Wednesday, March 6, 2013

W48-in-1: Mt. Jackson - 2/24/13

After completing a Wildcat to Moriah traverse on Feb. 23rd, I was back at it again the next day on Sunday Feb. 24th. After such a tough hike, I slept in a little bit, and despite the weather forecast calling for an incoming snow event, I was headed back up Route 93 to hike at least one more peak that weekend. I guess it was an easy choice to hike Mt. Jackson with a late start. It was also an easy choice because it was the final summit I needed to complete my 3rd Round of the 48 Four-thousand footers, and my first winter hike to Mt. Jackson.

It was snowing throughout the hike, as well as a little bit of sleet mixed in at the summit. The snow was actually accumulating very quickly, which made it very interesting. I microspiked the entire way from start to finish. There was a nice layer of snow over a nicely packed path which made for easy traveling, and a very nice warm-up to the Jackson Branch of the Jackson-Webster Trail.

The heavy fresh snow covering the old snow and weighing down the trees were a marvel to walk through. I didn't take many pictures, but I was just amazed at how far I could see through the trees while hiking up. When I came into the open, and the summit was just visible through the thick overcast and snow, it was a sight to see. Even three times later, this first winter hike of Jackson was a fresh hike, and made for an exciting final push to the summit to complete Round 3. As I came up to the final part, I was challenged by chest-deep drifts which required me to use my poles for leverage to get over the snow. Although a rather easy winter 4000 footer, the last push was exciting as sleet started to batter my outer shell.

Jackson Branch - final summit push
At the summit, I was immediately greeted by a friendly gray jay who treated me to another amazing summit experience for my finish. Standing in the blowing snow and sleet, I enjoyed the minimal view, had a couple of cookies, and even shared some with the summit gray jay!

Gray jay on Mt. Jackson
48th summit of Round 3 - Mt. Jackson 
Mt. Jackson summit in winter
Needing Pierce for my single-season winter, I was faced with the decision of whether or not to head to Pierce on the Webster Cliff Trail. Recent reports stated that the trail had been traveled, but the quickly accumulating snow left no signs of it, and the sleet hitting me made me decide to descend.  The descent was really fun! I basically jogged and skipped my way all of the way down. The entire hike took me only two hours and forty minutes. After I descended quickly, I realized that there was still time for another hike, and another chance to bring me closer to my goal. It was still snowing really good in Crawford Notch, but I decided that I would grab my sled, and head up to Mt. Pierce directly on the Crawford Path.

Enjoy the video from my 3rd Round finish! Only 22 to more to go until I complete Round 4!

Hike Stats
Trails: Jackson-Webster Trail, Webster Branch
Distance: 5.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,150 ft.
Actual Book Time: 2:40

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