Skiing Moosilauke Trip report

Skiing Moosilauke - The Carriage Road - 8/Mar/97

By David Metsky

One week before this trip, I attempted the exact same journey with Dave Hooke and Tom Burack, but the conditions were, um, firm. As in, we couldn't make a dent in the snow with an ice axe. I just couldn't deal with that being my last ski trip to Moosilauke this year, so I went back this past Saturday with Ed Lowney and Ken Kaliski. We chose to ski the Carriage Road to take advantage of the excellent run back down. It was snowing at the trailhead when we started around 9:30. We used wax to make it up to the Camp Misery Bridge. This is where we stopped last week. What a difference a week makes! There were some snowmobile tracks from the previous day, but quite a bit of fresh snow had fallen on top and none of the snow had hardened up.

We put on skins there (Ken and Ed) and started the more serious climb. There were some ski tracks from the previous day but the snowmobile tracks has covered most of them. Two snowmobiles passed us about 2.5 miles up. They were the only ones we saw on the mountain. The skins had no problem holding on the fresh, deep snow but my heels were getting a bit raw. There was probably about 15 inches of fresh snow, with more falling.

We saw no tracks on the Snapper trail, and were tempted to try some skiing down there on the way back, but we wanted to summit first. The snowmobiles turned around (one went beyond the turnaround, asshole!) and passed us headed down. They turned around when the deep snow made it impossible to continue. There was little wind but the snow was still falling. We skied over the snowmobile trap (a five foot high rock wall) without even noticing it. There's lots of snow up there.

At the Glencliff trail junction we met three other skiers who had come up the Gorge Brook and Snapper trails. They had broken trail most of the way up Snapper and passed yet more skiers plus some snowshoers on Gorge. Then we headed across the ridge, breaking trail along the way. It was a bit windier, but not too bad. The summit cone was rocky, but we kept skis on just for the heck of it. Ed was the first one up top, around 2:00.

At the summit, the three other skiers arrived just behind us, then two more who came up behind them. We hung out a bit, drank hot cocoa, took a bunch of photos, and absorbed the view (none). The other skiers all headed down Gorge Brook, and we retraced our path back to Carriage Road, walking the very top section. The sun tried to come out, and we got a few small views but the clouds and snow came back quickly. After the little climb to Middle Peak, we took off skins and came back to the Glencliff junction. There, we got a weak view of South Peak and contemplated our existance. That only lasted a minute or two, then the serious fun began!

The trip down was fantastic. The snow was increadibly forgiving, allowing us to recover from caught edges, bumps, bad pole plants and everything. The narrow section down to the snowmobile trap was a bit hairy, but then things open up and we began linking our turns and enjoying the deep light snow. We could use our uphill tracks to pick up some speed and then take turns in the deep powder on either side. Granted, we fell a few times, but the falls never hurt. Kenny and I took nearly a roll of film each on the the descent:

Down past the Snapper trail junction, the snow got a little heavier as the sun came out. We were getting tired, and the falls came a bit more often but no one got hurt. We met some snowmobilers who were trying to get to Woodstock and convinced them that over Moosilauke was not the way to go. We saw a few skiers who were just out for a smaller trip and stopped to catch our breath. Then the final drop to the parking lot, arriving around 4:30.

Two of the people we met at the bottom invited us to their house just up the road for some hot cider and a snack, which we quickly accepted. A fine way to end the day.

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