Mt. Cardigan via the West ridge.

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Well-known member
Nov 13, 2004
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New hampshire
I will say this, Mt. Cardigan has moved up into my top 5 peaks to climb. It has such a diverse choice of routes and the expansive area above tree-line, can give you a variety of conditions as to always keep you entertained. I slept late after working second shift, so I needed something short, I had not been on the West ridge in a couple of years, so I thought, hey that fits the bill. I made my way up the dirt road, only to get flagged down by a older lady and her dog. The road was icy, and she found herself in a ditch. I had cell service , so I called local PD, only to get re-routed to the State police. It worked out fine, they sent a wrecker with an ETA of 45 minutes, which I thought was pretty good, given on location. The lady was about a mile from her car, but I couldn't give her a ride or let her in my car, because she had a big dog and well, let's just say, my Aussie Shay, would never allow another strange dog in our vehicle. It wasn't too cold out, I bid her farewell and hit the trailhead. There were two cars there already, one was occupied. I walked over and eyed the trail, now one thing I am good at is judging a trail and deciding what I should bring. Hard crust over sugar snow, snow depths half a foot at best, snowshoes were not going to help, in fact, they would be dreadful, so I spiked up and off we went. My guess was spot on and we made fairly good time, it was frustrating at some spots to slide back on hidden ice, I had my rock spikes on which were fine most of the time. When we broke treeline it was beautiful, the cone was either glaze ice or hardpack snow. I had to short leash my dog, as good as he is on ice, he was sliding here and there, and a dog can splay their legs and go limp very fast. WE made the summit and checked out the new tower, it's pretty basic, but looks nice. Visibility was pretty good, the cloud deck was low, but left plenty of openings to survey the surrounding ranges. Washington stuck out with it's heavy cloak of new snow. The decent went much better and quite fast, I staggered my footing and slid when I could to break the trail the best I could for anyone after us. It's in pretty good shape now. Overall it turned out to be a fantastic day and once again Cardigan shined for us. I also came to the decision, to start my fourth round of the 52wav, while still working on our third round, doing rounds exclusively is too limiting during the winter as to what you can hike and that was taking the fun out of my hiking. So, this was #1 for round 4, we sit at 27 for round 3. When time and conditions warrant, we prioritize round 3.