Saturday, January 5, 2019
Start/End: Giant Mountain trailhead
Elevation gain/loss: 4348′
After settling into my Airbnb room on Friday night, I was up at 6am on Saturday morning and on the road by 6:45am. I arrived at the trailhead, packed up my bag, put on my snowshoes, and headed out by 7:30am. It was overcast and in the mid 20s when I started, with the day’s high in the upper 30s with sunny skies. There were 4 people starting on trail at the same time I was, though I quickly outpaced them.
The trail began climbing almost immediately, though for the first mile or so, it did utilize some switchbacks. The trail was well-trafficked and firmly packed down, so the snowshoes weren’t needed. After 2-1/2 hours of climbing, I reached the summit of Giant mountain.
I took a short break to drink some hot tea and eat some hot breakfast cereal, and then I pushed onward on East Trail towards Rocky Ridge Peak (RPR). This section was clearly less trafficked than Ridge and Roaring Brook Trails up to Giant. The trail was loose and unpacked, and some of the downhill sections were steep and treacherously icy. The grade to the summit wasn’t as steep as the trail to Giant, so I was able to hike faster and with fewer breaks. I arrived at the summit without incident, took some fabulous pictures, and then headed back towards Giant.
On my way back up to Giant, two people who started at the same time as me passed by on their way to RPR. On the horribly steep climb back up to Giant, I slipped and fell on one of the steep, icy sections (even while wearing microspikes), getting covered in snow though I was uninjured.
After I intersected with the Ridge Trail up Giant again, I headed back down the way I’d come. I passed by the other two people who started at the same time as me as they descended, as well as another half a dozen people who were heading up the trail. I arrived back at my car right around 2pm. I packed up the car with my gear and headed back to my Airbnb for a shower before I went out to dinner at the Big Slide Brewery!