Snowy Abyss . . . Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce

Date of Hike: 12/14/18

Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail: 3.1 miles  /  Mount Monroe Loop: 0.7 Miles  /  Crawford Path: 2.2 miles  /  Mount Eisenhower Loop:  0.8 miles  /  Crawford Path/Webster Cliff Trail: 4.5 miles
Total Miles: 11.3 miles (3,816 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- I used a vacation day on Friday to met up with Todd and Rich to do a Southern Presi Traverse.  We were racing the weather of sorts as thick clouds were going to engulf the higher elevations making visibility less than desirable.
- We started at 7am and made our way up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, enjoying the easy first two mile stroll to the gem pool. From here we got our steep elevation fix in, gaining 1,550 feet in one mile until topping out at Lakes of the Clouds Hut.
- The hut was frosted over and the front was mostly buried in snow, it looked like mid February with the snow depths around Lakes of the Clouds.
- The clouds covered the alpine zone so we decided to head south over Monroe and then onto Eisenhower and Pierce, instead of trying to add Washington into the mix.  As we climbed up Monroe the clouds cleared off four about five minutes and we caught phenomenal views of Mount Washington's summit cone.
- As fast as the clouds cleared off the came storming back, thicker than they were before.  Visibility was low but we were unphased and continued on.  Rich took out his GPS and put us back on course the two times we meandered off trail, once just south of Franklin, this spot I've actually lost in winter before in clear skies, small cairns and the trail slightly curves to the left, we went straight, immediately new we were off trail, and easily made our way back to the trail.  The second time was a little more trivial as to how we missed a turn.  Coming off Eisenhower there is a swithcback which is very obvious, well we just missed it, once again we immediately new we were off trail and cut over to our right and spotted cairns.
- Once back on Crawford Path we motored over to Pierce and finally started seeing other hikers as we headed down to Crawford Notch, making it back to the car just before noon.

Click here for collaborative album

Rich and Todd cross over the top of the frozen falls

 Looking up above the highest water crossing

 Breaking out above treeline

 Making our way to towards the hut with Monroe slowly coming into view

Rimed over Lakes of the Clouds Hut

Sun trying to burn through above Lakes of the Clouds 

Rich and Todd make their way up the Mount Monroe Loop 

 Skies quickly clearing off to the north

Todd takes in the view

A frozen and buried Lakes of the Clouds

The tower on top of Washington starts to pop out above the clouds

More clearing off the "Snow Pile"

Mount Washington looking great under the sun

Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Washington

The clouds start rushing in so we start climbing 

 Todd makes his way to Monroe

We leave Monroe and enter low visibility

In front of me is close to no visibility!

Todd and Rich make their way up the Mount Eisenhower Loop

Todd and I on Eisenhower

Leaving Pierce and leaving the white abyss behind


  1. I was on Monroe the day before with clear skies using up the Ammo Trail. The clouds do make for some nice pictures of the hut and Mt. Washington. To bad they limited the views the rest of the hike.

    1. You caught a great day up there last Thursday. Hopefully all that deep snow above treeline stays all winter, it sure makes the views beautiful to take in, and fun to hike on!