|Mt Jackson - Monday, Feb 12, 2007 - Second winter ascent of a NH 4000 footer|
Today, we climbed Mt Jackson. It was much harder than Mt Pierce last weekend. Partly, this was caused by the extra equipment that we brought with us. All the trail reports noted that snowshoes were required, so we knew we needed to bring them, but in the case when we would want to swap them out for either the Kahtoolas or the Stabilicers, we needed a way to carry the snowshoes on our packs. Our normal day packs just won't support them, so we ended up in our full packs. That added quite a bit of weight to our backs, as well as the fact that the snowshoes tend to make you walk a little "funny" which wears on your knees and feet after a few miles.
Tim also carried a sleeping bag and emergency shelter, in case something happened and we had to spend the night out there. Lastly, this was the first time we'd tried the full face mask and goggles on the summit. We could not have gone to the summit without them. Every bit of skin had to be completely covered and sealed.
The trail was snowpacked, and so the snowshoes were probably overkill, but they made us a bit more comfortable on the way up. There were some icy patches (springs or creeks in the summer) that were not easy to maneuver through/around in the snowshoes. You can see Valerie in the third picture below, trying to determine her best course of action.
We only met one other party on the trail today. They were all in Stabilicers. We met them just a few minutes after they'd been at the summit. We were still on our way up. They seemed quite shaken by the experience. After a long hard final stretch, we made it to the top. Temps were around 5 degrees F, which is warmer than last week. Winds were about 25-30 mph with gusts into the 50 mph range. Enough to knock you off your feet if you tried to stand upright for very long. The clouds were streaming by us so fast, it was disorienting. This was a very difficult final ascent. Just taking the gloves off for the one-minute picture was bad.
We took the quickest possible pictures, then started back down. The trip down was relatively uneventful. We changed from the snowshoes to other traction-control options about half-way down, as it's a lot harder to climb down over the still visible rocks and roots when you're wearing big snowshoes.
This 5.2 mile hike took us almost 5 hours.