Ascent of Mount Jefferson on 2012-08-29

Climber: Ryan Aschbrenner

Date:Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Jefferson
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5712 ft / 1741 m

Ascent Trip Report

I took Lowe's Path from Route 2, and then branched off onto the King Ravine Trail. I took the subway and ice caves side trips from the King's Ravine Trail, and then made the steep ascent up the headwall of King Ravine itself. There I met up with the AT/Gulfside Trail, and did and out-and-back to Mt. Madison, and next took the Airline Trail up Adams (with a side rock-hop to JQA), and then proceeded along the AT and the Loop Trail to Mt. Jefferson. For my descent, I backtracked along the AT and turned onto the Israel Ridge Path. I did a short side trip on the Emerald Trail to visit Emerald Bluff, and continued on the Israel Ridge Path until I reached the Cabin-Cascades Trail, which took me back to Lowe's Path, which I followed back to my starting point. Total distance was about 16.5 miles.

The Subway side trip from the King Ravine Trail is essentially an obstacle course. The route goes over and under the massive boulders scattered about the ravine floor, and it forced me to confront acrophobia and claustrophobia, and sometimes both at the same time. Each obstacle presented a unique challenge, and I felt relief after clearing each one ... a sense of relief that quickly faded when I met the next obstacle. Make no mistake, some parts of the Subway are dangerous, but I welcomed the difficulty, and I recommend it to those seeking a challenge.

While the King Ravine Trail seems innocuous at the start, the last half mile up the headwall is a constant steep rocky scramble, gaining 1100' in elevation. Just like on the Subway, some parts of the route cross over huge boulders, with deep holes spaced in between, requiring some tricky moves. I wonder how often this route is taken. I mostly had all of King Ravine to myself. For a while, I could hear voices from further down, and once or twice I saw this small group attempting the climb far below me. But after a while, I didn't hear them anymore, so either they turned back, or were scared speechless. But don't get me wrong, King Ravine is spectacular, and I feel lucky to have gotten the full experience during my climb.

Once above the treeline, the wind was incredible. The wind was about as strong as any I've ever experienced, and I was routinely thrown off balance. This is a problem during the constant rock-hopping along the trails above the treeline, which requires careful footwork and balance. I spent very little time at the summits of Madison, JQA, and Adams, since the wind was so powerful. I didn't recall the wind being as bad on Jefferson, but maybe I was just used to it by then.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Very Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Lowe's Path - King Ravine - AT
Descent Statistics

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