Mt. Adams: Summit Achieved

 

Last weekend I gathered a group of five friends and went North to the White Mountains. We got up mid-day to Lowe’s General Store in Randolph, on Rt. 2 in New Hampshire. Hiked in three hours into the darkening day to the Gray Knob Cabin. Great cabin. It was a welcome sight and feeling to get in from the cold. No pictures of it, sorry.


So that’s Jason Horvath from Uhuru Designs in Brooklyn, Peter Zink (ahem, Professor of Materials Science at BU) from Boston, Ari (keepin the eyes closed) Bain from except.nl hailing from New Haven, Angus Withey the Ozzie who lives in Boston now (works at some law firm) and Daniel Husserl also coming from Brooklyn, doing the Uhuru Designs thing as well. He and Ari are ELP Fellows as am I.

Got up the next day to take two hours in intense conditions to get to the summit of Mt. Adams – 5799ft. Total snow and ice conditions. Snowshoes required. 100mph winds. 0F base temp. That’s Zero. Wind-chill made it to -60F.It was grueling. I kept thinking about how many times I’ve come up here in the summer, when it has been delightful. I started thinking, Adams my old friend, I’m just coming up for a few minutes to say hi. We gotta stay in touch. I imagined myself flying. I had a bit of that old frost-head.¬† I started reciting the Agincourt Speech from Henry V. “We Happy Few,” you know the one. Rally the troops! It was intense.

This pic from the summit is after I took off goggles and neck/face protection for a few seconds. The wind knocked me down multiple times on the ascent. Going down it was easier, into the wind, to kind of kite yourself with the wind. Any arm movement was exaggerated due to the windspeed. Incredible conditions. And basically clear, no precipitation, even some sun. Behind my head is the money shot of the summit of Washington, unobstructed, in the distance. It was just too cold to check the photo or take another shot. I was humbled by the Power of Nature up there.

Below we have Angus getting psyched to head toward Adams’ Peak – center top of photo. The figures up on the right are the A-team who all had snowshoes. Angus thought he could manage, but ever so slowly, without them, so Pete n Grey hung back with him. Once we were on this rocky stuff above the treeline we all moved the same pace.

Below: From the top of Adams you can see Washington. Great Gulf Wilderness is in the mid-ground.

This is the view from Adams to the Northeast – Mt. Madison. I used to have this same shot, taken during a summer Prezzie Traverse, as my desktop background. Love this perspective. Above it all!

On the descent: A-Team (the fast ones) are way off in the distance to the right, Angus and Peter in the middle.

Below: Dawn at the “Quay” along Lowe’s Path – Jefferson catching the pink sunshine, the cabin a few hundred yards to the left. It was quite peaceful, though still only about -5F. Even with no wind, it cuts into you.

I’ll never forget the pummeling from the wind, the sharp pain in my toes, from the cold, and the exhaustion in the evening, in the cabin, with good camp-stove made food, and the deep sleep of mountain-side.

Can’t wait to go up again!

 

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