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 Jackson / Pierce 
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:12 pm
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 Jackson / Pierce
I've been hearing these are too hard for novices (able-bodied, 30yrs old) to do at this time of year without special equipment. Is that true?


Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:14 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm
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Location: Edge City
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
Pierce is a fairly tame hike, sheltered most of the way except for the last 1/4 mile. That last section is above treeline and is fully exposed to the weather.

Jackson is a rough (terrain) hike, with several scrambles up the summit cone, including one steep pitch just before the summit.

I would be thinking winter gear at this point. Ice is starting to form, which can make ledges and scrambles tricky until there's a deep snow cover. I once had to turn back at that last steep pitch on Jackson due to ice. I'd recommend carrying light traction (microspikes, Hillsounds) even you don't end up using it. Better to have it anyway just in case.

Gear is important, but probably more important is keeping an eye on weather and conditions, and knowing when not to go.

If you are new to winter hiking, I would recommend starting on smaller peaks or even with a guide or someone else with experience. Mt. Willard in Crawford Notch is an excellent beginner winter peak. Easy to moderate grades all the way, short, sheltered, and a good payoff in the views dept.


Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:27 pm
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
Thanks for that info.

I think Pierce will be the way to go. Weather is going to be very cold, 20s without the 30mph winds. If it gets too bad, we'll just turn back. Sounds like some traction is needed so we'll do that too.


Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:44 pm
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
When are you planning to go?


Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:46 pm
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
This weekend sometime.


Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:46 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm
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Location: Edge City
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
Here's a recent trail conditions report for Pierce (and Eisenhower) from two days ago that might be helpful:
http://www.newenglandtrailconditions.co ... ryid=23250


Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:49 pm
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
My first winter hike was Pierce. I don't think there's really much to it, or Jackson either for that matter for an able bodied 30 year old who is properly equipped. That's the key. Id say it's a good first choice actually. Only the summits poke out of the trees, but could give you a chance to try out some layers and gear for a few moments in the windchill, assuming it's blowing. The last ledge on Jackson could be a problem if icy. Both are extremely well travelled too so route finding should be no issue. If doing both id go up Jackson to get the ledge out of the way unless you are sure it's ice free. The trail between them is pretty tame and in the trees. Biggest risk there is being bored to death I think. Give it a shot. Then you'll know what your able body is capable of as a starting point for winter hiking. Worst that happens is you turn around and try again some other day. You're no more likely to have issues there than any other mid sized hike. For something similar in difficulty without the possible problem ledge Mt. Tom right across the street would make a nice into to winter hike too.


Thu Nov 12, 2015 3:15 pm
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:12 pm
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
When you say 'properly-equipped', you mean traction, right? Or is there something else (besides clothing I mean)?


Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:44 pm
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
Traction and appropriate clothing pretty much sums it up. That's about all you need in winter, it's just a matter of to what degree. If you're going way above treeline or out in extreme conditions you might want emergency overnight gear too.


Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:36 pm
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
Any recommendations for some legwear I can just put on over my jeans that will keep me warm in those temps? Will any ski pants do?


Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:36 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:40 pm
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
No jeans. They could get wet and you'd be damn miserable (or worse!). I am 58 and cold phobic - here is what I wear in winter. Long underwear, my hiking pants, and my rain pants over that. My 30 year old daughter wears ski pants. The coldest we have out is in the teens and 20s. Mt. Tom (which one of the guys suggested for you) was our first winter summit. I froze my butt off on the side of 302 and questioned my sanity. It was windy and exposed on the side of the road. As soon as I got in the woods I heated right up. But on top of Tom I thought I was going to freeze to death. Wind is the operative word here.

A word about Jackson. I have not climbed Jackson in the winter, but we did it in a huge spring mess, which may have actually been worse. And I'm probably old enough to be your mother. What I'm trying to say is that if I can do it, you probably can as well. The important thing is, listen to these gentlemen above, who have about 100x more winter experience than me! Dress properly (not just temp but wind as well) and remember your traction.


Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:37 pm
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
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Location: south of the notches
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
Check out my tr for Pierce last Monday, just posted. You'll find similar conditions on Jackson.

I would echo the concern about jeans, or any other cotton clothing. You'd be better served with just ski pants, or a cheap thermal layer beneath ski pants but stay away from cotton. I wore my thin nylon hiking pants with a pair of thermal Under Armour type shorts beneath. Long thermal pants would have been overkill for me and I am generally colder than others. Temp Monday was in the 20s to start, rather brisk at summit with windchill bringing things down a bit. Hat, top layers (thin sleeveless wicking base, long sleeve thicker wicking next layer, fleece, wind breaker. Had a down pullover but never used it. Did wear my liner gloves and mittens, on and off. Thin hat, had my wool as backup.

I did end up using my spikes. I could certainly have made it without, but also certainly felt more comfortable with them on over the many icy sections.

Assuming you'd be going in from 302, up Jackson, across to Mizpah then up Pierce and down Crawford Path.

I'm almost twice your age so that isn't a factor. Your comfort level in the woods in changeable conditions coupled with your layering and gear and hiking speed and the forecast are what you should be considering.

Be safe out there. Hit the trail early.

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Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:52 pm
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Flatfoot
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
Well... we did it. 3.5 hrs up, 2 down. I was expecting a cleared path you walk up. Not sure why the trail is populated with so many rocks. Right near the top as you break thru the trees you could see the wind and snow moving pretty good. Out at the summit it was very windy and snowy with little visibility. Overall not bad. My legs are feeling it today though.


Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:32 pm
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Location: south of the notches
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
outdoor1 wrote:
Well... we did it. My legs are feeling it today though.


Stretch. And don't stop moving. And congratulations. Crazy, huh?

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Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:04 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm
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Location: Edge City
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 Re: Jackson / Pierce
outdoor1 wrote:
I was expecting a cleared path you walk up. Not sure why the trail is populated with so many rocks.

Yeah, Jackson has some pretty rough footing. Welcome to the Whites! 8) It's actually better in winter as all those rocks and boulders are covered in deep snow.


Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:05 pm
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