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Thread: One of those hard to beat January Days on Madison

  1. #1
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    One of those hard to beat January Days on Madison

    The long range forecast was looking real fine for Friday so I scheduled a tentative hike up Madison with Jazzbo for a hike up Madison via the normal route. We were in no rush so got a casual start from Appalachia in the AM. I had a recent "boot issue" a week before so had to pull a reserve pair out of the closet so I wasnt looking for long day. Lots of folks already in the parking lot and headed up by the time we headed up the trail. Despite being on the north side of the mountain the sun was high enough that the sun came in through the hardwood until we transitioned back to the uphill slog section. We did get a few peeks through the trees north towards Berlin and north country and it was looking good. We met some folks headed down from a hike timed for sunrise on top of Adams. The trail was a side walk, totally no need for anything more than Hillsound Microspikes for me all day. No "kittens" were harmed. The last stretch from Valley Way Campsite was borderline for the Hillsounds, I expect Kahoolas might have been inadequate. It was a smooth buttslide chute with borderline bite for traction. I just consciously started kicking in a bit and didnt here a lot of complaints from Ray following my footsteps.

    Popping out at the Hut it was a classic blue, not a hint of clouds anywhere and not bit of wind. Plenty of folks came through while we had a long break. There were a few spots in the sun where there was some melting going on. Not much snow pack up in the bowl, I remember years where the bowl was flat smooth and featureless, its was all sharply defined. Ray elected to switch to crampons for the climb up to the summit but I stuck with the Hillsounds. The traction was fine and we worked out way to the top. Not a bit of breeze on top of Madison. It was definitely a 100 mile plus day, the usually slight low level smog on the horizon but it did not appear to limit the distance or the view. I had been playing with the Granit Lidar imagery the day before and noticed that along the Mt Crescent range in Randolph that some terrain features visible on Lidar that are not visible with tree cover stand out quite well. We talked to a few other folks for awhile and then headed down. I was considering switching to crampons for the hike down the upper section of Valley way but the snow chutes were just firmed up from the days traffic that I had no issues. We headed down the Valley Way and got down after the sun had dropped down so we were in the shadows.

    Hard to beat nice winter day on the summits.

    Hard to beat the day and nice to see quite variety of folks on the trail.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 02-01-2020 at 04:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    The date of our excursion was January 31, 2020. Here a some photos I took using my smart phone. First at Madison Hut.



    View down while going up or down summit cone from the hut is always interesting. Nice shot of Peakbagger



    View across to Adams is also good



    We spent leisurely time chatting with some other folks



    And Washington and Adams

    On #67 of NE67
    On #99 of NEHH
    On #46 of WNH48

    An atom walked up to me and said "i think I've lost an electron"
    I said "are you sure?"
    It reply "I'm positive."

  3. #3
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    I hiked Pierce today. Higher Summits forecast was for 20 to 50 mph winds, or so the sign said at the HC. Nary a breeze during the hike and just a bare whisper at the summit. The first time I hiked Madison, on a cool Oct day, it was dead calm in the col between the peaks. It was spooky. I love days like that above treeline. They aren't as much fun when the wind blows. I turned around at the Hut one January day when the wind was whipping through there. Way above my comfort zone.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing the amazing pictures. You're right the snow cover below the hut looks more like late November than the end of January. I was looking for pictures to show the difference and saw that pictures above the huts don't look to much different as the wind scours the rocks above treeline very well. I did not have any good below hut pictures.

    On some trips in winter, the turn out of gulley before reaching the hut was covered and the trail to the hut just stayed in the drainage. In fact I seem to remember a late winter or early Spring trip where someone stayed in the drainage and at some point broke through and got wet which added to their discomfort, If I remember correctly, SAR was called and helped him walk out & then seek medical attention.
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    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  5. #5
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    Jazzbo's camera tended to pick up more high level clouds than I perceived that day. On day like that I was wearing high UV sunglasses and to me the sky was brighter blue with the exception of a bit of brown haze off on the horizon. It could be that my glasses filter out the high clouds.

    I have noticed this before in reverse with sunglasses on at work. On clear blue sky day when looking at smoke stack I will not see a plume on the stack without glasses but when I look at it with sunglasses on I can see a plume.

    The hiker getting lost in the drainage when leaving the hut has happened on occasion but none lately. I believe its a low/no visibility situation made worse by wind and possibly hiker fatigue. When leaving the hut the trail is delineated with scree walls but they are not high and the trail takes a distinct turn into the spruce while the drainage could be perceived as the path. Once a hiker drop into the drainage its steep climb up through very thick vegetation to get back on the Valley Way.

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