March 31, 2011

Mount Monadnock Power Hike

Hunt for the four-leaf clover... 
 St. Patrick's Day on Monadnock 

I decided early morning on March 17th to enjoy the beautiful weather and fast hike to the summit of Monadnock. I was early enough to see only 5 people total on the trail and top, combined. The summit was wind-blown bare, clear and breezy. Below the tree line was slushy, loose snow, which only got more cookie dough as the temperature rose. I was glad to have my kahtoolas in the pack and put them on about 1/4 mile up the trail.

Since running with my Mountainsmith Paired trekking poles at the Peak Races Snowshoe Challenge, I'm a believer. Coordinating the pole plant with the hiking/running rhythm takes little practice but is unbelievably helpful on the knees! I used them up and down the mountain trail.

On my descent, I started to slide and could plant the poles, and my feet, like an axe in self-arrest. The slide was at first fun until jamming my spiked heal into the snow did nothing. I slid about 5 more feet. After about 8 feet I got nervous and worked the poles... 15 feet total. It would have been jolly good fun if it wasn't so steep and the rocky ledge ahead was just a mirage. Thank goodness for kahtoolas and poles and double coverage tush layers. I learned something important...kahtoolas aren't effective in slushy snow. Given the major melt off, their cleats didn't chomp into the snow like they do on ice.  
I also enjoyed the sinking lesson: step off the trail and you are suddenly three to five feet shorter. THAT was fun. I was up to my thighs in snow. Damn. Thank you, little tree.

Route: Up White dot in 1:06 (with stopping for photos); goofing at the top 4 minutes; descent down White Arrow in 45:00. Average Heart Rate 151.
Gear: Kahtoolas, Nathan Hydration Pack, camera, hat, gloves, trekking poles, arm warmers, and sunglasses.
Food: One Balance bar, water and a Hammer Gel (Huckleberry).
Lots of "Blarney Stone" to kiss here.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Looked like a fun time out there. Glad you make it back safely.