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Thread: Adams and Madison...The hard way! 3/11/06

  1. #1
    Senior Member NH_Mtn_Hiker's Avatar
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    Adams and Madison...The hard way! 3/11/06

    It was 8:20am when Hamtero and I left the parking area and headed up the Great Gulf Trail. The trail had about 2 inches of packed snow and ice on it to start, but gradually increased to about 6-8 inches of packed snow before we reached the Six Husbands Trail. At the junction of the Madison Gulf Trail (North) we met two other hikers coming out from the Great Gulf. They mentioned the had been in the Great Gulf for a few days and had stayed in snow caves deeper in the gulf. We later found the snow caves between the Chandler Brook and Wamsutta Trails.

    We found the trails in to be well packed all the way to the Buttress Trail which had only been lightly used and the snow was now 1-2 feet deep so we switched from crampons to snowshoes at this point. 5.1 miles into our hike we reached the sharp right turn on the Buttress trail where the talus field is. From this turn the Adams Slide Trail, now abandoned, continues straight up the side of Mt. Adams.

    After lunch on the open talus field we started up the Adams Slide Trail. After bushwhacking to the left of the trail for a short distance we were able to follow the trail up the steep slope with little difficulty...for a while, but...just like last time, we eventully...ummm, became unsure of our location in relation to the trail...BUT WE WEREN'T LOST!

    We started bushwhacking across to the right trying to find the trail, eventually realizing we'd gone too far, we started to cut back across the slope further up. We were going up slope much more than across it. Not wanting to miss the trail completely, I finally consulted my GPS, against the wishes of Hamtero and discovered that the trail crossed the slope about 200 feet above us. So we continued bushwhacking up the side of Mt. Adams until we reached the trail just above where it emerged from treeline. We had bushwhacked about 1000 feet up the side of the mountain and we were now about 2 hours behind schedule. A short distance up the trail we found our first cairn.

    After emerging from the trees onto the shoulder of Adams we noticed that it was quite breezy, but warm for a winter day in the Presi's, about 25 degrees. We stopped to add an extra layer of clothing and a short distance further we removed our snowshoes as the ground was becoming increasingly rocky. As we moved towards the summit the winds got stronger and stronger. We also noticed that the North-East side of the summit cone, where the Adams Slide Trail meets the Star Lake Trail, was covered in a sheet of packed snow and ice. Since we didn't have ice axes, and a fall on that steep slope would likely send us to the bottom of Madison Gulf, we decided to brave the winds and rock hop our way to the summit to the side of the icy slope.

    From the base of the summit cone to the top we were challenged by 60-80mph winds, but at about 3:30 in the afternoon we reached the summit of Mt. Adams. We wasted little time here though, after a couple of minutes for photos we made on our way down the Airline Trail to the Gulfside Trail, stopping along the way to put our crampons on as this side of the summit had much more snow and ice than where we had come up from. Upon reaching the Gulfside Trail we headed down to the Madison Springs Hut for supper arriving there at 4:15pm.

    After supper we headed up the Osgood Trail towards Mt. Madison. The higher we climbed, the stronger the winds became. The windspeeds along the top of the ridge were about the highest we'd seen all day, about 70mph with a few higher gusts. Our photo stop at the summit was very brief. We cautiously, but quickly, descended from the summit cone. Once we were off the summit, and it was between us and the wind, the going became much easier. As we continued the long hike down the ridge to tree line we watched the sun set on the Presidentials and the rest of Northern New Hampshire. The nearly full moon provided more than adequate light to see by as I led the way down to the Great Gulf Trail. The Osgood Trail below tree line had a few short icy sections and many, many blowdowns. I expect these will be a problem for those trying to ascend this trail.

    When we reached the Great Gulf Trail we noticed that the few inches of snow and ice than had been there in the morning had been replaced by slush and mud, and the temperature was still in the mid thirties. We arrived back at the trailhead at 7:50, 11 1/2 hours after we started.

    Despite the wind; ...the warm temps, nearly full moon, and clear skies (by the time we got above treeline) made for another great day and evening in the Presidentials.

    76 photos are here
    Last edited by NH_Mtn_Hiker; 10-17-2006 at 03:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Fabulous photos and trip report!
    Best regards,
    Marty
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


    Song: Bottom Line
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    Senior Member poison ivy's Avatar
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    Pretty amazing! I had trouble with the Osgood Trail in summer... can't even conceive of hiking it in winter!


    - Ivy

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    Senior Member HAMTERO's Avatar
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    Talking cheatin'

    ugh,GPS. I thought we were doin' OK. Daniel Boone didn't have one. That's just so the MAN can see where you are.
    "I'm on a permanent vacation"

    Don Sheldon

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    Senior Member NewHampshire's Avatar
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    MAN! Looks like a whole BUNCH of great hikes came out of the Presidential Range this past weekend. Wonder what the odds of getting this kind of weather for next weekend are .

    Brian
    Adopter: Wildcat Ridge Trail from Rt.16 to Wildcat "D". If you have any issues please contact me!

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    Great TR I enjoyed reading it, that was quite a day! Nice pic's too!
    kmac
    Genuine listening means suspending memory, desire, and judgement-and for a moment at least, existing for the other person. ~Michael Nichols

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    Senior Member giggy's Avatar
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    sweet trip guys - wish i was there
    Accomplishments:
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    Thumbs up

    dap! total dap!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member NH_Mtn_Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HAMTERO
    ugh,GPS. I thought we were doin' OK. Daniel Boone didn't have one.
    Daniel Boone didn't had a freckin headlamp or a synthetic hardshell either!

    Quote Originally Posted by HAMTERO
    That's just so the MAN can see where you are.
    "the MAN"...Oh,.....do you mean Darren or Dave?

  10. #10
    Senior Member HAMTERO's Avatar
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    eye in the sky

    Death-red-square-ray from above!
    "I'm on a permanent vacation"

    Don Sheldon

  11. #11
    Senior Member dr_wu002's Avatar
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    Can't wait to do this one in summer

    When did they close this trail? It's still on the Topozone Map. Pretty cool trip. I like the pictures. Gotta look at them some more!

    I woulda thrown that GPS in the woods though if I were you, Hamtero!

    -Dr. Wu
    To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
    -Thomas Paine

  12. #12
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_wu002
    When did they close this trail? It's still on the Topozone Map.
    I hiked Adams slide tr in the early 70s. Abandoned by the 76 guidebook.

    Doug

  13. #13
    Senior Member dr_wu002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul
    I hiked Adams slide tr in the early 70s. Abandoned by the 76 guidebook.

    Doug
    1876 or 1976? Just curious!

    The pictures from the talus slopes way up remind me of looking off the Cathedral Trail up Katahdin where you really get a sense of just how durn the trail is!

    -Dr. Wu
    To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
    -Thomas Paine

  14. #14
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_wu002
    1876 or 1976? Just curious!
    I may be (getting) old, but I don't have any guidebooks from the 1800s...

    Doug

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    Senior Member SAR-EMT40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul
    I may be (getting) old, but I don't have any guidebooks from the 1800s...

    Doug
    At least not ones he has used when they were new.

    Keith
    "The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information."- Ed Abbey

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