The Blazes Are Knee-High: Mt. Liberty via Liberty Spring Trail 03/20/2010

I climbed Mt. Liberty on the Franconia Ridge today.  The weather felt like spring, warming from the high 30’s into the 50’s.  The trail condition was lousy from top to bottom, although easily navigable.  The trail started out as mushy mud or water sodden leaves with icy patches here and there.  With elevation gain, the trail eventually became snow-covered, with the snow pack getting deeper the higher I went.  By the time I was up on the ridge, the blazes were about knee-high.

I wore a mix of bare boots, microspikes, and snowshoes.  There was no one right answer, although crampons were not necessary anywhere.  The snow was a slimy mashed potato mess much of the time.  I got by with microspikes mostly, but found that straying too far to the left or the right of the packed trail center led to postholes.

The summit was pleasant.  On the actual summit boulder, the wind was brisk, but felt warm.  Ten feet away, there was hardly any wind at all.  I changed shirts right there at the top and spread out my softshell to air a bit, and never felt cold.  I took a number of pictures, but many of them weren’t great.  Because of the thin cloud cover, the light washed out some of the shots.  Still, I grabbed a number of frames I’m happy with.

I considered going over to Flume, but I was pretty wiped out.  Climbing up onto the ridge was tough, and I didn’t want to add another 2 miles and I think additional 1,000 feet of vertical to the climb.  Eight miles was plenty.  Yes, I wanted to bag Flume too, but I was (as usual) hiking solo, and mentally just wasn’t up to it.  That’s in contrast to Osceola / East Osceola, where I was ready to go all the way to Osceola right from the beginning.  In hindsight, that was the right call.  I am absolutely wiped out now.  I feel as if I did more than just eight miles.

Mt. Liberty summit, with Cannon cliffs to the left and Mt. Lincoln to the right.

Mt. Liberty summit, with Cannon cliffs in the background.

Mt. Liberty summit, with Franconia Ridge trail following the line of snow.  Mt. Lincoln rises above.

Mt. Moosilauke, as seen from Mt. Liberty summit.

Mt. Flume as seen from Mt. Liberty summit.  I couldn’t face dropping into that col today.

Cannon Mountain and Cannon cliffs as seen from Mt. Liberty summit.

Obligatory pack shot, at about 2,000 feet along the Liberty Spring trail.  The white blaze on the tree indicates that this is part of the Appalachian Trail.

The largest stream I crossed along Liberty Spring trail.

Lots of snow melt resulted in all kinds of streams cascading down the mountain.

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3 thoughts on “The Blazes Are Knee-High: Mt. Liberty via Liberty Spring Trail 03/20/2010

  1. Ethan, love the pictures. Looks like you had some great views! I love Franconia Ridge, and have hiked it many times. I may even like it better than the Presidentials. My last hike up there was in early October, with my brother and his boys. We started north and planned to hike south to Washington, but an early snowfall covered us in about 8 inches of the white stuff over night, and visibility was pointlessly poor in the morning. Oh, and we were miserably frozen all night, with temps dropping to about 8. Our bags and tents are only 3 season rated…
    Anyway, nice to stumble upon some of your blogs. I wish I were as diligent in keeping mine up to date as you seem to be.

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