Backup Daytrip in the Northern Presidentials

Josh Bradshaw (B coC), Osman Ahsen (C)
Winter School
Trip level
Trip date
Sunday, January 16th, 2022
Difficulty rating
Previous above treeline winter hiking experience

NOTE: This trip is changed to a Sunday daytrip of Mt. Adams+Madison because of weather conditions on Monday.

We will take Airline trail to Mt. Adams, then head to Mt. Madison via the Gulfside trail and then head back to the Appalachian trailhead via the Valley Way trail. ~11 miles and ~5,500ft of elevation gain. We will be above treeline for 4-5 miles and it will be a great practice of above treeline travel with crampons, ice axe and full face coverage.

You should be in very good physical shape given the distance and elevation gain of the hike.

Please ignore the text below, as it belongs to the awesome trip we sadly couldn't do.

This trip is becoming a MITOC tradition in its sixth year! Join us on an overnight, above treeline, two day long tour of the best of the Northern Presidentials. We will depart Boston very early (like 4am) on Sunday, spend Sunday night at the RMC Gray Knob Cabin, and return Monday night. The total distance hiked over both days will be 18-20 miles, with 7,300’ of elevation gain. Excellent physical fitness and love of adventure required!

In accordance with the Gray Knob capacity limits for the cabin, this trip is limited to 6 participants.

The hike On Sunday we will start at the Appalachia trailhead and hike ~3 miles with 3000’ of elevation gain to Gray Knob. After we claim our spots in the cabin we will evaluate conditions and hike either Mt Adams (5,395’) or Mt Jefferson (5,712’), with the possible addition of Mt Madison to either of these, for an additional 4.5-5.5 miles and 2200’ of elevation gain. We will return to the cabin for a delicious backcountry dinner and plenty of bad jokes and good stories. On Sunday we will hike whichever peak we did not choose on Sunday, again for 4.5-5.5 miles and about 2200’ of gain, and then hike out from Crag Camp back down to Appalachia, reversing our initial ~3 mi and 3000’ hike in. This is a strenuous two day route and requires endurance and efficiency. We will practice using crampons, self arrest techniques with ice axes, and cooking on backcountry stoves. Here is a map.

The cabin

There are two cabins in the area, Gray Knob and Crag Camp. One is heated and one is not. We will be racing to get spots in the heated cabin, which is only accepting 10 people at a time this year. We will need to be prepared to stay in the unheated cabin if this does not work out. Staying in the cabin costs $25/person. Bring cash.


See the gear list. We will be carrying everything required for a C level trip, and an overnight. Expect to carry at least 25 pounds on the three mile approach to the cabin. Participants should bring as many pairs of goggles as they can acquire. In addition to the listed gear, a very warm parka/belay jacket is strongly recommended.


The forecast for this weekend is extremely cold. We could potentially be dealing with temperatures that are consistently below 0F. If the weather plays out as the forecast says, then we may need to modify our trip plan. Participants should prepare for the extreme temperatures, paying particular attention to their footwear, mittens and face coverings. Plan on bringing your boots mittens and outerwear to the pre-trip meeting so that we can ensure that they're adequate and supplement your gear as required.

Note 1: Given the difficulty of the hike and the forecasted weather conditions we will be very selective of the participants for this trip. Winning the lottery does not guarantee a spot for this trip.


first-come, first-serve
Maximum participants
Signups opened at
Jan. 12, 2022, noon
Signups closed at
Jan. 13, 2022, 11:59 p.m.
  1. Please briefly describe your above-treeline winter hiking experience.
  2. Please briefly describe the hardest outdoor adventure that you've undertaken.
Signups for this trip are closed.