Attempt at Snowy
Submitted By Michael Virdone
The Mountains & Stats
People On The Trip
Earlier this week I decided I wanted to do an easy high peak or a challenging fire tower. Well, as the old saying goes "be careful what you wish for". Unfortunately we didn't make the summit but we had a great day hiking none the less. A number of factors contributed to us not completing the hike as planned.|
The first factor was leaving later than usual. We arrived at the trailhead at around 9:30 and were on the trail by 10. Snowy is 7.6 miles round trip with 2100 feet of gain so it is on par with some easier high peaks. Like a high peak it also has a somewhat flat approach and then a steep climb. The second factor was the trail conditions; there was 4-8" of fresh snow on the trail, none of the brook crossings were frozen, and there was still some unfrozen mud. This was enough snow to hide all the rocks, roots, bog bridges, but not enough to cover them and make travel easier.
After a few miles (and more than a few brook crossings, especially beaver brook) we eventually began our climb. Nicole and I were in stabilicers and Nate was in crampons. We stumbled up the mountain (tripping over everything in the trail). Unfortunately the trail runs up a drainage once it gets steep so we had some difficulty maintaining a good pace with all the obstacles. Eventually we reached the elevation where it turned to dense pine trees. We did a traverse through this area and then began another steep section (here Nicole and I changed into crampons).
Here we followed another drainage that was covered in ice and snow. The third factor was that Nicole's hands were cold and weren't warming up despite the steep climb and layering up. The fourth and final factor was that the climb was very steep and we had not brought an ice axe plus it was starting to get late. Nate pointed out the factors that were conspiring against us and we decided to turn around somewhere near 3500-3700 feet.
We started heading down and layered up once we hit a nice flat spot. The descent wasn't much easier than the ascent due to the fact that the trail was covered in ankle twisting obstacles. We eventually got back down to the multiple crossings of beaver brook and continued out to the trailhead. On the hike down we had to deal with our crampons balling up after every stream crossing. We were eventually out to the car at around 4pm, we definitely made the right choice to turn around.
All of us are looking forward to giving Snowy another try later on this winter once a nice base is built so we can snowshoe to the beginning of the steep section where we turned back. From there it would probably be crampons the rest of the way to the summit.
The Good and The Bad
The views were nice
Trail conditions were terrible
|Uneventful, It was nice to see a different part of the park that I had never been to|