Green Mountain Club
Montpelier Section

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Trip Reports
August 18, 2006
7 Peaks, 3 Days, 2 Huts: White Mountains, NH 48 - 4K Series

Ed, Charlene, Eric, and myself arrived at the Garfield trailhead at 9:00 after spotting Charlene's car at the Zealand Trailhead, our final destination. The Garfield trail is evenly graded for most of it's 4.4 mile length. There's not much in the way of views, but the end justified the means. We hit the Garfield Ridge trail junction and climbed the steep but short section to the summit. We met two people who were running a very popular ridge circuit called the Pemi Traverse some 36 miles from Lincoln Woods over the Franconia range, Garfield, Galehead, and the Bonds. We were later to find out that this was an actual race going on. We stopped and enjoyed lunch at this breathtaking peak. Definitely in my top 10 peaks in the Whites! The views from Garfield are some of the best in the Pemi. We could see the entire Pemi: North and South Twin, Galehead Hut, Franconia Ridge, and a full Pemi panoramic. The summit of Garfield has some bare rock with the concrete foundation of an old fire tower. From here we hiked the ridge over to Galehead to bag the next 4000'er. We stopped at the hut and dropped the gear. Ed and myself did a quick mile jog up to the viewless and undramatic summit of Galehead. We enjoyed a great chicken pot pie dinner served by the always entertaining Croo. Lights out, rest up for the very challenging day ahead.

We ate a good breakfast and hit the trail by 8 AM hoping to avoid the threat of thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon. The day started with a slight drizzle which ended quickly. The remainder of the day was warm and muggy. What a break! It did not rain until evening after we arrived at the Zealand Falls Hut, our final destination. The day started with a direct uphill chug for .8 miles to the summit of South Twin. We ran into some folks from the Burlington Section and had a brief chat as time was of the essence. The Dinner Bell was at 6PM and I don't like to miss a meal, even though with my girth, I probably could afford to miss a couple. We went over to the junction of the Bondcliff trails some 2 miles from S. Twin where we had a snack and where Eric made the decision to skip the Bonds and stay on the Twinway and circle back to the hut, and at our request, reserved us some lower bunks. Ed, Charlene, and I continued south on the Bondcliff trail, ascending the ridgeline until we came to the spur trail that goes to the summit of West Bond. We dumped the packs and were up West Bond and back to Bondcliff Trail in good time, a one mile side venture. Onward to Mount Bond. We saw the view of the ridgeline between Mt. Bond and Bondcliff which is exposed and without much vegetation, and affords excellent views to the west and east. The cliffs dropping away on the western side of the ridgeline are spectacular, and this section of Bondcliff is another addition to Paul's "Top 10" White Mountain Peaks. After we reached the summit of Bondcliff we relaxed and enjoyed lunch and the dramatic views. The only downer was that the Black flies were out with a vengeance due to the humidity and lack of wind at the summits. It seemed a little late in the year to be swatting black flies as some of the trees already were showing some signs of the imminent foliage season ahead. The trip back to Bond was a killer. Tired hot legs were losing the enthusiasm of uphill climbs. We went back to the Twinway and headed to our next summit, Zealand, a forgettable .2 mile slog to a totally viewless summit. Charlene skipped Zealand as she had already summitted this peak before. We arrived at the hut at 6:02 PM and I cleared some space at the overcrowded dinner table, which was an easy task as I probably stunk pretty bad from the 10 hours of being on the trail. Dinner at Zealand was not as good as the previous night. We were exhausted and hit the hay not too long after supper.

We awoke to heavy rain and had a good breakfast. The heavy rain tapered off to drizzle and it was only a short 1 hour hike down, so the rain was not a big factor to us. A great trip in which 25 miles were covered and 7 - 4000 peaks were conquered.

Paul DeLuca

Paul, Eric, Charlene, Ed on Garfield. Franconia Ridge in the background

East view from Garfield: Galehead (foreground), Galehead Hut (red "X") at the foot of South Twin.

SE view from Garfield: Galehead (foreground); l. to r.: South Twin, Guyot, West Bond (near ridge), Bond & Bondcliff (next ridge back).

Garfield view to SSW: Owl's Head (foreground); l. to r. from distant center: Flume, Liberty, Little Haystack, Lincoln, Lafayette, ridge leading to Garfield.

Leaving the summit of Garfield

After-breakfast treat: a steep .8 mile to South Twin. Better than a second cup of coffee.

View from Bond along the ridge to Bondcliff

Bondcliff summit - an interesting expanse of straight, rectangular, and huge rocks. Charlene is not quite visible at the red "X".

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