Ascent of Mount Field on 2010-06-27

Climber: Michael Bryant

Others in Party:Brian
Date:Sunday, June 27, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Field
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4320 ft / 1316 m

Ascent Trip Report

Weather: Overcast, Muggy/Humid

Trails: Avalon Trail, Willey Range Trail, A-Z Trail. 10.4 Miles 3550ft elevation gain.
Trail Conditions: Damp/Wet in many places
Views: Views from atop Avalon facing north over Crawford Notch, Limited views from atop Field facing northwest back to the Mount Washington Hotel, Limited views atop Willey facing west, back into the Pemigewasset Wilderness. If you believe Brian, there are views atop Mt. Tom. No clue which way they face.
Group: Mike, Brian & Anai

This would be my first multiple 4000ft peak trip, not counting Liberty and Flume which I did when I was 12 or 13. We set out to cover Field, Willey, and Tom, all standing over 4000, with a quick side trip to Mt. Avalon, the mounta
in that would produce the best views of the day. For some reason I felt drained of energy from the outset. It may have had something to do with working at scout camp all day Saturday moving 3 yards of gravel and other similar energy draining tasks. It was a very muggy day which didn’t help the energy levels. As I would learn upon returning and reading Smith & Dickerman, we actually did it in reverse of how they suggest. Their route is to hit Tom first off the A-Z trail and Mt. Tom Spur, then pick up the Willey Range Trail to Field, and Willey, then back to Field and down to Mt. Avalon on the Avalon Trail. We did the exact reverse.

Leaving the Crawford Notch Visitors Center we crossed the RR tracks and started up the Avalon Trail. This trail rises gently without great stress for 1.2 miles, with a few stream crossings, to its junction with the A-Z Trail. From here the climb becomes substantially steeper for the remainder of the climb up to Mt. Avalon. A very short spur takes you off the Avalon Trail and up to the top of Mt. Avalon, requiring a small scramble just before the summit. Here are the best views of the hike. We saw our old friends Jackson and Webster from two weeks ago.

Leaving Avalon and continuing along the Avalon trail you quickly find yourself in a very interesting, almost enchanted forest, just before the more serious climb to Field begins. It is a very quiet area with taller trees but little ground scrub. The trail then becomes a steady, but not quite life sucking, climb to the summit of Mt. Field. Mt. Field is mostly treed in but as you summit from Avalon, to the left is an open area with limited views back down into Bretton

Woods and the Mt. Washington Hotel. The view on this day was interesting because over us was completely overcast and there were clouds lower than us over the valley that includes the town of Bretton Woods, but somewhere there was a break in the clouds below and the hotel and surrounding valley was bathed in a hazy sunlight. Here we met Peggy and ???, two self described middle aged moms. Peggy had completed all but Cabot and Owl’s Head in her quest for the 48. Her friend was on her fifth. They started out a few minutes ahead of us on the way to Willey.

From here we picked up the Willey Range Trail along the ridge to Mt. Willey. On the way out to Willey it seemed a bit longer than we expected and certainly longer than the other ridges we had crossed so far this year. We saw one small group of hikers and another lone hiker in this section. Brian was a bit disappointed that we did not catch up to the middle aged moms. We saw them again atop Willey. From here they would continue along Willey Range Trail down to 302 where they hoped to flag a ride back to their car. We backed off the summit a bit to small spot with a view looking back east into the Pemigewasset wilderness where we could rest, eat lunch, and change socks.

We then headed back to Field. This time it was shorter than we remembered it on the way out and we were at the cairn atop Field before we knew it. From here we continued on the Willey Range Trail that connects into the A-Z Trail just before the Mt Tom Spur. By the time we made it to the top of Tom I was ready to motor this trip into the books. Brian went looking for a view; I was headed back down the spur. He cried from the top that he found a view but I had some momentum going and there was no turning back for me on this cloudy, muggy, June day. The call of the Mad River Tavern was just too strong.

We covered the nearly 3-mile descent in good time on the A-Z trail. It includes a couple of interesting stream crossings in deep cuts requiring you to go steeply down, cross the stream, then climb back out again. In these cuts the air is cool from the water. My legs were relieved to meet back up with the Avalon Trail and its more moderate grade.

We left the parking area just about 10:35 AM and returned to the car at 6:30 PM for about 8 hours on the trails which included breaks at each summit including lunch and a sock change.

Of course this trip ended with the long spur trail to the Mad River Tavern.
Summary Total Data
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Avalon Trail, Willey Range Trail, A-Z Trail
Descent Statistics

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