A Frozen in Timeless Classic : Franconia Ridge Loop - Mount Lafayette & Lincoln

Date of Hike: 1/11/15

Old Bridle Path: 2.9 miles  /  Greenleaf Trail: 1.1 miles  /  Franconia Ridge Trail: 1.7 miles  /  Falling Waters Trail: 3.2 miles
Total Miles:  8.9 (3,950 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
-  There are few hikes I will never turn down when invited; Washington via Huntington Ravine, hiking the Bonds, and the 'Classic Franconia Ridge Loop.'  Sunday, the temps were in the single digits in the morning with wind gusts around 20 mph above 4,500 feet.  The summit was obscured when we started the hike, then cleared off as we reached Agony Ridge, then a huge cloud engulfed the ridge, and luckily for us it broke away just as we broke treeline.  Basically we timed this hike perfectly!
- The trails below treeline were well packed down and built for speed as Whitney set a great pace with Tony, Kyle, and myself in tow.  We all wore microspikes for the whole hike as the snowshoes got a free ride on the pack for the day.  Views over to the Kinsman Ridge were pretty stellar as we made our way past Greenleaf Hut.  At the hut we hooked onto the Greenleaf Trail where while ascending Lafayette we got to see the clouds rise up and over the Franconia Ridge then spill into the Pemigewasset Wilderness.  Views from the ridge were unique with a high cloud cover making for a bluish/purple tint as we headed south.
- Just before the summit of Mount Lafayette we all put on extra layers to stay warm while hiking through the wind while traversing the exposed section of the Franconia Ridge.  The winds were probably the worst on the initial descent from the summit cone of Lafayette, then again during the last stretch heading around the 'bend' below the Gargoyles over to the summit of Little Haystack.
-  We basically had the whole ridge to ourselves, only seeing five other hikers and a dog.  Below treeline was another story as we ran into around twenty hikers all above Cloudland Falls in the later hours of the morning.
-  Cloudland Falls was frozen over and was pretty cool looking as blue ice bulges had formed in places along the falls.
- After passing the waterfall section we motored it back to the trailhead as Kyle had to be at work for 1pm.  We made it back to the cars around 11:45ish and got into warm and dry clothes before heading our separate ways.
- On the day it was Kyle's 45th and 46th Winter 4,000 footer, and he picked a perfect day as we timed the hike just right catching all the views along the way!

- All pics are from my Apple Phone.  The zoomed in pics make it look like a painting with a little smudge-iness in case you were wondering

Beginning of the trail
Lower end of the Old Bridle Path making our way to Agony Ridge
Whitney takes in the view of Mount Lincoln and Lafayette rising high above us
Cannon Mountain under a variety of different types of clouds
Looking southwest over to Lonesome Lake and the Kinsman Ridge
Lonesome Lake and the Kinsmans
Cannon basking in the sun while the Franconia Ridge is in and out of the clouds
Approaching Greenleaf Hut
Greenleaf Hut and Mount Lafayette
Breaking above treeline on the Greenleaf Trail
Making our way up the summit cone
Looking back down from high on Mount Lafayette over to Cannon Mountain Ski Area
Mount Lincoln breaking through the clouds
Frozen in time, just below the summit of Mount Lafayette.  Come back here in a thousand years and it will look almost exactly the same!
Mount Lincoln rising above the clouds like a monster from the sea!
The Franconia Ridge as the last of the clouds clear off
Owl's Head hiding below the clouds deep in the Pemigewasset Wilderness
Clearing to the north off Mount Garfield
Kyle taking pictures on the summit of Mount Lafayette
Looking towards the southern end of the Twin Range with Guyot and the Bonds
Looking back to Mount Lafayette from Mount Truman
Leaving the Gargoyles and heading to Little Haystack
Looking south over to the Osceola's, Tripyramids, etc.,
Owl's Head!
Cannon Mountain from Mount Lincoln
Making our way across the ridge
Looking north all the way to the Presidential Range
Mount Washington in the distance
Mount Lincoln
Descending from Little Haystack
Falling Waters Trail
Cloudland Falls
Cloudland Falls
Tony slides down around an ice bulge
Filthy Jeep = Happy Jeep OIIIIO

4 comments:

  1. Stunning Photos! Thanks for sharing, it's so cold up there that I appreciate you taking so many pictures :)

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    1. Glad you like the pictures, it sure was cold but was able to get a bunch of pictures off without freezing my fingers. :)

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  2. Thanks for the great report and pictures!

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    1. You're welcome, glad you enjoyed them! :)

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