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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mount Pierce (Winter)

The plan was to hike Mount Pierce (4311') and its neighbor Mt Eisenhower (4780'), two mountains in the Southern Presidential range. I was leading this hike, with my group Northeast Peak Baggers. We had six in our group for the day.

We got a late start as we parked at the Crawford Connector (it's plowed!) instead of Clinton Road (which is not plowed) to start the hike. We ended up driving over to the Highland Center and crossing the street to start the hike.

Surprisingly the trail was packed down well even with Friday's snow. There were a couple groups before us, but not all were wearing snowshoes. The start of the hike was very cold and windy. The trail was smooth and the trees were perfectly covered by new snow so it made for mostly ideal hiking conditions. Soon enough we stopped to delayer as we had a lot of time below treeline.





We had met up with the Over 40 Hiking group (two men were in that group that day), a group of six all wearing plastic boots, a smaller group (no snowshoes) descending, and a couple with two Alaskan Malamutes. They were some pretty awesome dogs! The trails were moderately busy for a Saturday.

Once we approached treeline we layered up. Most of us opted for face masks and goggles as we could hear the wind really blowing. Breathing is always difficult with the face mask so I often lowered it as I approached the summit.



No Eisenhower to be seen...


We tuckered down in the trees and had lunch. On our ascent we hadn't met anyone who had gone over to Eisenhower. After our lunch break we decided to head over towards Eisenhower, but turn back if the conditions were too rough. Shortly after we began to head over, we could see there were white out conditions. We met a couple coming from Eisenhower who confirmed our concerns. They said that no one had gone over and the route was not broken out at all and there was no visibility so they turned around. We decided to head down back to the trailhead.

On the descent I wanted to do some sledding. I met a woman named Lynne who was a solo hiker with a sled. She joined Alex and I down Pierce on our sleds. We had a blast! Pierce is an awesome mountain for sledding! The sledding was so good, we continued even across the street to the Highland Center parking area!


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