Moosilauke for New Year’s Day

A holiday tradition at Moosilauke.

By David Metsky

David Kotz on New Year’s hike to Moosilauke.

A group of friends have gathered at a Dartmouth Outing Club cabin every New Years for since the mid-80’s, when we were undergraduates. This years incarnation took place at John Rand Cabin, near the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge on the east side of Mt Moosilauke. There was a group of 10 of us at the cabin for a thrilling evening of entertainment before going to sleep just after midnight.

The next day we planned a hike up the mountain, via the Gorge Brook trail. The group consisted of Dave M (your scribe), Dave and Kathy Hooke, Dave Kotz, Brenda, Ed, and Ken. We got a late start because we had to pack up the cabin and get all our gear down to MRL, so we didn’t get on the trail until 11:00AM. There were helicopters flying overhead looking for a missing Lear Jet that had disappeared on Christmas Eve.

The lower part of the hike went uneventfully, and we stopped at Last Water, where I told Brenda to leave one of her ski poles because we were coming back down this way. Turns out we didn’t, so if anyone finds a 135CM ski pole at Last Water, contact me. There was a real hard pack of snow on the ground, no need for snowshoes or crampons. Our gear consisted of Sorel pak boots, leather hiking boots, and plastic mountaineering boots. It was cold (2F at the summit) but little wind and good visibility most of the day.

We got to the first views, on the logging road section of the trail where we did a layer break and drank water. Then we pressed on to the second set of views where we took a longer break. There we had some food and water, and geared up a bit more. Then we pushed on to the summit.

Just before treeline we ducked into the woods to put on our final layers. Then we headed out for the summit. It was pretty calm in the wind shadowof the summit and not bad on the summit itself. Here are pictures of people on the summit:

  1. DaveK with Franconia Ridge
  2. Brenda with the infamous Head Sok
  3. Group Photo #1
  4. Group Photo #2
  5. DaveM and Brenda
  6. DaveM and Ed
  7. DaveM in the Summit House foundations

We also took lots of pictures of the summit area:

  1. Summit sign and cairn
  2. Closeup of Summit sign
  3. Summit – Summit House Foundations
  4. South – into Gorge Brook ravine
  5. Southwest – The Carriage Road and South Peak
  6. Southwest – Top of the Carriage Road
  7. East – Franconia Ridge and the Presidentials
  8. East – Summit Plaque and Franconia Ridge
  9. North – Benton Trail and AT north
  10. Northwest – Tunnel Brook

Finally, here are some shots of the search helicopters flying right over our heads:

  1. First Sighting
  2. Over the ridge
  3. Closer
  4. Right over head

After a pleasant stay on the summit, we started down the Carriage Road, headed for the Snapper trail back to Gorge Brook and the Lodge. We met a few people headed to the summit via Glencliff, but none headed down Gorge from the summit. This meant that Brenda’s ski pole would remain at Last Water. We stopped at the Glencliff junction to de-layer and rest. Then it was down the Carriage Road, too icy for skiing, past the Moosilauke Permitted Use sign and down to our final stop at the junction of Snapper and Gorge Brook. The icy formations in Gorge Brook kept us occupied in our tired state. Then a final uphill section before reaching the Ravine Lodge. We gathered out collected stuff and hiked/skied out to the cars on Rt 118.

Pictures for this report were provided by Brenda Conaway, Dave Kotz, and Dave Metsky.

See also David Kotz’s photo gallery.

This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Moosilauke ski – again

Another beautiful day on Mount Moosilauke.

We skiied into the deep, deep blue sky over the summit of Moosilauke on Sunday morning. We had just skiied up the Carriage Road and across the summit ridge to the summit, in the snowiest conditions any of us could remember. The entire east slope of the summit cone was a smooth snowfield, and there was 4-6′ of snow on trail across the ridge. Although some clouds danced around the summits of the other major Whites summits, Moosilauke and Washington shone clear and white in the deep blue sky. 

David Kotz and the summit of Moosilauke, from Carriage Road.

The weather was very warm, about 20-25 degrees, although there was a very strong west wind that made the ridge-crossing bitter cold. Out of the wind and in the sun, sitting on the slope east of the summit, though, we enjoyed a comfortable early lunch. Early because we had made it to the summit by 11am, after a 7am (yawn) start encouraged by Dan Nelson. 

Although snowmachines we passed on the way down had packed the trail into a slick gully, the snow was deep and fluffy, which was good considering how fast we were going when we flew off the trail and into the trees. Despite our best efforts at snowplow and tele turns, we all took some spectacular face plants. 

The crew consisted of Dave Hooke, Ed Lowneymyself, Dan Nelson and his friends Leo and York, a young DOC chubber named Bart, and two excited dogs. The “Best Shades” award goes to Ed and Dave Hooke. What a blast. Thanks for pushing us to get up early, Dan.

See more in the photo gallery.

David Hooke with Ed Lowney, on the Carriage Road.

This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Skiing Moosilauke

With my friends David Hooke, David Metsky, and Ed Lowney, we skied up and down Moosilauke.

One day in March, a bunch of us Daves and one Ed decided to ski Moosilauke, since the snow was supposed to be good and we hadn’t skied the mountain since December. So, we parked just off 118 at the Access Road and skied up to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, where we put on skins. We chose to ski up the Gorge Brook trail, since it’s a more challanging route than the new Snapper trail.

Down low, the conditions were perfect, with nice sunshine on fresh snow. We crossed Gorge Brook and started climbing for real. At the upper views, the clouds were coming in, but we could still see the Blue Ridge poking through.

Above there, the trail is much more exposed, here crossing the Balcony. The first views of the summit ended our hopes of getting any views, but that wasn’t about to stop us. At treeline, we removed our skis and pushed on into the 40 MPH winds after gearing up.

The summit was windy, cold, and wonderful. We took a few summit shots (#1,#2), looked around and headed back to our skis for the descent. We were warming ourselves up on the upper stretches, occasionally stopping for views of the ridge before starting the fast and furious descent. The snow was excellent, and for me I finally had a skill level that was up to the task. We made it back down in about 1/5th the time it took to make it up and we only kissed a few trees.

– by David Metsky

This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken. – David Kotz