Mount Madison, Adams, Jefferson

Date of Hike: 3/28/10

Valley Way/Snyder Brook Gully: 4.0 miles
Osgood Trail: 1.0 miles
Gulfside Trail: .3 miles
Air Line: .6 miles
Lowe's Path: .3 miles
Gulfside Trail: 1.5 miles
Jefferson Loop/"Snow-Whack": 1.4 miles
Gulfside Trail: 2.4 miles
Snyder Brook Gully/Valley Way: 4.0 miles
Total Miles: 15.5 (6,500 elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- Weather Conditions called for clear skies, 100 plus miles visibility on the upper elevations so it sounded like a perfect opportunity for the first hike of the spring and a visit to the northern presidentials!
- Left RI at 3am, on trail around 6:30am, finished around 4:30pm. Temps at trailhead 11 degrees, warmed up to lower 20's above treeline, with some nasty wind (35-50 mph) out of the west/north west in the morning making for wind chills around 0 in the early morning. Winds died down to around 15 Mph in the afternoon
- Valley Way is an easy trail to hike and usually extremely boring except on this day the trail that was broken out the night before got lost and ended up in the Snyder Brook Gully making the last .5 miles pretty steep and fun! I ran into the two guys who hiked in and lost the trail the night before as they were leaving their campsite they had dug out, they were heading over the Gray Knob Cabin if they couldn't find a place above treeline between Adams and Jefferson.
- Above treeline the wind was whipping making it very cold, I went over to Madison Springs hut and got out of the wind to layer and warm up before hiking up the summit cone.
- The Osgood Trail was very steep, mostly styrofoam packed snow with a thin coating of ice, as well as "wavy" icy spots
- Carefully with my crampons on and ice axe in hand I started out to the right of the trail where it wasn't so steep until I felt comfortable/confident then cut across to the cairns and followed the trail the rest of the way
- Coming back down went pretty quickly and the views descending to the hut were excellent (Click here for video clip of heading towards hut and some views)
- Back at the hut I ran into a group of three (Big Earl, Sue, and I forgot the other guys name) doing a Madison through Monroe traverse, they couldn't have picked a better day for it!
- The hike up to Mount Adams did not seem as steep but the wind was just as bad and it was exhausting getting to the summit. At the summit I got out of the wind, warmed up and enjoyed the views (click here for video clip)
- Next I headed down towards Thunderstorm Junction and ran into a guy I met at Madison Springs Hut, he was smart as he hiked the Gulfside around Adams and then took Lowe's Path up to Adams, this is not as grueling of a hike and the footing is just snow and no boulders to navigate
- The next 1.5 miles on the Gulfside trail is a great stretch of hiking through big snow field that looks like a snowy desert with amazing views of the Mount Jefferson/Washington/Great Gulf Headwall/etc.
- Hiking up to Mount Jefferson I avoided the steep snowfields to the left and went right, I went a little to far right then booked it back left above the "steeps" which made for a longer and extremely exhausting hike up to Jefferson, the good news was the wind was now dying down.
- Hung out at Jefferson summit in the sun, had lunch, warmed up while taking in the views of the Presidential Range
- The hike back was just as fun until the section on the Gulfside past Thunderstorm Junction, the trail was not necessarily difficult but one slip and you could be sliding down hundreds of feet towards the King Ravine.  I carefully made sure I had proper footing with each step until the degree of the slope eased up near the Airline trail junction...On Sunday what I thought the day before while hiking the Gulfside trail beneath Adams unfortunately happed to a hiker (click here for article)
- When I was within 200 feet of Madison Springs Hut I stopped and looked at all the people hiking the summit cone of Madison when all of a sudden I saw a person slip and start falling down over a few boulders and down the hard packed snow and ice. I started running as fast as I could as did others at an angle to try to help him out but luckily after about 300 feet he stopped and amazingly he was ok aside from the gash above his eye. Apparently early in the day another guy slid and fell down and stopped right at the hut and he was ok. These two should play the lottery because usually you don't get off so lucky!
- After seeing that the hiker was going to be fine, the group he was with was ok, and chatting it up with Steve and Steve (great meeting you guys!) we set out out back down Snyder Brook Gully bushwhack to the Valley Way which was lots of fun and then once back on the boring Valley Way I booked it back to the car, realxed, and headed back to RI!

Pictures: Click here to view all pictures

Ice Blasted Summit Cairns on Mount Madsion

Mount Washington and the Great Gulf Wilderness

Mount Adams from Madison summit

Madison Springs Hut and Madison Summit Cone
Mount Monroe and Lakes of the Clouds Hut
 from Mount Jefferson Summit

Mount Adams from Jefferson Summit
Mount Jefferson, Clay, and Washington
from the Gulfside Trail

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