Ascent of Mount Lafayette on 2012-07-18

Climber: Spencer Corcoran

Date:Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lafayette
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5240 ft / 1597 m

Ascent Trip Report

My Dad and I summitted Mt. Lafayette after summitting Mt. Truman.

After leaving Truman, the trail then descended into some krummholz and ascended past a ravine to the summit. The clouds rolled in about halfway up the rocky, moderate climb, so when we finally reached Lafayette's summit, it was totally socked-in.

The 5,249 ft. summit of Mt. Lafayette was very open and had a survey marker, a stone shelter, and plenty of places to sit. I took some video, and then we hid behind a sheltered rock face to eat and drink water.

Some views opened up when we got back onto the main summit area, although they were limited by clouds. We eventually went back down the Greenleaf Trail. Right after we left the summit, the clouds cleared! Just our luck.

The Greenleaf Trail was rather rocky and felt kind of steep, but I think that was because of the hike up all those peaks. Anyway, the trail was above treeline for most of its length. Until it went into some trees, the terrain through which it descended was steep, clear, and rocky. We soon went into some small trees, and I felt sheltered. The trees gradually got bigger, and the trail went up and down at a easier grade to a clearing where the Greenleaf Hut, which the trail went to, was right in front of us; all we had to do was ascend a little, and then we reached it.

The Greenleaf Hut had a good view of the Franconia Range we just came from, and it had tables, bunk rooms, a kitchen, and a small store, among other things. We took a break in there for a little while, and my Dad found a fruit punch tablet in his backpack that he didn't even know about, and he let me have it. I dropped it in a bottle of water, watched it fizz, and drank the whole thing; it tasted so good.

We had sat in the hut for about fifteen or so minutes, and I kept hearing little kids swearing and got tired of hearing it, plus it was about time to continue the descent, so my Dad and I headed to the Old Bridle Path and started descending it.

The OBP started off easy, but got steeper. It descended through thin woods and on a rocky, slick surface. There were some sections that were notable for their slickness, but we got down them all right. After that, the path kept going on a ridge. There were many viewing areas along the trail, with good views from them, and they are worth checking out. There seemed to be much more people going up the OBP and the Greenleaf Trail than the Falling Waters Trail, so that tells me that going counter-clockwise is more popular than going clockwise.

The OBP then descended the end (or beginning) of the ridge which it traversed, switching back a few times. It was somewhat rocky, but not too bad, but it was hard to believe that this used to be a bridle path.

After that descent, the path's grade eased up and went through woods more common at lower elevations. This part was somewhat uneventful, as it just descended through woods, but it did pass by a weird-looking tree. Soon, it reached the junction which we reached in the very beginning of the hike. We then turned right to go back to the parking lot.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:360 ft / 109 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3550 ft / 1082 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Windy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:360 ft / 109 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    Route:Franconia Range Trail
    Start Trailhead:Mt. Truman  4880 ft / 1487 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3550 ft / 1082 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Greenleaf Trail, Old Bridle Path
    End Trailhead:Lafayette Place  1690 ft / 515 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Franconia Range

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Little Haystack2012-07-183000 ft / 914 m
2Mount Lincoln2012-07-18400 ft / 122 m
3Mount Truman2012-07-18120 ft / 37 m
4Mount Lafayette2012-07-18360 ft / 110 m
5Greenleaf Knob2012-07-18 
Total Trip Gain: 3880 ft / 1183 m    Total Trip Loss: 3550 ft / 1082 m

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