jewell without ascending it first can be a can of worms, if you dont know the route and dougs point couldnt be stressed enough, I once descending the jewell in winds of 80 mph or so, it was no easy descent, in fact without goggles and a full goretex suit, I wouldnt have made it.

Driver8
12-26-2012, 05:25 PM
One definitely would want to choose a day with very stable weather, I'd think, for any Northern Presidential trek in winter, including the Jewell and Gulfside Trails. Under a dome of high pressure to keep the winds down, preferably relatively warm - mountwashington.org does a good job forecasting, for those not familiar with it.

I try to find such days for any White Mountain hiking, but the cautions above point out that this is especially important in winter with the exposure that comes above treeline. Nice thing about Ammo is you can hide behind the hut and are above treeline for about 1/4 mile before it, though exposure on the Crawford Path would be no joke in itself. The advantage of the Jewell route is that the grade is very steady and never very fierce. The downsides have been pointed out. There is no easy way up Washington, the moreso in winter.