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No picnic on Mt Frissell 1-24-04

January 25 2004 at 8:17 AM
DickMc 


Response to Frissell - South Slope, Connecticut (2,380 feet)

 
The temperature was about 8F as I left my truck in the AMC lot at 1230 and headed for the trailhead. I drove in from the north, which was a good thing as the road from CT is closed in winter and blocked with a couple of Yugo-sized boulders. There were no tracks in the snow on the trail, and the laurel bushes hung low from the weight of the ice on the branches. I bobbed and wove my way up the trail to where it starts to get steep, and that is where I learned that the 6 inches of powder covered a thin coating of ice on the rocks. I kept following the red blazes on the trees, had several "How am I going to get up THAT" moments, and slipped, slid, and crawled my way well up the flanks of Round Mt. As the trees disappeared, so did the red blazes, but there was a set of coyote tracks following the trail and I followed these, forgetting for the moment that Coyote is the Trickster.
I made it across the top of Round and down to the saddle, but missed a turn somewhere and followed the wrong set of red blazes (I think). I started clawing my way up Mt Frissell, literally pulling myself from branch to tree to root in a couple places. The coyote tracks disappeared, just stopped. There was very little purchase on the rocks because of the underlying ice. Looking behind me, I saw that I was well above the top of Round Mt and figured I was on the Frissell summit trail, which proved to be the case. I reached a 'T' at the top, hung a left, and started down what I hoped was the trail. I got to the highpoint cairn 90 minutes after I started, took the obligatory pictures, and started back. I couldn't see anywhere that another trail branched off so I retraced my steps to the top and went a few steps farther down the other part of the 'T' to the summit register for Frissell, hanging in a tree in a metal box. The last entry was 1-4-04 and talked of an "easy hike up, no snow, about 40 degrees". I made my entry, that CT was my 31st HP, noted the less favorable conditions, and headed down.
I lost count of the number of times that I fell. Let's just say it was dozens. I made a number of barely controlled glissades, controlled only in that I managed to keep my feet heading downslope. I also made a couple that were less controlled. Looking back up in a couple of spots, I saw that my butt had swept the snow off the rock, revealing the red blazes painted there. I was happy, sweaty, and wet when I reached the level stuff again. The round trip took a little over 2.5 hours.

 
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