Mt. Jefferson Attempt – Sept 16, 2012

Sunday was our day to bag another peak.  As I’ve stated before we are not doing THE list, but if we happen to hit one of the 48 4,000 footers I’ll check it off THE list.  We debated once again between a few peaks, but finally decided on Mt. Jefferson.  I’ve been a little fearful of this hike because of the bouldering required, steepness of the ascent and most afraid of the descent on all that rock.  I’ve had some friends coach me on this hike, that I could do it, even with my fear of heights, a rotator cuff issue and occasional vertigo.  Ok I thought let’s do it.

The hike started out on the Caps Ridge Trail and it was easy enough.  A boggy area greeted us first.

From the boggy area we started a steady ascent up.  This wasn’t taxing and offered some fine views along the way.

At 1.0 mile we reached a granite outcrop that offered views up the trail and to the summit.  This is where the fear of doing this set deeper into my heart.

We continued along the way, only to run into an obstacle on the trail. A tent. Yes, that is right,  a tent smack dab on the trail, with two tents anchored just off the trail.  That was a first (we later found out these kids had stumbled off the summit of Madison in the dark and just went prepared.).

See that white blob, that is a tent on the trail.

We hit scrub and hiked through it.

At 1.5 miles we really started the scramble up the caps.

I slowed down tremendously and it no longer became fun.  The fear of the descent being harder than the ascent set in.  We sat at the third cap and decided to call it a hike.  We had tremendous views and if it isn’t fun anymore, might as well turn around and try another day.

Foggy around Mt. Jefferson

We started the descent and guess what? I had a blast going down.  I had to go down mostly on my bum, but I actually had a good time.

I liked my perch

As we came down, we met two ladies and stopped, chatted for a bit.  While we talked a very friendly chipmunk kept running up to us.

Once we hit the wooded trail, we flew down the path. As Mike and I reflected on this hike, I realized what kept me from the summit was the fear of the descent.  I realized at that moment, I would return because I climbed the hardest part and had a fun time coming down.  So maybe next summer on a perfect, blue sky kind of day, we will conquer Mt. Jefferson.

The Details: Well take the Caps Ridge trail. Total time to the third cap and back was 4.5 hours. 3.6 miles

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5 comments

  1. Thanks for you nice account of your Jefferson attempt. I also have fears of the return trip and exposure as well as too much rock scrambling. This is helpful. I’m getting better with each hike though, and have now done 20 4000 fts. I learn a little on each hike 🙂

    1. Wendy, Thanks for your comments. I realize kids approach hiking the right way, childlike and just have fun. I think I needed to adopt a childlike attitude and just have fun with the scrambles up. I did have fun going down though, no fear. Congrats on 20!!

  2. I would be concerned about the return hike too. That’s one thing Hubby and I have figured out the hard way while doing our “Extreme Beachcombing”. The hike out is fun but challenging. The hike back, well, it’s challenging when burdened by 50lbs of buoys & fishing floats. So, I think it’s wise to always think about what it will be like on trip back. Those pictures you shared are amazing. I love love love the one of all the boulders with moss growing on them. Gorgeous, just gorgeous! Thank you again for taking all of us along with you and Mike’s Woodsy Rambling.

  3. Just stumbled upon your Jefferson attempt post after reading the Dome Rock account. I just got back from an early season training hike to Dome Rock. It’s great isn’t it. Lots of payback for the effort. Caps Ridge is one of my favorite hikes in the Whites – probably a tie with Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. I will add that it took me three attempts to summit Jefferson, due to weather, not fear of the heights or the exposure. The third time was the charm despite hiking with a friend who has/had significant fear of heights with sometime vertigo. She did it by keeping close behind me and staring a my boots the whole time. She missed grand views, but did make it. Since then she has hiked many miles, many of them with exposure. She tells me every time it gets easier. Have you gone back? I wish you well in the mountains! Pong

    1. Thank you for your kind words. We haven’t been back to Jefferson and unfortunately our time this year will be limited in the White Mountains. I have a better mindset to attack Jefferson though this year. Enjoy the mountains.

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