Saturday, November 12, 2022
Start: Mt Sunapee
End: Mt Monadnock
Miles: 47.79 (+4.58 for approach and descent)
Elevation gain: 10,656′ (+1627′ for approach and descent)
Total time elapsed: 16:46:43
After meeting up at the Monadnock headquarters with my friend Justin, we found our reserved campsite among the all-season group sites and then huddled under a tarp strung between our cars, hiding from the torrential rain. After dinner, we made an early evening of it and slept in our cars to stay dry. We were up at 3:30am, and headed out by 4am to drive the 1.25 hours to the start of the MSG access trail by the Sunapee ski resort. We grabbed our gear, put on raincoats, and began our 1500’+ climb to the start of the MSG. We arrived at the summit just a few minutes shy of sunrise and started our watches at 6:37am.
The first half of the trail was more technical, with more rocks, roots, and shin-deep oak leaves (often hiding pools of water). Most of the trail was saturated with rain water, with lots of standing water. While this helped with water sources, it also soaked our feet and slowed us down. We struggled with moisture management for the entire trip since it was frequently raining, but it was worth the effort of layers on and off to prevent both hypothermia and chafing.
Sundown came remarkably quickly and we hadn’t gotten as far as we’d hoped. We both had headlamps and waistlamps, though we hadn’t anticipated exactly how long it would take us so we struggled with batteries dying and having more limited light by which to navigate. We also didn’t have enough calories, and had to ration what we brought for the last 5-6 hours. The final climb up Monadnock was tough, but I’ve ascended it often enough I felt envigorated to know the summit was close and lead the way by our fading lights. My friend had never summited Monadnock and did not know just how hard the climb would be, so they were struggling the whole way.
We started from the summit of Mt Sunapee at 6:37am and made it to the summit of Mt Monadnock by 11:23pm for a total time of 16 hours 46 minutes. We took a few pictures but didn’t linger on the chilly summit; we methodically followed white cross down to the parking lot, taking time to make sure we didn’t get hurt on the descend due to our tired legs on the very technical terrain. Every rock slab was wet, often with running water, so it was a matter of pride that we made the bottom without any falls around 1am. We then walked the 0.2mi back to our campsite, where we enthusiastically ate a late meal and then went to bed, eager for sleep.