Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mounts Stanton and Pickering, plus four Crippies, May 5, 2010

I often hike with the Wednesday Group, a group of mainly retired active hikers.  For about ten months of the year we do 4,000 footers, but during the transition period between solid snow and bare trails we go into "snow avoidance mode".  This leads us to explore the lower peaks, some well known (two weeks ago we did South and Middle Moat), some less so.  Yesterday's hike on the Mount Stanton Trail, over Mounts Stanton and Pickering and the four Crippies, falls into the latter category.


This is a fully interactive Google Map. You can zoom in or out, pan, and by clicking on the trailhead icon you can get directions to the trailhead.

View Mt Stanton Trail in a larger map

We had planned to meet at 9 AM at the trailhead, and most of the group were there, ready to hike, when I arrived a few minutes before 9.  We soon received cell phone calls from two car-fulls of lost hikers, and dispatched a car to where the road to the trailhead leaves Rt 302.  While waiting several hikers leaned their poles against the trail sign

After the lost hikers were rescued we started off.  The trail follows the edge of a driveway for a short distance

then enters the woods.  It starts off fairly gently, but then there are a couple of very steep sections, with gravelly footing that was "interesting" on the way down.  We reached the first of many viewpoints, with views of Mout Kearsarge to the east and the slopes of Attitash (with a few remaining patches of snow) to the south.  From the first viewpoint I took an interesting photo of our cars barely visible through the trees on the side of the road, down below

A view of Mount Kearsarge, with the tower barely visible

After a second steep pitch we reached the first summit, Mount Stanton.  We stopped for a sit down snack, with an excellent view of Mount Washington, with the summit structures just visible

On group hikes I am always amused by the self assured way in which some participants mis-identify the surrounding mountains; as we were a fairly large group some remarkable identifications were suggested!  We then saddled up for the continuation of our hike.  Until now we had been going up; we were now about to start a series of ups and downs over Mount Pickering and the four Crippies.  At the bottom of the first descent, in the col between Mounts Stanton and Pickering, there is a boundary marker, in a red cairn, marking the White Mountain National Forest boundary.  Lots of red paint on trees, witness trees, and all the paraphernalia of a boundary marker; I just photographed the red cairn

We made a second, briefer, stop on Mount Pickering, the continued over the Crippies only stopping on the fourth (and final) one for lunch

The group as a whole returned the way we had come, but a few continued to do the loop over Mount Langdon, returning to a spotted car at the Mount Langdon trailhead.  We were at our cars around 2:40, after a very pleasant hike.  The distance was 6.8 miles with 2,450 feet of elevation gain, 1,000 of them straight up, and the rest in bits and pieces as the trail undulated over the many summits.

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