Ascent of Mount Madison on 2010-08-22

Climber: Gabriel Couët

Others in Party:Benoit Poirier
Date:Sunday, August 22, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Carpool
Peak:Mount Madison
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5366 ft / 1635 m

Ascent Trip Report

This trip began when my friend Benoît, who works in humanitarian agencies in Africa, came back home between contracts. Since he had completely free time we agreed that we could go hiking when I had a substantial time off from work. During the week prior to this trip, I went on a 4-days sailing trip in Pohénégamook up north-east. When I came back, we quickly decided to do a presidential traverse. I picked up some extra gear at work to try out some new stuff we sell, and packed quickly as we would be leaving the day after. We would carry 30-pounds packs for the hike we were going for as Benoît wanted to test his mettle against the mountain. He had hiked Kilimanjaro two years before and planned to go hike in Peru. He was going to see if he was in good enough shape for some heavy hiking.

Saturday morning, Benoît met me at home and we drove off at 7:45am towards New-Hampshire. The road was uneventful and we finally arrived at the AMC Highland Center, in Crawford Notch, around 1:30pm. We had to account for stopping to gas up, and another stop for groceries. The last shuttle going all the way to Appalachia was already gone so we decided to wait for the last shuttle towards Pinkham Notch. When it arrived, we instantly learned the driver was a New-Brunswick native who spoke French. He was very amiable and proposed to give us a ride to our TH, asking if we were good tippers. We were more than glad to answer in the positive.

While riding towards Pinkham Notch, we decided to ditch the Valley Way ascent and go for the Osgoode path along the AT towards Mt. Madison. Pete, our driver, dropped us off at Camp Dodge, the TH for Great Gulf trail. We would check out the tent site along Osgoode trail but expected it to be full due to the time of day and the fact that it's along the AT.

Of course, every platform was already taken, so we resumed our ascent in order to gain as much altitude as possible before dark. We kept going until we met a hiker coming down that confirmed my feeling that the going was getting too steep to find a suitable camping spot any further up. We started looking for a flat surface and after about 20 minutes of searching I found something far enough from the trail that we'd be invisible. It was somewhere along the 3200' contour line. We setup camp, prepared dinner and quickly stashed our food up in a tree before going to bed just after dark.

The next morning, we woke up around 7:15am, a little later than I would have liked. We packed as quickly as possible after having a small cold breakfast and we left the camping spot around 8:30am. We met two hikers going down on our way up below treeline, but the rest of the way to the summit was a lonely affair. It was damp and as soon as we hit the treeline, we started getting pelted by small mist. As we gained altitude, it turned into full-blown rain accompanied by strong winds. We had some views for a while, but we saw the clouds come in from Mt. Washington's summit and it soon engulfed us in a 100-feet visibility white-out. We kept going after putting our shells on and around 10:45 we reached the summit. There was no marker or post so we actually passed over it without noticing, but we met a man with his two daughters going in the opposite direction almost at the peak. They were Québécois so we chatted for a short while after taking their picture on the summit.

We then resumed our hike towards Madison Hut. We heard it before we saw it, but we were glad to get there around 11:15am.

View Presidential Traverse August 2010 in a larger map
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3866 ft / 1178 m
    Elevation Loss:546 ft / 166 m
    Distance:4.7 mi / 7.6 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Drizzle, Cold, Windy, Low Clouds
Bad weather, rainy and cold.
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3866 ft / 1178 m
    Distance:4.4 mi / 7 km
    Route:Great Gulf / Osgoode trail
    Trailhead:Camp Dodge parking  1500 ft / 457 m
    Time Up:4 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:546 ft / 166 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Route:AT along Great Gulf
    Trailhead:Madison Hut  4820 ft / 1469 m
    Time Down:30 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Presidential Traverse (08/2010) (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Madison2010-08-22 a
2Mount Adams2010-08-22 b
3Mount Jefferson2010-08-22 c
4Great Gulf Wilderness High Point2010-08-23 a
4Mount Washington2010-08-23 b
5Mount Monroe2010-08-23 c
6Mount Franklin2010-08-23 d
7Mount Eisenhower2010-08-23 e
8Mount Pierce2010-08-23 f

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