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Ascent of Mount Lafayette on 2015-07-25

Climber: Michael Stonek

Others in Party:Mona Wachtel
Kim Grabois
Gloria Matveev
Date:Saturday, July 25, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lafayette
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:5240 ft / 1597 m

Ascent Trip Report

We did Lincoln, Lafayette and Garfield (in that order) from Franconia Notch.

After driving all night from northern New Jersey (started at 1:30 AM) Kim and I made it to the parking lot at 7:10 AM. We waited for Mona and Gloria, who were staying at the KOA campground in Littleton (Lafayette campground was full).

We started the hike at 8:20 AM (beginning elevation: 1,793 ft). After 0.2 miles we reached the intersection of the Old Bridle Path and Falling Waters trails. We took the Falling Waters (very nice, with several waterfalls) for 3 miles to the top of Little Haystack Mountain (not a 48er; elevation: 4,780 ft). It was a fairly easy but steady climb. We were rewarded with magnificent views at the top, where we rested and waited for Mona who was climbing slowly because of some hip issues she was experiencing.

We turned left at the Franconia Ridge for 0.7 miles to the top of Mount Lincoln and from there another mile to Mount Lafayette. We were above tree line since half a mile before Little Haystack and the views were amazing! The weather was very nice. Almost no wind; just some fog on and off.

At that point, Mona and Gloria made it back to the car via the Greenleaf and the Old Bridle Path trails. Kim and I continued on the ridge on what now became the Garfield Ridge trail. The terrain became much more rugged. We were constantly stepping on rocks, if not mud. The worst part were the constant ups and downs, with so many fake peaks and valleys. Mount Lafayette sits at 5260 ft and Garfield at 4500 with the col in between at about 3550, but the elevation dropped and gained was much more than these numbers would indicate.

We stayed on the Garfield Ridge for 3.5 miles to the top of Garfield Mountain where we rested for a while. Both Kim and I were beat at that point, and we still had a long way to go to get back. We were debating about going down on the trail cutting across (I don't remember its name) for 4.8 miles to Gale River Rd and then hitch-hike from there back to our car. It would have been a shorter hike with no more climbing, but I was against the idea (I guess I'm not as adventurous as Kim). She finally acquiesced with me and we returned to Lafayette the same way we went (Garfield Ridge). Kim went ahead of me at that point. Back at Mount Lafayette (it took me forever, I was so spent!) it was almost empty as opposed to earlier in the day.

I turned right onto the Greenleaf trail for 1.1 miles to the Greenleaf Hut. There seemed to be a lot of activity in there with the sound of music and people, but I was in no mood of stopping since I wanted to get back to the car so badly. I continued even though I was short on water. The trail at that point became the Old Bridle Path. I was on that one for 2.7 miles until I reached the intersection with the Falling Waters trail which we took in the morning; 0.2 miles ahead was the car. It was dark by then. I made it back at 9:20 PM. It was an even 13 hours hike for me. Kim had been waiting in the car for an hour already.

The final tally was this: 3 mountains, 16.75 miles, 7,444 ft elevation gain, 13 hours.

The drive back was uneventful and, after dropping off Kim in NY, I made it back home in NJ at 3:30 AM. A great day!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:481 ft / 146 m
    Total Elevation Loss:330 ft / 100 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Grade/Class:8
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:276 ft / 84 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 151 ft / 46 m; Extra: 125 ft / 38m
    Loss on way in:125 ft / 38 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Route:Falling Waters - Franconia Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Franconia Notch  5089 ft / 1551 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:205 ft / 62 m
    Gain on way out:205 ft / 62 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Old Bridle Path
    End Trailhead:Franconia Notch  
Ascent Part of Trip: Lincoln-Laf-Garf

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Little Haystack2015-07-253017 ft / 920 m
2Mount Lincoln2015-07-25429 ft / 131 m
3Mount Truman2015-07-25 
4Mount Lafayette2015-07-25481 ft / 147 m
5Mount Lafayette-North Peak2015-07-25 
6Garfield Ridge2015-07-25892 ft / 272 m
7Mount Garfield2015-07-252625 ft / 800 m
Total Trip Gain: 7444 ft / 2270 m    Total Trip Loss: 7586 ft / 2312 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Michael Stonek
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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