Winter on the Moose: Mount Moosilauke

Date of Hike: 1/25/14

Beaver Brook Trail:  7.6 miles (3, 150 feet elevation gained)
Click here for trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- My favorite trail up to the summit of Mount Moosilauke has always been the Beaver Brook trail.  The first mile and a half is relentlessly steep, passes alongside beautiful cascades, and has footing similar to that found in the Northern Presidential Range.
- I've always wanted to hike it in the winter and was pumped when Alton suggested we head up via the Beaver for some fun in the snow on a cold Saturday morning. Joining us on the hike today were Alton's friends, Kara and Sasha.
- We started hiking just before 10:45 a.m..  The weather was chilly (between 15 - 25 degrees) but we all warmed up very fast as we were shielded from the wind and the trail ascends steeply right from the get go. 
-  The advantage of hiking the Beaver Brook Trail in the winter is that all the knee hammering rocks are buried beneath the snow.  The disadvantage is there are sections with ice hiding under the snow and it becomes tough to not slip back while attacking the steep sections along the cascades.
-  There were some really fun sections, the rebar spot right below one of the cascades was the most fun, we all used the rebar to pull ourselves up, then we stood on it to reach out for a small stump, then used the stump and a tree to make it up.  Of course as we struggled up this one spot, Cole was frolicking around in the snow, he was either mocking us or looking for a leaf buried deep in the powder!
-  The cascades are all frozen over in the winter, half iced and half buried in snow.  If you listen closely you can hear the water flowing underneath.  I think in the spring when everything starts to melt the cascades would probably look out of this world with broken ice and a huge volumes of water flowing.
-   This was the first hike where it finally felt like winter the whole way.  The ice which has had a stronghold on the trails over the past month has finally (for the most part) been buried beneath the snow.  All the pines were blanketed with snow and it snowed throughout the whole hike.
- As we passed the lean-to spur and the Asquam Ridge Trail junction it became colder and the snow depth increased.  Luckily the last two miles to the summit is not steep and there was another group heading down so the trail was easily navigated.
- The wind did pick up as we hiked along the ridgeline around Mount Blue and we were hiking in the clouds so there were no views into Jobildunk Ravine.
- The trail finally breaks above treeline about three tenths of a mile from the summit.  For anyone not familiar with Mount Moosilauke, it's known for the west winds that come raking across the open bald dome summit.  It the winter, the winds become ferocious, giving the last section an artic blast feeling, it's invigorating...and f*ckin freezing!
-  Alton and I pushed through the wind swept alpine zone in cairn to cairn visibility while Cole ran around the flats playing 'Sound of Music' winter style.
- The wind was brutal (up to 30 mph) making for well below zero wind chills.  It was a very short stay at the summit.  Alton gave Cole a piece of cheese, a high five, I took two pictures of them, and then we got the hell out of there!
- We ran back down towards treeline and saw Sasha and Kara making their way into the wind up to the summit.  Cole, wanting to do hill repeats followed them back up to the summit.  Alton and I got back below the trees and warmed up.  A few minutes later Cole came running back down for some more cheese!  A few minutes after that Kara and Sasha came barreling down on their butt sleds!
- Alton and I hike at the same temperature, I refer to it as sweat/cold!  So we needed to descend below 3,000 feet quickly to warm back up.  We said our goodbyes to Kara and Sasha and took off back down the trail.  We finally warmed up at the halfway mark (Asquam ridge Trail junction), and then had a blast running, sliding, and falling back down the cascade section of the Beaver Brook Trail.  We had a small competition to see who would wipe out the least, Cole won of course!
- The rebar section was the best part, there was a bypass which I was going to take but Alton said we came up this way so we're going down it.  Her and Cole lead the way and I followed slowly on my butt to safety.
- From here we ran it out back to the car and finished at 3:15 p.m.  The snow was still falling and there was a fresh inch or two in the parking lot making for a great scene.  We loaded Fancy Pants into the Jeep and headed back out of Kinsman Notch ending a great day of winter hiking in the White Mountains!

 Cole having a pre hike snack...twigs!
 Alton showing off here new devil hat while Cole still eats his twigs
 All smiles in his boy band outfit!
Lower end of the Beaver Brook Cascades 
 Making our way up the cascade section
 Kara and Sasha.  Sasha is standing on the rebar and grabbing a small stump up to safety
 Kara pushing off a tree to get traction
 Middle of the cascades
 Ascending steeply
 Navigating the steep
Cole, patiently waiting 
 Smile for the camera!
 Asquam Ridge Trail junction
 Kara and Sasha
 Cole posing like a cat!
 Kara, Alton, Cole, and Sasha
 Ice bulge!
 Poor Cole!
 Sasha leading the way
 Kara hiking up in the falling snow
 Cole, this is his hiking face, which is just like every other face!
 Untouched snow!
 Cole wonders around above treeline
 Cole waiting for us to catch up
 I can see two cairns ahead!
 Great visibility!
 That is the summit!
 Mount Moosilauke Summit
 Cole on Moosilauke
 Cheese time!
 Smile, got it, let's go!
 Cole heads back down the Moose
 Alton running down the Moose
 Rime hat - eyebrows - eyelashes - neck warmer - locks!
 Cole heading back up for his hill repeats!
 Cole causes a sledding accident!
Running down the Moose 
 Break time!
Falling down the Moose! 
 Rebar sections
 Alton and Cole maneuver the steeps
 Alton navigates the last tricky spot
 Beaver Brook Foot Bridge
Fancy Pants!

1 comment:

  1. This red cap with cat's ears is so cute! At the top had to be freezing! Greetings!