So what are your early winter "bonus" hikes ?

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peakbagger

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Back when I was working on my winter 4ks years ago, there were a couple of winters in row where winter conditions didn't really start until mid to late January. FS roads were left open until mid January and trails were not snow covered. About the strangest conditions were a hike up Jefferson via Caps Ridge trail from the parking lot after driving up Jefferson Notch road from the north end on January 2nd. It was not a fluke that day as another group drove up from the base station road (which at the time was officially closed in the winter). Temps were winter time cold but no snow. The same early winter we did a southern presi traverse from Tucks to Crawford Notch as a bare boot. We also did Bondcliff as an out and back from Lincoln Woods with no traction needed except for the steep ledge at the top. Eventually it did snow and there was a snowpack both years but compared to a normal winter it was a bit of a bust.

We did have a couple of New Years days about 5 years ago where it was shorts and T shirt weather but some early snow had closed the FS gates so they were a bit less bonus.

So what gems are on your list if the snow holds off until after the official start of winter season?
 
I did Bondcliff last Saturday and did not need traction at all. Besides a couple of 4ft patches towards the top the trail was clear. The clouds lifted for about 20 minutes just when I reached the the top. I considered that to be a bonus ;-)

Back when I was working on my winter 4ks years ago, there were a couple of winters in row where winter conditions didn't really start until mid to late January. FS roads were left open until mid January and trails were not snow covered. About the strangest conditions were a hike up Jefferson via Caps Ridge trail from the parking lot after driving up Jefferson Notch road from the north end on January 2nd. It was not a fluke that day as another group drove up from the base station road (which at the time was officially closed in the winter). Temps were winter time cold but no snow. The same early winter we did a southern presi traverse from Tucks to Crawford Notch as a bare boot. We also did Bondcliff as an out and back from Lincoln Woods with no traction needed except for the steep ledge at the top. Eventually it did snow and there was a snowpack both years but compared to a normal winter it was a bit of a bust.

We did have a couple of New Years days about 5 years ago where it was shorts and T shirt weather but some early snow had closed the FS gates so they were a bit less bonus.

So what gems are on your list if the snow holds off until after the official start of winter season?
 
Anything that would normally would involve a road walk would be a huge bonus for me: Garfield, Galehead, Carrigain, Zealand, etc. I despise road walks.... :mad:
 
Daughter and I have been asking this question with Tuesday 12/22 in mind. Jefferson via Caps is the obvious candidate, but it sounds like the winds are going to be a bit much. If the forecast doesn't change we're probably in for Galehead with an option on South Twin. Maybe Moosilauke if it starts to look like a just-maybe-above-treeline kind of day.

Good luck to those who go --
 
I have Carrigain booked for Saturday assuming the gate doesn't get locked between now and then
 
I have Carrigain booked for Saturday assuming the gate doesn't get locked between now and then
The WMNF Forest Road Status page shows that the Sawyer River Road will be closed on Dec. 23.
 
Daughter and I have been asking this question with Tuesday 12/22 in mind. Jefferson via Caps is the obvious candidate, but it sounds like the winds are going to be a bit much. If the forecast doesn't change we're probably in for Galehead with an option on South Twin. Maybe Moosilauke if it starts to look like a just-maybe-above-treeline kind of day.

Good luck to those who go --

That was also my plan: Jefferson to Pierce. However, speaking with NHDOT today they indicated they thought the road was closed due to snow but no one could give me 100% answer. The weather, in terms of wind, has improved to a moderate 30's prediction but the drizzle could be a bit much and make the ridge a sufferfest.
Sawyer road has been reported to be open so I may opt for that instead.
 
We're kinda bummed about the forecast -- it's looking pretty sour for tomorrow. If we do anything at all it'll be a quick in and out to Hale, but it's looking like it might be a better day to do something else. Cold rain = yuck.
 
What a Bummer

It was closed THIS morning when I attempted to go to carrigain
I did Jackson field Tom and willey instead. It was wet for sure. Trails are sloppy. Goretex boots had water in them after 8 hours of hiking

Anyone know about Jefferson notch road? I was hoping to sneak up Jefferson the easy way tomorrow. Possibly do the southern traverse
 
Jefferson notch was open as well as Clinton Road. Did Jefferson, Wash, Monroe, Eisenhower and Pierce today.
 
Took the standard Airline, Star Lake, Valley Way route over Adams yesterday. Not many people out there but ran into a few doing traverses. The wind picked up periodically but it was warm enough above tree line. I sat at Star Lake for a good 30-45 minutes before dropping below tee line to cook dinner and coffee. I was hoping for a full clear night with full moon light above tree line, but eventually headed out when the skies seemed to stay hazy. Walked out to Appalachia a bit after 9 with headlamp. Clear sky from the valley as expected. To say yesterday was a winter hike of Mount Adams is a technicality of the calendar. :rolleyes: No harder than in summer, maybe easier without the heat. No traction needed anywhere. A few bits of ice and snow in the shadows.
 
Hiking the Cats on Saturday I just kept thinking about the early spring hike we did over the Carters and how that didn't 'count', but that this did. The calendar requirement is somewhat arbitrary, but it's certainly not subjective (such as saying it might be 'snow covered' or 'winter conditions').
 
I have gotten many early winter bonus hikes in. In years when it snows late, I just keep hiking. Once we get snow, then I put away my hiking boots in exchange for back country skis until April.
Here are a few of my early winter hikes:
I bushwhacked up Knob Lock mountain in the ADKs. Awesome views similar to Hurricane mountain on the bald peak. You could see the Green Mountains really well that day in the distance across the Lake:
23398237534_6a05609359_c.jpg


Whacked from Knob Lock over to Tripod. Some brutal ACH (Adirondack Conifer Hell) sections. getting to the highest point of Tripod seemed to take forever:
23398237514_b9a2ee0b2a_c.jpg


Yesterday over the course of 8 1/2 hours in the pouring rain I climbed: Irish Mtn, (In photo), Shultice, White Man, Montgomery, and E. Old Clump. Absolutely beautiful farmland at the base of Irish and Shultice.
23398237494_5fc168f860_c.jpg


I also did the Cannonball the other day - Lonesome lake is such a nice spot.
 
I did Mt Flume SAT (a peak I have done in Winter conditions but not in calendar Winter) and literally everyone on the summit was discussing their peak bagging, how many peaks they had done since official Winter started and how many they were hoping to get before actual Winter arrived. I know it technically counts but it feels very wrong to me. The Winter list is already a fairly diluted accomplishment from what it was many years ago with most peaks having a nicely packed out superhighway to the summits with all the hiker traffic, sledding back to the bottom, etc. I personally don't want to say I did Washington (or the many other significant peaks) in Winter when I really did it on a sunny day in the 30's with light winds and no snow or ice on it. To me that goes against the spirit of the list. When and if I ever finish the list I don't want the accomplishment to be tarnished by a bunch of peaks I "stole" in abnormally easy conditions.
 
I agree with you. When I did the 4 Catskill winter peaks as required by the 3500' club I made sure to do them with snow on the ground - complete white ground cover. There are years you could do many peaks on Dec 22nd in completely snow free conditions, but I agree, it goes against the spirit of the list.
 
I did Mt Flume SAT (a peak I have done in Winter conditions but not in calendar Winter) and literally everyone on the summit was discussing their peak bagging, how many peaks they had done since official Winter started and how many they were hoping to get before actual Winter arrived. I know it technically counts but it feels very wrong to me. The Winter list is already a fairly diluted accomplishment from what it was many years ago with most peaks having a nicely packed out superhighway to the summits with all the hiker traffic, sledding back to the bottom, etc. I personally don't want to say I did Washington (or the many other significant peaks) in Winter when I really did it on a sunny day in the 30's with light winds and no snow or ice on it. To me that goes against the spirit of the list. When and if I ever finish the list I don't want the accomplishment to be tarnished by a bunch of peaks I "stole" in abnormally easy conditions.

Everyone out there is there for different reasons. How someone else achieves something doesnt change your ethics or how you achieved yours. Calendar winter is the only constant in the equation so it covers the rules of "the game." You cant depend on the weather or coverage so dates are set.
We have all climbed peaks in suffering cold and snow outside of winter, and yes, we have all bagged peaks in unseasonably warm temps but if you want a list or game to play then make up your own rules and put it out there to differentiate. If you are ok with your rules being yours alone then dont let others dishearten your efforts.

Personally I dont think most of these mountains are easier in summer. (your example of sledding down and packed out trails doesnt work here and all the hiking is required and slow) Not enough to say that that day "shouldnt count." Ive gone out twice this calendar winter (Tues 22nd and Sun the 27th) both of which were in freezing rain all day for 13 & 9 miles. Not winter per se, but uncomfortably and slow with icy rocks and roots. Tomorrow when I go there should be 7-12" of snow. In between there have been sunny and easy warm days. Does the winter list start if there is slush and freezing rain, stop the next day because its warm, start again in the freezing rain, stop for sun, start for snow....

(Also, many of the roads are closed but you cant ski and must road walk. These make "winter conditions" harder in my eyes.)
 
Everyone out there is there for different reasons. How someone else achieves something doesnt change your ethics or how you achieved yours. Calendar winter is the only constant in the equation so it covers the rules of "the game." You cant depend on the weather or coverage so dates are set.
We have all climbed peaks in suffering cold and snow outside of winter, and yes, we have all bagged peaks in unseasonably warm temps but if you want a list or game to play then make up your own rules and put it out there to differentiate. If you are ok with your rules being yours alone then dont let others dishearten your efforts.

Personally I dont think most of these mountains are easier in summer. (your example of sledding down and packed out trails doesnt work here and all the hiking is required and slow) Not enough to say that that day "shouldnt count." Ive gone out twice this calendar winter (Tues 22nd and Sun the 27th) both of which were in freezing rain all day for 13 & 9 miles. Not winter per se, but uncomfortably and slow with icy rocks and roots. Tomorrow when I go there should be 7-12" of snow. In between there have been sunny and easy warm days. Does the winter list start if there is slush and freezing rain, stop the next day because its warm, start again in the freezing rain, stop for sun, start for snow....

(Also, many of the roads are closed but you cant ski and must road walk. These make "winter conditions" harder in my eyes.)

I get that. I'm not actively pushing for a revision to the rules or anything like that. I agree everyone hikes for different reasons and what might seem like "cheating" to me might be a significant accomplishment for someone else (and please do not interpret that to mean I find others accomplishments "beneath" me or of some lesser quality. My peakbagging "accomplishments" are hardly the stuff of legend and pale in comparison to many here on VFTT. But they do mean a lot to me and how I did them plays a part in that). The reward is all relative to the particular person. For me personally the accomplishment will mean more doing the peaks in truly Winter conditions.

And I think there are things harder AND easier about Winter hiking. I absolutely despise road walks. The miles of added boredom to do an already unexciting peak are very tedious (and probably the big reason I may never finish the Winter list). But you also do a lot of rocky, tree root riddled rugged trails that are covered in a nice smooth blanket of packed snow too that makes them far easier than they would be in the Summer. And many problem river crossings are solidly snow bridged and a non issue when you do certain trails, versus dicey rock hops. In my eyes the most significant element of the Winter list is the potentially harsh, violent and truly dangerous weather and the need for carrying much more weight and gear to handle the possibilities. The safety margin is much slimmer in Winter than Summer.

I guess my comments are partly a reaction to all the boasting I see on various Facebook forums from people actively promoting various achievements that I find to be misleading or misrepresentative of what they really did. It's one thing to say you "were fortunate to catch Mt Washington with it's guard down this December and check it off the list" versus saying you "just ripped up Washington in the dead of Winter and you're kicking ass on the Winter 48" when you know you were out there walking on bare ground on a calm, 30 deg day and it was nothing like what Washington normally would be in late December. To me there is a distinction between the two.
 
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