Saturday, February 21, 2009

Doublehead Ski Trail

Finally got into the backcountry this season!

Bill and I hit the road early and went up to Jackson, NH to ride the Doublehead Ski Trail. I had actually never even heard of it until Bill had suggested it the day before. Did a bit of research and it looked fun. Avy danger was high on Washington after this latest storm of heavy snow on top of a thaw/freeze cycle but Doublehead isnt really steep enough to slide so things looked ok.

Our Destination

This is my first time in a long time earning turns in a new locale. It was interesting the night before getting all my gear together. I have a good enough set up to get by, but it would be nice to have more lighter specific touring stuff. Last thing I need is MORE gear to buy though. My wallet can only take so many outdoor activities.

My 'setup'

First time using my Marmot pack for this purpose. It worked really well and I am very pleased with it. Its a great size for the trip we did. I sort of goofed my layering for the day and had a hard time managing my "thermodynamics" on the hike up. I was overheating a bit and at the same time my hands were frozen. Bad combo. The hike was a bit more demanding than I had been anticipating.

We decided to head up the Old Path instead of hiking up the Ski Trail itself. These trails were cut by the CCC back in the 30's, but I think the Old Path may have been cut by a offshoot of that group called ASS or Anti Switchback Society. This trail went straight up the face, pretty steep in spots. Getting purchase with the snow shoes was tricky with the fresh snow and the grades we were trying to get up. But it made things interesting I guess.

As always the camera robs the Gnar

I was actually hurting quite a bit by the time we hit the top of the ridge in between the two peaks. I had to take a seat and get some carbs and fluids in me and thaw out my hands. Bill busted out some hot cocoa in a thermus that REALLY saved the day. My legs felt good but my back and shoulders werent used to hauling weight. After a refresh we had about another couple hundred feet of vert to go to the summit of North Doublehead.

Hot cocoa? HELL YEAH!

There is a hut at the top that you can actually rent out from the local ranger station....pretty sweet looking setup actually. We got the snow shoes off and began the horrifying process of trying to get frozen stiff ski boots on with cold hands. Probably took me 10-15 mins straight of constant struggle. Not fun.

I feel your pain

Finally ready to go

Views from the top were nice. Unfortunately we didn't get any action pics of the trail down. Too short to warrant the stop and go of getting the camera out. The terrain was really fun, ups and downs and plenty of turns to make it interesting. Snow was great coming down...kind of a mix of spring conditions with a bit of powder left over from Thursday. All in all, a great day trip. I'll leave you with pics from the summit.

off the back side of N.'d have to be a Maine-iac to live out this way


  1. looks good, let me know if it's worth doing again... I would be up for it.

  2. sweet trip man....i was wondering about how the boot thing was gonna pan out when i saw them on your pack...i never would have been able to get mine still be there swearing at them right now.

  3. i need to hit the lottery and buy a AT setup, skinning would be fun suffering, i want to do it right now.