Lafayette

Turned away from the ridge once again

We should have known. Just like the last time we attempted to hike Franconia Ridge in March, the summit scared us off the mountain and we turned and hot-footed it back to Greenleaf Hut.

The trail was well-packed and the sun was poking through the clouds on the way up to Greenleaf Hut. We wore our snowshoes anyways to save us the trouble of shoving them in our backpacks (six one way, half a dozen the other we reckon). It did look like some folks were post-holing to the side of the monorail too.

We got some nice views of the ravines and hoped that the mountain weather that was shrouding the peaks would blow over in the wind by the time we arrived. We paused for a moment at the shuddered-up hut, but not as long as we normally do — a first sign that the cold was going to be a challenge up above treeline.

Visibility diminished as we left treeline for good and followed a wind-swept path from cairn to cairn. Rye was running up and down the trail and we didn't try to keep her too close since I wanted to make sure she kept warm too. We met a man a few yards from the summit who had gotten a little turned around, and the three of us confidently continued to go the wrong way by some boulders (you can see we found the right trail on the way down).

At the summit conditions were nearing whiteout, though not quite as bad as last time we tried this. I stopped to put on a face buff which I should have done earlier and became quite cold with my pack off. So, we decided not to continue on to the ridge. I needed to warm up so I practically ran (as much as is possible in snowshoes on a steep crusted peak) down to the hut with Rye while Cody made sure the other man found the trail ok.

We met some other hikers who had done the ridge on our way down and said it would have been quite uncomfortable without goggles. Yet another piece of gear I keep forgetting to acquire! Alas, we had a nice walk down in calmer conditions and I fully appreciated the coziness of a good beer and meal at Schilling on our way home.

Peaks

Lafayette (5,249′)

Trailhead

Falling Waters

Trails

Old Bridal Path, Greenleaf Trail

Distance

7.82 miles, 4,000' elevation gain

Time

Start at 10:54 AM, 4:04 elapsed

Weather

Cold, windy, mountain clouds

Trail Conditions

Packed monorail

Gear

Snowshoes (probably not necessary though)

Partners in Crime

Cody & Rye

Strava
Download .gpx data

Gallery

Weather threatening to be nice to our backs

Cannon Mountain through the trees

Neutral white palette

A sea of snow-swept boulders

Me after making it back down from the mountain

Rye feeling the cold too

Rye waiting for Cody to meet us

White lanes through the snowy trees

Mountain man Cody