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Trip to North Doublehead 3053’ 2/2/02
and South Doublehead 2939’

2.8 miles 1700’ Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma

Staying at the Swiss Chalets in Intervale on our annual “Kevin’s Birthday Trip”, the short trip into Jackson to climb the "Doubleheads" was an obvious choice for a winter climb. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We had crystal clear skies, the kind I’m not used to from growing up near Boston. The kind of skies that only the super cold arctic air coming down from Canada can bring, where every speck of air pollution has frozen and dropped to the ground, and the shear cold is what makes your lungs ache. Well, we had these conditions. When we started out the 7am temp was about 10 below and there was some of that arctic air still moving around at some very good clips. All the rising morning sun accomplished was to illuminate the ice covered trees, not a drop was melting, even our breath froze to our faces. True mountain cold! It’s a relatively easy climb to the summit of North Doublehead where I was surprised to find an AMC cabin. If I had studied my guide I wouldn’t have been surprised. A couple of guys stayed there the night before. You have to make reservations and pack in all your own stuff, including firewood. Information is on their website. From here there is a filtered view north of Mount Washington, basically looking right into Huntington Ravine, but it is obscured by clouds at the moment and we opt to roam around the summit taking in views to the south and east. The trees are sugarfrosted and the sun is doing it’s job to show off all the icy highlights as each evergreen needle became a gleaming shaft of light. Transfixed by the surrounding beauty,the temperature although not rising, seems more tolerable. Emma was in her element in the frigid cold. Able to walk on top of the frozen snow she had her usual grand time, skidding down inclines at breakneck speed with her built in all-wheel drive. On the trail down into the col between the “Heads” there is a side path we may have missed if those two guys weren’t up there making tracks for us to follow. Down it we went, where we met up with these guys again, with one of the most splendid views of the White Mountains I have seen laid out before us. Left to right, Boott Spur, Mount Washington’ summit with Lion’s head directly below. Raymond Cataract and Huntington Ravine, then Mount Adams and Pinkham Notch. The Wildcats with the saddle form of Carter Notch dipping then climbing Carter Dome on the opposite side with the other Carters marching off to the north. Truly awesome. There may be higher, more incredible mountains in the world, but I don’t know any, and they’re not a 3 hour drive from my house, either. My writing can’t touch what I want to describe, that’s why I take pictures. From here we continued the climb to South Doublehead, enjoying great views in and around more sugarfrosted trees. The veritable “Winter Wonderland” you’ve heard tell of. The climb down the New Path was a little steep and I was glad we didn’t climb up that way, but then, I always feel that it is steeper coming down than I remember going up even when I’m on the same trail. I wonder if other’s get that same feeling? Back down now, I soon remember why we stayed at the Swiss Chalets: a fireplace and hottub in the room to thaw our frozen asses!
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