Bondcliff in the rain. May 15, 2011
are some of the most remote peaks in NH. Most make a long day of it. We chose to backpack. Not sure we chose the right day, but so it goes.
Smooth going to Zealand Falls and the hut. Temps around 50 and no snow before the hut. But there is a stream crossing there. It's frozen in winter, negligible in summer, but roaring in spring. A herd path took us where it as only boot-soaking deep.
And then the snow began. Instant monorail. And it did not give up for the rest of the day. Microspikes work, but snowshoes work better. Just know that somewhere in the near future will be extended rocky sections where you have to take the snowshoes off for a 1/4 mile. We took turns slipping dramatically. Face plants, rolls into the trees. It could have been a slapstick routine.
After the Zealand summit the monorail disappeared and less compacted snow took over. Rain started once we hit the alpine zone of Guyot and was steady by the time we got to the lean-to.
Since there was still some light we decided to visit West Bond (and not feel the need to go there the next day). What some describe as a 20-minute walk in the summer took us 1:15 round trip. Made some pics of the limited view and went back to the shelter for some dry clothes and dinner.
Cathy and Alan joined us...at 12:20am.
It was cool but not cold in the shelter, but coffee was good in the morning. Kaitrin and I were packed and out for a noon-time start. Not an early start and some incredibly slow going to get to Mount Bond. 0.7 miles took an hour and then, on top we were met with driving fog. It came and went for the next 90 minutes or so as we crossed Bondcliff and marveled at it in the mist. So too the snow, ice and rocks. We probably kept microspikes on longer than needed, but those icy sections were reason enough.
Soon after Bondcliff summit we were back among the trees and could stop for a bite to eat and put on some layers. As the rain soaked through layers, wet or not, were helpful. Soon enough they were clinging and dripping inside my jacket and rain pants. Not long after this I noticed my raincoat zipper had broken, so I kept it half zipped--better than not at all.
We stopped every few minutes to re-adjust sagging pants and eat morsels of cliff bar and brownie. As the trail descended the wind turned down a notch and the rain was bearable. On the Wilderness trail we finally started making some good time, poling along across the old railroad ties. Nips of Johnny Walker work well at keeping the cold at bay too.
We made it to Lincoln Woods at 7:40 and changed into the only clothes still dry--buried deep inside the pack. We knew Cathy and Alan were getting a later start, but also knew they are faster hikers. I figured that they would catch us somewhere along the walk out. As we drank our second cups of tea they got in, just before 9:00.
Labels: trip report