Hope Springs Eternal - Mount Washington & Monroe

Date of Hike: 4/22/11

Amoonoosuc Rave Trail: 2.4 miles
Mount Monroe Loop: 0.6 miles
Crawford Path: 1.5 miles
Cog Tracks: 3.0 miles
Total Miles: 7.5 miles (4,100 elevation gain)
Click here for trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- Friday's forecast was stellar and having not summited Mount Washington since October it was time to head back up to the summit known for having some of the "World's Worst Weather"
- On trail at 8:15am, Monroe 10:30am, Washington 12pm, finished 1:45pm, Temps in the 20's above treeline and 50's below 4,000 feet with abundant sunshine, light audible winds, and 100 miles of visibility!
- Today's hike was very slow-going as I was the first one on the trail and there were a couple inches of fluffy snow hiding all previous use of the trail.  I had hoped for plenty of hikers on the trail ahead of me but everyone else was on the other side of the Ravine heading up the Cog Tracks on ski's.
- The blazes on the Ammo trail are few and far between so every five or ten minutes I would run into a maze of trees and snow.  Every so often I would go ten feet in the wrong direction and backtrack and then it became obvious as to where I was supposed to be heading. 
- Once past the Gem Pool the Ammo Ravine Trail becomes excessively steep until breaking into the scrub.  As I quickly gained elevation the snow depths increased up to the bottom of the rare and hard to find blue blazes in spots until eventually I lost the trail completely in the scrub!
- Luckily with the cold weather the past couple of days and being on the trail early before the weather softened the snow I was able to wander around without having to worry about falling into spruce traps.
- I basically made a "B-Line" to Monroe until I eventually wandered back over to the trail about a hundred feet from Lakes of the Clouds Hut.  I figured I was about 0.1 to 0.2 miles to the right of the trail proper.
- At the hut I went into the dungeon, changed into dry clothes, refueled, and switched from snowshoes to crampons.
- The Hike up Monroe was business as usual, the trail has some steep packed snow and ice wave spots that I happily tackled on the way up but bypassed on the way down.  The views from Monroe as usual were incredible!
- Once back at the hut I finally ran into and saw other hikers, who like me made there own paths up to Lakes and were enjoying the fantastic day out.
- The trek up to Washington was strenuous, I bypassed the steep snow field a couple tenths of a mile from the hut by going up and around it before hooking back up with the Crawford Path.  I took my time hiking up up to Washington and made sure to turn around every few minutes and take in the awesome views of the Southern Presidential Range.
- The final push up the summit cone dragged a bit but was still much more enjoyable than in the summer when it's all rock hopping.
- At the summit I stuffed my face with food and ran into a bunch of skiers, some of which were hoping for the temps to warm up just a little bit more to soften up the snow to make some good runs into the Ammo Ravine or Oakes Gulf.
- I decided to take the Cog tracks back down to the car, I kept my crampons on until I got past the steep snow field dropping off from under "Jacob's Ladder".  I ran into plenty of skiers and boarders but no hikers on the way down and on the day I saw around six hikers and about twenty skiers!
- Once back around 4,000 feet I was in a t-shirt the rest of the way and switched between boot skiing in the snow and walking on bare ground.
- If I had known the Ammonoosuc Trail was going to be a slow process I would have headed up the Cog Railroad to the summit and then hike all the way to Pierce and hoof it back to my car or just road walk Clinton Road and the Base road to make it a super long hike.  However eventhough I did a shorter hike than usual I couldn't have asked for a better day to summit Mount Washington for the 25th time!

Click here for all Pictures

 Lakes of the Clouds Hut
 Mount Washington
 Mount Monroe
 Mount Washington Summit
 Mount Jefferson, Adams, Madison
 Summit Observatory Building
Jacob's Ladder


  1. Sounds like a beautiful day. You certainly got some wonderful pics. When you hike down the cog, is there a trail next to the tracks (like in the raised sections) or do you literally walk down the railway?


  2. wow....it is crazy to be sitting here surrounded by bare ground and temps in 50s and then to see that it is still winter in the Presidentials! Nice report. This is making me want to dust off my gear and bag some more peaks while the snow is still there.

  3. Hey guys, glad you like the report and pics! As for hiking down by the tracks...For the most part there's open space on one side of the track that the skiers and hikers use and it's only steep near Jacob's ladder. From 4,000 feet back to the station there's open space on both sides of the track. No one walks on the tracks because it's easier to walk on the side.