The expanses of open snow increased as fields of snow-covered tree tips gradually diminished. We entered a hollow -- almost a shallow little canyon, and it was here that we first started to feel the stirrings of a wintry wind. From here the snowshoe track traversed up more steeply into an area that looked much more hard-surfaced. Both were signs that indicated a need for increased protection from the elements. We stopped here and put on extra layers and face coverings.
A soon was we ascended out of the little hollow, we were exposed to a surprisingly strong wind. What had seemed like a balmy, sunny midwinter day now felt a lot colder, and a lot more serious. The hat I had put on threatened to blow away, and the dull ache of cold on my forehead signaled that I had not put on enough protective clothing.
Not feeling like manipulating my gear while exposed to the wind, I decided to hop over the crest of the broad ridge we were on, dropping into the large bowl of soft snow that we had seen from below. As soon as we dropped over the crest, the wind stopped almost completely. In the relative calm, Andy and I put on full outerwear and battened everything down good. For some reason, Jenn did her changing back up in the wind. In any case, we were now ready for the final climb to the top.
Bright Sun and Haystack Mountain
Arriving at Marcy's summit
The final couple of hundred feet had a few steep spots that, while technically still snow, were not that far off from being classified as ice. Snowshoes were still sufficient on this very hard snowpack, though, and we did not need to break out the crampons or the ice ax. Just, though. At about twenty-five minutes past noon, we arrived on Marcy's windblown summit.
Andy and Andrew on summit
We had a beautiful clear 360 degree view of the entire central High Peaks region. It was certainly the best viewing conditions I had ever encountered on a climb of Mt Marcy.
As beautiful as it was on the summit, it was a little chilly. We spent ten minutes or so taking it in, then decided to head back down. We had made such good time (up to this point at least) that it looked like there was a decent shot that at making it back down and back to Ottawa in time for Andy to make a social commitment for later that evening. In order to realize that goal, though, we needed to make as good time back down as we had made coming up.
Mt Marcy Summit shot - Andy
Mt Marcy Summit shot - Jenn
Mt Marcy Summit shot - Andrew