December 30, 2006
Mount Pierce-White Mountains, NH 48-4K series
Mt Pierce, or Mt Clinton as it was formerly called, is at the southern end of the Presidential range. Pierce makes for a nice early winter (lack of daylight) trip. The Crawford Path leaves right from the top of Crawford Notch and makes a protected journey to near the summit where you come out above the trees. Ed, Carol, and I got to the trailhead at 9 AM.
We drove to Crawford Notch and parked in the lot just off the Mt Clinton Road. From there, we took the Crawford Path Cut-Off to the main part of the Crawford Path and started up in heavily falling snow. It was so nice to see as this winter, until now, had been a bust.
We did not take nor need snowshoes because the trail was well packed out with fresh snow on top of a few icy spots that could be walked around. The Crawford Path is very popular in the winter, so it's almost always packed out. We had a fun trip up. The hike was relatively easy for a 4310 summit. Very gradual and we ran into some nice folks along the way, some whom went over to Jackson.
We decided to go straight up to the summit. I toyed with the idea of a Mizpah Springs Hut loop which only would have added .2 miles, but the hut was closed, so I will save the loop for a future hike. Where the trail hits the ridge, it's pretty easy to get lost. It was hard to determine the cairns from the small ice covered shrubs, but I knew the summit was only .1 miles so we headed upward and eventually found the real trail. We found an unceremonious pipe sticking out of the ground and touched the summit and headed down to a warmer area to have lunch.
There unfortunately were no views as the snow and cloud cover took care of that. We could discern the ridgeline over to Eisenhower, but that was it. On the flip side, it was relatively warm and windless for an exposed summit. It was Carol's first winter hike in the Whites and I think she may be hooked. We made it out in about 41/2 hours, and I am revved up for the winter hikes to follow.