Note: Please take a moment to answer the RSVP questions when responding. It's for safety reasons this information be provided. Failure to furnish the requested information may result in removal from the activity.
Introduction: Mt Jefferson (third highest of the 48 at 5716') is a rocky, otherworldly summit that is a worthy destination for any peakbagger, but in this case, the journey itself may have the biggest draw for some. That's because we're going to get there via an amazing loop on some steep and dangerous terrain through the heart of the Great Gulf Wilderness -- once referred to as the Gulf of Mexico back when Joe Dodge himself tramped in the northern Presidentials. (See TRIP SUMMARY for trail details.) For more information about this mountain, 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. Please read the entire TRIP SUMMARY, below, before you RSVP. It is important, not only for your safety, but that of the entire group.
This is a MODERATE- to FAST-paced, ADVANCED-distance 14.6 mile hike (round trip) with an ADVANCED 4804-feet of elevation gain. The approximate hike time is around 9 hours 42 minutes based on WMG Online. It may take more or less time depending how we hike as a group. My aim is to beat book time, including stops for lunch, breathers, breaks, and photos. That said, always plan and be prepared for spending more time on the mountain than expected. Even though, we should be out in time for food and drinks. To do this hike we are are going to leave from the Great Gulf Wilderness parking area, enter the woods via the Great Gulf Link, then take the Great Gulf Trail to Six Husbands Trail which will take us up and over the buttress of the northern Jefferson's Knee to the summit. Ledge scrambles, ladders, and thrills await, this is not a route for folks scared of heights. In other words, for the right hikers, this will be a fun and exciting route. Once we summit we will head south towards Mt Clay via the Gulfside Trail, then once we reach Sphinx Col will will start our descent via the steep and rugged Sphinx Trail back to the Great Gulf Trail to complete a lollipop loop.
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, snow/sleet, 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 if I feel there will be changes to our plan. Moreover, I 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/Mt-Jefferson.
Gear Info: This gear is critical in the summer months. 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, and it can still get very cold, even in the summer. 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 hiking boots or rugged trail runners if that's what you like with light to medium synthetic or wool socks with a spare pair in your pack, gaiters to keep debris, mud, and water out of your boots if wearing shorts.
- Hands and Head: A synthetic or wool cap that covers your ears and warm, and non-cotton waterproof gloves. It can get cold, even in the summer. Your rain gear/shell, should feature a hood.
- Face and Eyes: UV-protective sunglasses are really helpful. I personally like polarized glasses since they cut down on glare. 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: You can wear shorts and a t-shirt but bring layers with "wicking" synthetics next to the skin and wool/fleece 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.
- Outerwear: Windproof/waterproof shell (with hood) as well as windproof/waterproof pants. With layers underneath, as described, you should stay warm in most conditions.
- 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 (2.5-3 litres is what I suggest for this trip). Use at least three Nalgene bottles or a hydration bladder to carry your water, or be ready to collect water and purify it. 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, 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 as noted, and a waterproof pack cover.
- Optional Items: Trekking poles (must be stowable for this hike) and camera.
Trailhead: West side of Rte 16; 4.1 Miles North of Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center (just after the and across the street from Camp Dodge). Elevation: 1350'
Guests, Kids, and Dogs: I'm sorry, but due to this trip's difficulty, I cannot allow guests (must be member), kids, or dogs on this excursion.
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 assume all risk associated with this activity; you are responsible for having the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, clothing, and equipment to safely participate in this activity; you know and will follow the Hiker Responsibility Code; the organizer(s) of this activity are volunteers; and you release, hold harmless, and indemnify the organizer(s) and all members of this group from any and all claims for property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death - including those caused by negligence and/or other reasons.