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Trip 21 Mount Monroe (The hard way) 8/6/00

12.8 Miles 4000’ Elevation gain

Kevin, Bob F. and Emma

Knowing that I wanted to climb Monroe with Emma, Bob F. came up with this route to get there. We headed up on Friday night to get an early start in the morning, but we find Dry River Campground full, and it was getting dark. Finding the campground host I convinced him we just needed a place for about 9 hours and he let a couple of “New Hampshire” boys camp at what is really only a picnic area, and he didn’t even charge us. I owe that guy. Starting at Pinkham Notch bright and early, we took the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Bob complaining about how boring the first mile was, but we soon came to the Huntington Ravine Trail. It’s a beautiful day and we quickly find ourselves at the base of the ravine where we stop at the cache wherein is kept the litter that carries people like me back out. Actually Huntington is one of the deadliest, if not the deadliest places in the Whites. For proof, next time you’re in the State Park building on the summit of Washington check out the list of deaths, it seems to me Huntington Ravine has the most. Now we climb up through the trees and into a field of huge boulders. From the tops of some of these there are superb views of the ravine. I begin to wonder what we’re getting into. Some of the boulders have what seem to be bottomless crevices between them, and I begin to worry we might lose Emma down one, but she holds her own, and we only have to pass her hand to hand over one or two holes, which she dosen’t like at all, preferring to do things on her own. We rise up now to where there are much smaller boulders and loose gravel. The Pinnacle looms above us on our left, and we pass through its shadow as we cross a gully and begin to climb up onto the Fan. The scenery is amazing. Out on the open ledges now, the sun is becoming a factor and Emma is hot and tired. She keeps trying to hide under the scrub and dig in the damp soil to cool off. We have to coax her out of one spot where she momentarily decided to go no further, but after a drink and a rest in the shade, she must have decided the only way to get out of this was to keep moving. Finally, we climbed up over the headwall and into the Alpine Garden. It was too late in the summer for most of the flowers, but there were some, and it was still very lush and green and there were some trickling brooks for Emma to drink and cool off a little. From there it was a little over a mile to our south and excellent footing to reach the Tuckerman Ravine Trail again, where we headed up a very short distance to the Tuckerman Crossover. This trail takes us straight across the southern shoulder of Washington, well below the summit cone, and connects to the Crawford Path just above the Lakes of the Clouds, near the AMC hut of the same name. Of course Emma plunged into the cool water for some quick relief. We were not so priveleged. From the front door of the hut it is less than a half mile and 350’ elevation to the summit of Monroe, and we make it in about ten minutes. The whole trip I have been amazed at the numbers of people on the mountain, it looked like a pilgrimage going up Tuckerman’s, but it becomes especially evident on Monroe, where we cannot even find a place to sit. We decide to go down off the south side and loop back by the Crawford Path to the hut. This is easy and we soon find ourselves climbing above the lakes again, over the shoulder and back to Tuckerman Ravine Trail. I’m getting tired now. We go over the headwall and begin our descent past the many waterfalls of the Cutler River drainage. The surrounding beauty keeps my mind from my tired legs and we soon find ourselves on the floor of the ravine. The rest of the walk out seems flat to me after what we’ve been doing all day. I’ll find out on a later trip it isn’t. Emma really proved her toughness on this one. Me too. Bob? Well, who knows how many times he’s climbed Huntington’s, but add one more.
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