Ascent of Mount Madison on 2014-07-29

Climber: Spencer Corcoran

Others in Party:Josh
Date:Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Madison
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5366 ft / 1635 m

Ascent Trip Report

On 7/29/14, I hiked Mount Madison with my buddy Josh. It was #43 for me and #1 for him.

We parked at Appalachia early in the morning, geared up, and got going at 8:10 AM. Within a couple hundred feet, we crossed the rail trail and the power lines, and then turned right onto the Air Line.

Air Line started out easy with good footing, like most direct routes to the Northern Presis do. As we ascended, though, parts of the trail became extremely wet, sometimes to the point that the whole corridor was a mini-brook. (Thank you, rainstorm last night!) The middle section was quite steep and rocky, but when the woods became more shady, I began to enjoy myself more. Josh was unused to such prolonged steep terrain, so we slowed our pace considerably from here on out. After the junction with Upper Bruin, we saw the standard "This area has the worst weather in America" sign and then began to break out of the trees and get the first real views of the trek. As Josh put it, "This is life right here." Wise words indeed.

From here, the trail got steep again, but it was also considerably rougher. The WMG wasn't kidding when describing the middle section of this trail! We crossed a minor knob and passed the junction with Chemin des Dames, then made the steep climb to the Air Line Cutoff; from there, it was an easy 0.2 mile to the Madison Spring Hut, the only AMC hut I had not visited. A longer snack break then up to Madison we went.

The Osgood Trail to the summit started easy then went straight up for about 1/10 of a mile, then moderated, but not without incredibly rocky footing- typical for the Northern Presis. We reached what appeared to be a small ridge, then we saw people relaxing- we had made it to the top!

The top was mostly socked in, but the clouds did clear a few times to allow views toward the Wildcats and the Carters. We didn't stay long due to the cold and wind, so a quick water break then back to the hut to refill our bottles, then we headed down Valley Way.

The Valley Way started out steep and rocky, but as we got lower and passed a few trail junctions, it got easier with better footing. We passed the Valley Way tentsite on the way down, which was where I turned back on my failed winter attempt of Madison last March. About a mile from the trailhead, we began to parallel a nice brook with cool cascades. We soon veered away from it, and then we saw the power lines, then the rail trail, then the trailhead. #43 and #1 were down!

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4100 ft / 1249 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4100 ft / 1249 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.3 mi / 13.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4100 ft / 1249 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Route:Air Line, Air Line Cutoff, Osgood Trail
    Start Trailhead:Appalachia  1266 ft / 385 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4100 ft / 1249 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Route:Osgood Trail, Valley Way
    End Trailhead:Appalachia  1266 ft / 385 m

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