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Nip Top and Dial 1/12/13

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  • Nip Top and Dial 1/12/13

    Oh silly mountains hikes, how do you hate thee? Let me count the ways...1. Broken Snowshoe 2. Heavy Slush Snow 3. Unbroken trail 4. Clouds Obscuring Views 5. Snow Melting From Trees (constant rain effect) 6. Feeling Like Crud

    Ok, not all the fault of the mountains, well actually none of those things above can be blamed on the mountains . So, I will stop complaining now and 'splain the list above. I set off from the AMR lower parking lot at some pre-dawn time in a spiffy new pair of microspikes. I was feeling pretty darn good about my chances of wearing them for the length of the Lake Road. I also had my snowshoes and crampons, hitchhikers that they are.

    I sped up the frozen slush road alongside the golf course in my super sharp micro spikes (oxymoron). At the register I made an unusually detailed entry including not only my intended mountains, but the direction in which I would travel (Elk Pass---> Bear Den). Such detail, I'm mellowing in my hiking ways....or something.

    I made it approximately 105 feet past the AMR gate and couldn't take it any longer, I had to put my snowshoes on. The soft snow was an energy suck as my boots sunk and slipped even with the aid of my trusty micro spikes. Hike 1, Me 0. So, The snowshoes came out and as I went to buckle my left binding toe strap I noticed it dangling. Hike 2, Me 0. Field repair time. A couple of zip ties later and I was back on my way. I'll stop counting now as the trend continued.

    It was still tough going, as the snow clumped on my cleats, and snowshoes in general really. It clumped on my pole baskets too in case you were wondering. I wasn't feeling so great a whole mile in (including road walk). That's a bad sign. The slushy snow was heavy (whine whine). Finally I saw the Leach trail to Bear Den! Yay, only a couple more miles until Gill Brook and then a bit further to the Gill Brook Cut Over. Just one step in front of the other. I tried to get some sort of rhythm going and kind of did. I think I just tuned out actually.

    Finally at my turn off I started towards Elk Pass. Funny, it was several miles further and steeper than I remembered. I think it was the pesky slush/snow's fault. The snow that adorned the trees just a week earlier had covered the trails below filling in the tracks and adding nice obstacles to navigate in the form of boulder like snow blobs. The burden had also caused many trees to fall across the trail, I do love me my tree hurdles.

    I finally reached the Nippletop/Colvin Junction. Whhhat....1.9 miles to Nippletop? I need to start looking at all of the sign pictures I take or a map before hikes again. Because that seemed a bit more than my memory recalled. Oh well, no sense in turning around now. So, onward I pressed, the trees above soaking me as they shed their last bit of snow. Imagine a constant rain under tree cover and you'll get the picture, but not the feeling. Stand in the shower with your hiking gear and backpack and make sure you're on a treadmill at an incline, then you'll get the feeling.

    I'm exaggerating-in hind sight I've been in much worse, I just didn't feel great. I was tired, every time I put my televators up my quads burned (just from kneeling to put them up!). The trail was gone at this point as I neared Elk Pass, fog obscured most of my surroundings. I was glad I had been up the trail before as trail markers were not prominently placed, a bit disorienting.

    The steep side slope proved less than ideal in snowshoes as I took a step forward and slipped back five. I changed my technique from creating steps to maximum surface contact. Quite the hamstring and calf stretch as I finally moved upward. Slow goings as I would have to stop and rest and then repeat the process up to the Nippletop/Dial sign. Only a walk around the bend to Nippletop! Wow, I have the worst memory, the summit is actually a short ways away from the sign down and then up again in the woods, I honestly had no recollection of this. Well, I made it..no views. The theme of my winter hikes this year has been cloudy viewless summits. No matter I took pictures and videos anyways, I don't care.

    I rarely change base layers during a hike, but did a full on baselayer and shell layer swap on this one along with hat and gloves. A trail vulture emerged just as I was getting ready to depart. I took his requested picture on the summit and sped off. So much easier to make my way back on a broken trail. That was short lived, onto Dial. Only two more miles. I do love this ridge walk and find it most pleasant.

    Much of the same, but I was really feeling the efforts in my legs now. I actually felt better all around, but the burning in my legs was pesky on every slight incline. Then it happened- people! People from the other direction, about .10 mile below Dial, yay no more breaking trail! Best sight of the day. With some renewed optimism I made my way up the final push to Dial. The sun had peeked out and the clouds swept over the Great Range.

    I sat on the Dial Boulder and took pictures and videos for a minute until I heard voices. Yesss, more people=even more compacted trail. I was elated. I chatted with the duo, nice fellows working on their winter rounds, they inquired about my winter count status and were amused by the 6 peaks I had left, laughing and commenting that “most people do those first.” Indeed, most people do.

    The fellow from Nippletop followed shortly thereafter. I refilled my water bladder and headed down for Bear Den. Then I headed up to Bear Den and then I headed down to Noonmark's Shoulder, then I headed up to Noonmark's Shoulder. Finally done with the ascents for the day I took my time enjoying the views. From here on in I took care to descend in a somewhat controlled manner.

    Someone had barebooted almost up to the shoulder. How they managed that is beyond me. Usually I would be a bit enraged by such an action, but the fact that their day was made that much more difficult was enough justice for me on this occasion. Bareboot on my friend. Uneventful from here on in, I ditched the snowshoes at the register. It felt so good to walk the pavement, not something I utter often. My snowshoe repair held for the duration and I headed to the Mountaineer for the proper repair supplies.

    It was actually a nice day, believe it or not from my trip report. It was just a difficult one. The views from the ridge on in made it all worthwhile. I definitely felt like I earned those two, I probably won't return in the near future, but only time will tell on that one. That brings me to 40 winter high peaks...3 pairs left. None of my winter hikes have been easy (this season or last), either by my own doing (tacking on too many miles) or by mother natures sick sense of humor....really, that was excessive yesterday, more like late March conditions.

    I eagerly await the return of winter and the final six.
    Last edited by veggielasagna; 01-13-2013, 11:58 AM.
    -veggielasagna

  • #2
    Oh come on.....I think the Dixes were easy.

    I know what your are saying.....I had a hard time yesterday and I only did Colden. One thing I miscued on yesterday was I should have left the long underwear at home.

    Great job though. Glad you got them despite the tough day but I know you, you will be back
    Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. ~Jesse Jackson

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    • #3
      Nice Veggie Lasagna!
      This has a little different tone than most of your reports, I enjoyed you sharing the suckiness factor of this hike .
      ( I am trying to find a way to convey my thoughts that sound like what I mean and not be interpreted as snarky? please be assured I am trying to be complimentary!)

      Way to push on, I love your reports and I do admire you, a lot.

      Yes hopefully winter will return, I have only Saddleback left and would like to finish on a nice Winter day!
      Think outside...no box required !

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      • #4
        Oh yeah one of those days. Love the opening lines of the TR.

        No surprise you pushed on to complete the loop. The mention of three pairs of peaks left for the winter rocker seems to be missing something... MacN?

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the TR. Yup, it was a soggy day but it wasn't all bad; the conditions allowed for fast descents.

          At first I thought I might be the "guy from Nippletop" that you mentioned but now I have my doubts. I met only two people hiking the loop counterclockwise (about seven clockwise), one male and one female. I met the male hiker near Nippletop but he did not take my photo on Nippletop (he was descending). I met him again on Dial where he took my photo (and I his) and then I continued on to the col (between Noonmark's shoulder and Bear Den) where I passed the female hiker.

          The male hiker I met was sheathed in hardshell. I was the guy in the blue crewneck and silly hat. If we met, well, it was good to meet you!
          Looking for Views!

          Comment


          • #6
            Cool report and excellent read. Kudos for you for sticking it out through the equipment malfunction(s), and the slushy heavy wet snow conditions.
            Adopt a natural resource. Give back.

            Comment


            • #7
              HOL- Oh yah, a piece of cake! The three of us were indeed on a tear that day...one I will never forget Of course I'll be back I do love it so, even struggling through it I felt very lucky to be out there.

              AlpineLamb- Totally get it, it was really a great day in it's own way. Just tough not feeling so great. When are you planning on Saddleback?

              SummitHat- Ha, yah, I need 6 for my W46, I'll need MacN for my W47 (keep me in the loop).

              Trail Boss- I was the one you passed on the shoulder of Noonmark. I was just plodding along at that point and fiddling with my snowshoes. It was funny, I did recognize you, but not for sure until you had passed. You were long gone after the burn area. Hope you had a nice hike and nice to meet you in passing!

              CommissionPoint-Thanks, enjoyed your tale of the trails this week as well. Sounds like we are both working on some of the uhh shall we say less prominent (in height) high peaks. I did a Phelps to Indian Falls loop last weekend.
              Last edited by veggielasagna; 01-14-2013, 06:07 AM.
              -veggielasagna

              Comment


              • #8
                Ahah! Now it all makes sense; I was "off by one" in my calculation of solo hikers.

                Now I know the "trail vulture" was the other guy and not me who kept a respectable distance.

                Nice to make your acquaintance! I can now correct the anonymous "female hiker" reference in my TR.
                Looking for Views!

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                • #9
                  Oh, by the way, thank you so much for the hard work my buddies and I enjoyed! We were probably an hour behind you all day! Great job!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great report - we've all had those days. It's amazing how some days you feel SO great and other days you can barely drag yourself. It's all part of the joy of setting a hard goal and working towards it. The next one will be better!
                    46R (#7146) ADK, 46W
                    48 (NH 4000) + winter
                    NE 115 (#706)
                    NE Winter 115 (#82)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
                      Ahah! Now it all makes sense; I was "off by one" in my calculation of solo hikers.

                      Now I know the "trail vulture" was the other guy and not me who kept a respectable distance.

                      Nice to make your acquaintance! I can now correct the anonymous "female hiker" reference in my TR.
                      Ha, you caught me trying to be trendy in my phraseology. I didn't write a "shoulder season" TR so I had to get in on "vulture season" aka winter before the snow melts and such frivolity will be non-existent.
                      -veggielasagna

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ChrisCNY View Post
                        Oh, by the way, thank you so much for the hard work my buddies and I enjoyed! We were probably an hour behind you all day! Great job!
                        Not all me Chris, Trail Boss and another fellow helped pack it down as well. Glad you made the loop. Did you fair better on Nippletop for views?
                        -veggielasagna

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aspiring HP Queen View Post
                          Great report - we've all had those days. It's amazing how some days you feel SO great and other days you can barely drag yourself. It's all part of the joy of setting a hard goal and working towards it. The next one will be better!
                          Absolutely! Thanks, looking forward to the next one(s).
                          -veggielasagna

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by veggielasagna View Post
                            Not all me Chris, Trail Boss and another fellow helped pack it down as well. Glad you made the loop. Did you fair better on Nippletop for views?
                            I thought I saw Trail Boss, but I've only met him once at a Winter Gathering and he was ahead of my party....The views, or lack thereof, from Nippletop were nothing to write home about. Socked in clouds with barely any decent pictures.

                            The views from Dial on-the-other-hand were phenomenal! We topped out on Dial at about 1:50 PM and the sun had broken-through and lit-up the whole Great Range. It was cool because the low-lying clouds were rolling in through the valley and we were actually above them. An Awesome sight. How were yours?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChrisCNY View Post
                              The views from Dial on-the-other-hand were phenomenal! We topped out on Dial at about 1:50 PM and the sun had broken-through and lit-up the whole Great Range. It was cool because the low-lying clouds were rolling in through the valley and we were actually above them. An Awesome sight. How were yours?
                              Very much the same! It was pretty neat, loved the clouds hanging at 4k+ on Dix....though for anyone on the summit of Dix, it probably wasn't as "neat" .
                              -veggielasagna

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