Note: Please take a moment to answer the RSVP question when responding. It's for safety reasons this information be provided.
Introduction: Rugged and beautiful Mt. Moriah via Stony Brook and Carter-Moriah Trails. At 4049' this is no monster, but with its rugged and remote-feeling location at the northern end of the Carter-Moriah Range, its numerous ledges including the relatively small knob that makes up the summit, and its awesome views, it's a very special place -- a mountain I recall from my childhood. Normally I pre-hike any trails I choose for Meetups, but this time I'm making an exception since I don't think I've taken the Stony Brook Trail (though I have hiked the Carter-Moriah segment to the summit). We can explore this popular and well-documented route together. This will be a ten mile hike with about 3150' of elevation gain. In other words it won't be that difficult in present conditions (hence the later start time). Do know, however, that the final ascent to the summit knob from this direction requires a fairly steep scramble that may be rocky, icy, and/or snowy. It may require the use of full 10-14 point crampons (bring yours). It is possible to fall 10-15' and get hurt, or worse, from this bit of trail. If you're uneasy about this sort of thing, you might want to think twice about this hike for that reason, though do bear in mind that the summit is close by so this section could be optional without breaking up the group dangerously. (It is very short and no worse than Blueberry Ledge Trail for those who came on that hike or know that trail.) There will be some exposure on this hike, mostly on the many ledges and on the summit. Be prepared for that. Crossings should be easy. For more information, please refer to the AMC's White Mountain Guide or The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains.
Notice: We start as a group, hike as a group, and finish as a group. Our pace will be that of the slowest hiker. This trip isn't for you if you are faster than the group and don't want to stay with us, if you want to head off on your own, or if you are slower than the group and expect us to constantly wait for you (in the cold winter months this can be particularly dangerous for the entire group if we have to wait around, getting cold). Please read the entire TRIP SUMMARY, below, before you RSVP. It is important, not only for your safety, but that of the entire group.
The pace of this hike will be intermediate: a bit faster than "book time" in the summer, a little slower in the winter, depending on trail conditions, with lots of micro-stops limited to the time it takes answer the call of nature, breathe and circulate blood, or grab some water and a quick snack (we'll probably eat a short "lunch" on or near the summit, depending on conditions). As noted, the mileage is 10 miles 'round trip according to the map. We will have boots on the trail at 7:00am so meet at the trailhead parking lot a good 15 minutes before so we can actually leave on time. This will be a day hike, but do have a headlight in the unlikely event it's needed on return. This will probably be a snowshoe hike with possible crampon use. Microspikes/Hillsounds may be needed as well, hard to say for sure right now. An ice axe could be also useful on the ledges where slide falls could be somewhat unnerving to outright dangerous, as well for the single summit pitch -- if you know how to self-arrest. As we get closer to the date I'll know better as to what specific conditions we'll encounter and what you'll be expected to bring or able to leave behind.
Environment: Mountain weather is subject to rapid changes and extreme conditions so be prepared. If conditions will be or become dangerous on the trail (i.e., elevated likelihood of lightning, blizzard, dangerous winds, downpour, or dense fog, especially above treeline), I will cancel or terminate the hike - I will post an update and/or send an email to all confirmed participants a day or two ahead of time. We will assess travel and weather conditions during the hike and make changes to our planned trip as necessary. While reaching the summit is always our goal, we will not succumb to "summit fever" and risk our well-being in the process. The mountain will still be there another day.
Weather: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/forecast.php, also check out http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Moriah-New-Hampshire.
Gear Info: This gear is critical in the winter. There is no cheating here. If you mess up you put everyone in danger. Below is a list describing the minimum required items to participate in this event. Hiking safely is about being prepared so that you can respond to an emergency situation or spend a night in the woods if you have to. Do not rely on others to have extra items to share with you at the meeting spot or on the trail. You should know how to use all of your equipment - test and adjust it prior to this trip.
- Footwear: Proper, well-soled winter-rated hiking or mountaineering boots with heavy synthetic or wool socks with a spare pair in your pack, gaiters to keep snow out our your boots, and Microspikes/Hillsounds. You should also bring crampons in case steep ice floes are present (and an ice axe on some hikes if you're trained to use it). If you're going to hike the Whites in the winter, you're going to need these things eventually. The same goes for snowshoes, you'll eventually need a pair of full-crampon steep ascent snowshoes (talk to your EMS/REI rep). This stuff is essential. That said, it is possible you may not need to bring your crampons and/or snowshoes on this hike. I will monitor ice conditions and snow depths and let you know before the hike if I feel we can safely leave some equipment at home.
- Hands and Head: A synthetic or wool cap that covers your ears and warm, non-cotton waterproof gloves as well as -0-rated mittens are critical. Your rain gear/shell, should feature a hood.
- Face and Eyes: A face mask, balaclava or some other form of face protection. And for the eyes, glacier glasses with blinders and/or goggles with lightly tinted lenses (I find yellow is a good compromise color). I suggest splurging on "TurboFan" goggles (ESS is one brand) as the integrated fan effectively keeps fogging at bay. Also on the topic of eye protection, I find a pair of shop glasses in the pack a good addition in case we encounter an unexpected bushwhack.
- Clothing: Dress in layers with "wicking" synthetics next to the skin and wool over to easily regulate body temperature (clothing designed to deal with sweat during exertion and insulate even when wet). Also, it can be windy at the summit and it will typically be much colder at higher elevations so please be prepared. Make sure your layers fit comfortably over each other. DO NOT WEAR COTTON! While cotton is a great insulator when it's dry, once wet it doesn't dry easily and it rapidly conducts heat away from the body. Also consider bringing an extra layer in your pack just in case.
- Outerwear: Windproof/waterproof shell (with hood) as well as windproof/waterproof pants. Again, also consider bringing an extra layer. like a down or synthetic "puffy" just in case or if conditions above treeline warrant it.
- Food and Water: Bring high-energy snacks making sure you have plenty of salts and sugars (this will help you make better use of your water), your choice of food for lunch, and pack extra just in case. Again, bring enough water to stay properly hydrated during the trip (2-3 litres is what I suggest, even when it's cold). Use at least two Nalgene bottles or a hydration bladder to carry your water. If using a hydration bladder like a CamelBak or Platypus, and if the weather is very cold, and especially if the tube is uninsulated, you will need to clear the tube after drinking, also pinching the valve while upright, "twanging" it, and keeping the bite-valve in your shirt. I also know of other trail remedies that can save your day, but do consider bringing spare some water in another container. It's a good idea to have a hearty meal the night before followed by a good night's sleep. Also, try to begin the hike well hydrated.
- Shelter: Be prepared to spend a night in the woods if you have to. Minimal options include an ultralight tarp, a bivy sack, or an emergency space blanket (which packs small and weighs just ounces). A pad or some way to get off the ground is also highly recommended (though pine boughs can work).
- Other Essential Gear: Map and compass: don't just bring them, know how to use them. Also, a plastic whistle, headlamp with spare batteries (required, forget and you can't come), a first aid kit containing any medications you may need personally (please let me know if you have any applicable allergies, medical conditions, and special medications you may be carrying), a small knife or multipurpose tool, matches or wind-proof lighter and fire starter, a toiletries kit (e.g. hand sanitizer, toilet paper and a zip-lock bag to pack out your used personal hygiene items), sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, and a waterproof pack cover.
- Optional Items: Stowable trekking poles (recommended) and camera. An ice axe if you know how to use it for self arrest, though it shouldn't be needed on this hike.
Trailhead: Take Rte 16 N to the TH (right) just south of the Peabody River bridge. OR, take Rte 93 to Rte 3 (exit 34C), to Rte 115, to Rte 2, to Gorham, then take Rte 16 S to the right, the TH (left) wil be just after the bridge (1.8 miles). Contact me if you have questions. Elevation: 930'
Disclaimer: As a condition of your voluntary participation in this activity you acknowledge and agree to the following: this activity involves inherent risks that can cause property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death to participants and/or others; You agree not to hold the Organizer, Event Organizers, Assistant Organizers, or any other members responsible for any injuries, mishaps, or any other situation that may happen at a planned event. You are responsible to research the event, know the area, and bring the proper gear and agree to know and follow the Hiker Responsibility Code described at http://www.hikesafe.com.