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Climbing Mt Liberty in Winter

Mt Liberty, White Mountains

I climbed Mt Liberty (4,459 ft), my first peak of the new year, last Sunday. I picked Liberty because I wanted to hike up a steep trail in preparation for climbing Mt Washington (6,288 ft) this weekend. I didn’t summit the big one on my last winter attempt two years ago, and I wanted to make sure I’m prepared this time, weather permitting.

There’s been a huge thaw in the Whites over the past week and trail conditions on Liberty were plain awful. I felt like Paul Atriedes, from Dune, as a slogged up the slushy trail: stop, step, slide, stop, squish. I ended up bare booting the bottom two miles and then switched to full step-in crampons on the final, steep section, over hard ice and then finally bare rock at the summit.

The summit was completely socked in when I arrived, but as I started to descend, the clouds broke in Franconia Notch and I was treated to tremendous views.

Mt Liberty Summit

Mt Cannon, Franconia Notch

Mt Garfield in Cloud

Little Haystack Mountain, Franconia Ridge

I’ve always felt that there is a spirit that lives in Franconia Notch, and I think this is her way of smiling. Happy New Year 2011 everyone, and safe travels.

8 comments

  1. That is astounding! I almost don't believe those pictures were taken this season, there's so little snow! Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed that some snow falls before I get up there next.

    Happy 2011!

  2. Liberty is a great hike and the views are awesome… I love your comment about a spirit living in Franconia notch… it's always a magical place for me too :)

    Liz

  3. Geat Pictures!

  4. "I've always felt that there is a spirit that lives in Franconia Notch, and I think this is her way of smiling."

    Heh heh. I've often thought the same about the places I hike, too. All mountains have different personalities, different moods that shift and change over time. It's a very cool thing, and I don't think many people can see it because they're too focused on putting in miles or talking with companions.

  5. Thanks for posting. Happy new year to you as well.

    Nice, dramatic pics!

    Sean

  6. Guthook – I was back again this morning and there is snow. All that water and slush turned to ice. Hopefully, it will stay that way for a while.

  7. I love Liberty. Climbed it this past summer heading up the Flume Slide and down the Liberty Springs Trail. It was a lot of fun, but challenging for me.

  8. Nice! Liberty was our first W4K last winter. Amazing place to be. Good luck on the rockpile this weekend.

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