Ascent of Mount Lafayette on 2011-07-27

Climber: Ryan Aschbrenner

Date:Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lafayette
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5240 ft / 1597 m

Ascent Trip Report

I parked at the Falling Waters Trailhead off I-93 just north of Exit 34A. This is a special un-numbered trailhead exit. I hiked the Falling Waters Trail up to Little Haystack Mtn (stopping to check out the waterfalls along the way), then turned south on the AT/Franconia Ridge Trail over Mt. Liberty and Mt. Flume. From Flume, I turned around and hiked back over Liberty and up Little Haystack again. I continued north along the ridge and hiked over Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Truman before reaching Mt. Lafayette. I took the Greenleaf Trail down Lafayette to the Greenleaf Hut, and from there took the Old Bridle Path back to the parking lot where I began the hike. The total hike was 15 miles, and my car-to-car time was about 8.5 hours.

Clouds were the major theme today. A few days ago, it looked like this would be the good weather day of the week, but the forecast gradually deteriorated. I went forward with this hike anyway, hoping there'd be some breaks in the clouds. It turned out to be overcast for much of the day, except for some decent but brief clearing while I was at the summit of Flume. Flume was the only place where I saw significant views today. That was a little disappointing, but it was still a worthwhile hike, with lots of ascent and descent. Still, I'd want to return sometime on a crystal-clear day to enjoy the view, especially along Franconia Ridge, and on Mt. Lafayette.

I had lots of friendly chats with other hikers. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood. I had some brief chats with others on the trail as I passed them, or as they were headed in the opposite direction. A slightly younger solo hiker reached the summit of Flume at the same time I did, but he approached from the Flume Slide. We had a chat about recent mountains we've visited, and spent some time trying to identify other peaks we could see at that time, before the clouds returned.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:360 ft / 109 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3440 ft / 1048 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:360 ft / 109 m
    Route:AT/Franconia Ridge Trail
    Start Trailhead:4880 ft / 1487 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3440 ft / 1048 m
    Route:Greenleaf Trail & Old Bridle Path
    End Trailhead:1800 ft / 548 m

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