I'm Long time T4T creeper, but a newbie as a contributor.
Here are some pics from my solo day trip up Mt. Moosilauke this past Wednesday, Feb. 15th. I had never been on Moosilauke before, summer or winter, so I was looking forward to experiencing something new.
Gear used was my heavy alpine setup:
Skis: 186 Scott Dozers
Boots: Lange RX130s
Skins: G3 Alpinist
Car ride up: trusty '96 4Runner with 224k miles
Leaving Boston at 6:30am got me to the gate off 118 on the Ravine Lodge Rd. as the only car at 9am and started my skin up at 9:10am.
I had no idea what the snow pack would be like down low, but was pleased with the cover on the road. The weather was ridiculously pleasant. My mid-layer came off within 10 minutes, and I went the rest of the way up with no gloves and just my base layer on top.
Dozers n Dukes..
I made it to the Dartmouth lodges, the summer trail head I suppose, in about 40 minutes and signed the registry which hadn't been signed for few days. This is also when I realized I had left the delicious lunch I'd prepared the night before on the counter in my Boston apt... Good thing I always keep a Nature Valley bar packed as back up... ha.
From the trail head my plan was to go up the Snapper trail to the Carriage Road Trail to the Summit, then take the Gorge Brook Trail on the way down.
While snowpack is totally decent up there, it was definitely dust on crust. About half to an inch in spots of really soft stuff on top of super hard ice and snow. It also looked like it had been very windy in recent days. I spent a good amount of time sweeping downed limbs and branches off the snow in front of my skis with my poles.
Lower Snapper... You can tell no one had been up here in a few days..
Some company around somewhere...
End of the snapper, on to the Carriage Rd...
Carriage Rd. Great views all morning!
Reeeeeally pissed off about forgetting my lunch on the counter in Boston at this point...
Finally some summit views
Good views of the Franconia Ridge and such.
View from South Peak. Meeting up with the AT on the ridge line was the first time I encountered any other people tracks other than my own. I saw a small group of people with snow shoes and crampons near the summit. It started getting a bit darker, as some weather seemed to be moving in.
Looking back towards South Peak
I'm a sucker for a good frozen cairn
Crappy summit pano...
As I started transitioning into downhill mode and ate my crappy Nature Valley Bar lunch, I got pretty darn cold. I mentioned before, I decided not to ski down the way I came up. While it seems that the traditional route I'd heard about was to go up the Gorge then down the Carriage/Snapper, I read some trip report from some other dude earlier this winter suggesting that it would be better to do it the other way around (which is what I did)...I'm not sure he's right about that. After skiing down the bald summit fields, the Gorge Brook was very narrow and bobsled-like. The Carriage Road is fairly wide in comparison to the Snapper and Gorge Brook, but on this day the snow underneath the soft stuff was so rock solid that it probably made no difference which direction I did the loop in terms of the quality of skiing.
I didn't take too many pictures on the way down the Gorge Brook Trail, as the skiing was really survival skiing; I was a little more focused on trying not to slam into the trees that the tips of my skis seemed to keep heading for like magnets. In many spots the trail was barely wider than the length of my skis.
Heading down, back to treeline..
Starting to snow pretty good...
The Moose behind me as I started down the Gorge Brook
Last view of the summit before diving back into tree cover
Skis had to come off a couple of times to get over some stream crossings. Also, once back to the Ravine Lodge, there's a bit of uphill to tackle to get back on the road. It took me a solid 45minutes to ski all the way back to my car, which was still the only one parked at the gate.
This trip was a blast! Good weather, great views, and no signs of other people (except for a few short minutes at the summit) made for a really enjoyable day in the mountains. I will honestly say that the skin up was the best part for me. Being able to ski down was just icing on the cake.
Oh, and Truants for a few beers and a heaping pile of nachos was great motivation to make haste on the way down! Can't wait to get back up to the Whites ASAP!