Ascent of Mount Pierce on 2012-11-06
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Tuesday, November 6, 2012|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
| Location:||USA-New Hampshire|
| Elevation:||4310 ft / 1313 m|
Ascent Trip ReportAfter a nice drive and Dunkin's stop on I-93, US 3 and 302, I arrived at the parking lot off the Mt. Clinton Rd at about 7:20 AM. I paid the fee, put on my winter gear (which included my microspikes), and then started the hike on the Crawford Connector.
The Crawford Connector went for 0.4 miles to the Crawford Path. It was pretty easy, although it was quite wet. There was also a light layer of snow on the trail and all around. After weaving through some woods, it passed by a side path to a cliff and then crossed a brook on a bridge. It then terminated at the Crawford Path. I turned left onto the CP.
The second phase of this hike was a 1.5 mile section that led to the Mizpah Cutoff. The grades were easy to moderate. The trees were covered in snow, and as I ascended, the snow got deeper. The ice also became more prevalent; I probably would not have been able to do this hike without microspikes.
The trail passed by another side path to a waterfall, then an old dam-like thing, and then it climbed into the snowy woods, with the brook within earshot. This part of the trail was wet and muddy in spots, like the last one, but more snowy and icy. There actually wasn't much to this part except a blowdown which blocked the main trail; a beaten path to the right went around it. The Crawford Path then soon intersected with the Mizpah Cutoff.
I decided to continue on the Crawford Path, as the Mizpah Hut was closed, so there wasn't much to see. From here it was another 1.2 miles to the Webster Cliff Trail (AT). This part of the hike was much like the last, except that the snow and ice got even thicker/deeper, and there were restricted views through the trees. Soon, I passed by the alpine zone sign, and shortly after, the woods opened up into clear slopes. The views were amazing from here; the visible peaks looked even better snow-capped. I eventually reached a sign covered in snow/soft rime; I brushed it off, and it directed me onto the Webster Cliff Trail. From this junction, it was only about a tenth of a mile to the summit.
However, at this point the mountain was a winter wonderland; the snow was as much as a foot thick in spots, it was well below freezing, and the trail wasn't even broken in; I had to find the trail and break it all the way to Pierce's summit. I'm pretty sure that I went off the trail in places, as the cairns were covered in snow, so I couldn't tell the difference between them and the little trees that lined the slopes. I saw what looked like a corridor, so I followed it, and got to a height-of-land that was Pierce's summit. (I walked on the Webster Cliff Trail about a tenth of mile just to be sure; it just kept going down, so I went back to the summit.)
Pierce's summit is partly wooded, partly open, and has great views of the Presidentials to the north and the surrounding peaks/area. The summit had a cairn, and I also noticed a little metal prong sticking out of the snow, so I dug around it to try to find a survey marker; sure enough, there it was! I took a big swig of water and had some chocolate, took some pictures, and took in the view, and then headed back to the Mt. Clinton Rd. parking area.
|Summary Total Data|
| Elevation Gain:||2392 ft / 729 m|
| Distance:||6.4 mi / 10.3 km|
| Route:||Crawford Path, Webster Cliff Trail|
| Trailhead:||Mt. Clinton Rd 1918 ft / 584 m|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground|
| Gear Used:||Crampons|
| Weather:||Cold, Windy, Partly Cloudy|
| Time Up:||2 Hours 10 Minutes|
| Time Down:||1 Hours 20 Minutes|
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