Moose on Madison

On Sunday December 18th we took advantage of the clear skies and climbed Mt. Madison. We got off to a late start at 10AM on the Valley Way trail. It was mostly snow covered leaves on the trail. There is no need for any traction down low. After an hour and a half of climbing the trail became a frozen stream and careful footwork was needed. Micro Spikes or Yak Trax would suffice nicely. Crampons would have been more of a nuisance than a help. We broke treeline in about 3.5 hours and stepped into the sun for the first time. We took a break at Madison Spring Hut and we were joined by a moose! I haven’t seen a whole lot of wildlife during the day in the White Mountains, so this was a very rare treat! We snuck by the moose who was nearly blocking our trail and headed up the Osgood Trail toward the summit of Madison. The summit cone of Madison is very blocky and tedious, but rather short. We reached the summit a little over 4 hours from the car. We spent about 15 minutes on the summit taking pictures and basking in the sun before we had to drop back into the shadow cast by Mt Adams. Above treeline, the trail is a mix of snow and rock and again crampons were not needed, although micro spikes would be helpful. On the descent, we again found the moose, but this time he was blocking our route down, so we coaxed him into moving over a few feet through yelling at him and rolling a stone near him. We snuck by him and the rest of the descent was uneventful. I used crampons on the descent in some spots to avoid slipping on the ice in the trail. Brett opted to go without the crampons and he wasn’t too bothered with the slippery conditions. The round trip took us 7.5 hours. Madison is probably my second favorite peak in the presidentials. Adams being the first. Again.. we lucked out on the weather! Cold, but no wind and clear skies..

Breaking treeline and leaving the cold shade behind.

Although we made the summit, the moose was the highlight of the day!

Mt. Adams on the right and Mt. Washington peaking out on the left.

Mt. Adams.. Second Highest in New England, dominates the horizon

Climbing to the false summit of Madison. The real summit is 2 minutes past the high point seen here