Friday, February 4, 2011
Bluebird morning. Great Range from the top of Roaring Brook Falls.
Gray Jay afternoon. Noonmark on the horizon from the summit of Giant.
Friday's forecast: Sunny.
Saturday's forecast: Cloudy.
Friday's Bluebird became a Gray Jay.
Roomier pack: Osprey Talon 44
Longer snowshoes: Evo Tails
Improved Hydration system: Thicker hose insulation. Bite-valve sheathed and stashed in jacket pocket.
Overslept; left Montreal at 6:00 AM.
Left St. Huberts trailhead at 9:15 AM.
Temperature: -5 C (23 F)
Wednesday's storm brought plenty of fresh snow.
Register said: two people went to RPR the previous day.
Path to RPR should be a breeze.
Trail is 'post-holed' to the top of Roaring Brook Falls.
Remainder is blanketed in fresh snow and is pristine.
Trail-breaking assignment: apprx. 3000 feet of ascent over 3 miles.
Expected to be topside Giant in 3-4 hours.
Tails on. Tails off. Tails back on.
Variable snow pack; sank from 4 to 10 inches.
Sank a lot deeper off-trail.
Fueled by jujubes and energy bars.
Pancreas got a good workout.
Attempted to schedule rest-stops to, no less than, 100 paces apart.
Lungs dictated their own schedule and could not be ignored.
Me, myself, and I shared the trail-breaking.
We all had the same pace.
Four hours later, we're not on the summit.
Myself blamed me whereas I remained stoic.
Write-off RPR; Giant or bust.
Reached the RPR junction and stared longingly at RPR.
No epics today, thank you. On to Giant.
Summited at 2:45 PM. Five and a half hours of trail-breaking had to lead somewhere.
Temperature: -15 C (5 F). Windy; on goes the hardshell.
Fleeting views; clouds obscured everything.
Raven swooped by.
Downed the last of the hot latte.
Left the summit at 3:00 PM.
At the RPR junction, I met two young women, summit-bound.
Ascending via the Ridge trail, they had left an hour before me.
They were equally astonished by today's tough slog up Giant.
Remainder of my descent: striding and glissading.
Back at the trailhead in under 90 minutes.
5.5 hours up. 1.5 hours down. Nonsensical.
8 oz prime rib washed down with 40 oz of red ale.