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 Madison 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
Posts: 2765
Location: south of the notches
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 Madison
Soooooooooooo...you know that song "The Gambler"? Written by some unknown joe back in the 70s or so, made a hit by Kenny Rogers? You know:

"You got to know when to hold 'em,
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your conquests
When you're sittin' on the summits
There'll be time enough for checkmarks
When the hike is done"

OK. Who sang along with that? C'mon. Admit it. You did.

Yeah. Well, my plan A was Madison and Adams. When I slept longer than I'd planned, I dressed quickly with my plan B in mind: if I have to pick one I'll pick Adams. Plan C wasn't really even considered. Until I hit the steeps. What the ??

Early trail conditions
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Not much snow down low and fairly mild temps made for quick time for the first .8 to the jct and quick right turn leading up. Snow cover still pretty sparse for a ways, but for some reason I felt I should be wearing my spikes. After about an hour I got pretty sick of having to find stumps or exposed rocks to kick off the clumps of snow so I said screw it and took the damned things off. Got to some steeper terrain but the snow was as sticky so I left all traction in my pack.

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Still winter at elevation
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But signs of spring abound
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And then you get right back to winter
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And then I hit this spot. Probably close to 4000' where it seemed a sudden change back to full on winter with no signs of spring in the woods
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Pretty cool undercast (but not as cool as Bob C's on Pierce) :wink:
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My eventual objective
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The last 1/2 mile approaching this point kicked. my. a**. I've never hiked Madison in winter conditions. That section is one I would definitely have used snowshoes on, had I been carrying them with me. But in all the hiking I have done this winter I have used my snowshoes for only about a half mile of travel. In the greater majority of the trs I have read, very few others have written of using snowshoes so I didn't even consider bringing them. Lesson learned.

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When I finally dragged my a** up to the hut, I knew I would not have enough time to get to Adams. I had a turnaround time of 1:00 and there was no way I wanted to have to hustle along to try to make that deadline. Madison alone it was to be.

Above the hut, enroute to Madison's summit
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A peak north
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A look over at Adams with the hut below me
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Like walking on the moon. Ok. I've never walked on the moon but that's what I was thinking as I gasped my way past the cairns.
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More rime
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The summit seemed to be moving farther away - my legs were fried at this point. Sheer will and perseverance got me to the summit proper.
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Interesting perspective. I've never seen the rime curved as this was
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Left this little guy alongside the trail
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The waning light as I hiked out
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Snyder Brook
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All in all a stellar hike. An excellent workout along the Valley Way without being distracted by anything like those pesky views found on other routes. Saw only three other humans all day. Oh. In case anyone is wondering I was told Airline is in great condition with very little snow or ice. Just might have to revisit there this coming weekend. Unless of course I am on Pierce. :wink:

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Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:41 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:40 pm
Posts: 1664
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 Re: Madison
Outstanding rime!


Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:11 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3733
Location: Newmarket, NH
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 Re: Madison
Great report, even doing just Madison is impressive in the winter (even when it's a warm winter like this). I haven't done any of the northern Presis in winter. I finished on Madison in June 2009 for my any-season 48s, and didn't return to it until last summer. I remember thinking how long that section from the hut to the summit felt this last time. It's only a half-mile but it feels longer, and I imagine it feels much, much longer in the snow!

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Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:07 am
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
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 Re: Madison
Great pics. Wind must have really been swirling to make the rime curved like that. Snyder Brook looks like a lions face to me. Maybe I've just seen too many Disney movies with the kids. I haven't needed my snowshoes at all this winter and definitely wouldn't have brought mine either. Hate when that happens. But way to go getting off your beaten path. Looks like you got a great day to head up into the alpine zone. I guess you're going to have to do some bigger hikes than Pierce, Hale, Tecumseh etc if you don't want to be sucking wind on the big guys! :D


Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:23 pm
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