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.
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 Lowney, myself, 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.
The trip to the hut is pretty straightforward, just up the Crawford Path and take a right onto the Mizpah cut-off, total distance is only about 3 miles. People had hiked infront of us, but in places the light snow had drifted in and completely covered the tracks.
When we got to the closed hut the weather seemed to be turning worse. The snow was falling heavier as we stopped for lunch. There were lots of folks tenting near the hut (much too close, actually) and one group set up their tents under a huge huge cornice on the far end of the hut. I hope they made it through the night.
The summer was starting and a bunch of friends decided to do a one-day Presidential Traverse around the summer solstice. It’s a very seasonal thing to do, don’t you know. Most of us had done a Traverse, although I think I was the only one to who’d done a one-day trip before.