Mount Jefferson, NH 1-31-2015

When I moved to New Hampshire six years ago and became aware of Mount Jefferson, I immediately began to wonder if it was skiable. As I settled in and got to know a few people in the community, I'd ask around if anyone had ever skied it. The typical response was, maybe some cross country skiing in the flat lands to the north of the Mountain, but definitely no downhill attempts that anyone recalled.

After several reconnaissance missions during the summer seasons, I announced plans last summer for a first decent down the South Face of Jeff. All whom I spoke to concerning this desire expressed tremendous doubt. I was told, "That pitch and that exposure? You would need historic amounts of snow to even consider it." I would not let the naysayers deter me.

Fast forward to this winter and it was looking like the season would pass me by with no chance at summiting and descending Mount Jeff. However, just like that, Mother Nature this week delivered the historic snowfall needed and I began hatching a plan. Today would be the day.

A little after 4PM I reached the trail head with the summit looming in the background.

I began my ascent around the perimeter. I have a set of Marker Dukes and released the heels and made my attempt at skinning (without skins). I was a clumsy fool moving along the trail often heading backwards. It was clear I would not make the summit until dawn if I didn't employ other tactics. I removed the skis and would hike straight up the fall line. One problem? My Dukes were jammed with snow. I couldn't for the life of me get them to latch back down. I was melting down like a petulant child. My dreams were going to be shattered because of an equipment malfunction!! (read: me being an idiot and not knowing how to use my equipment). A had to swing my skis like a baseball bat against an adjacent tree to free the snow to allow the heels to lock down. With the bindings re-positioned for the descent, I hoisted my skis on my shoulder and trudged forward.

At approximately 4:35PM I finally reached the summit. The sun was setting over the coastal mountains in the distance.

I stopped and admired the view while catching my breath. I don't know if it was the altitude of being 210 feet above sea level or the 210 pounds of force my body was exerting on the ground below, but my lungs were burning. There would only be one attempt today, so I had to make my run a good one.

I clicked in and looked off in the distance as the slope dropped precipitously out of sight below.

The trees came at me fast and furious, but they were spaced perfectly. Not a sound below my feet as the coverage was perfect. When I reached the bottom I looked back and admired the sea saltwater kissed powder turns I just laid down.

I reached my car to head home at 4:46 PM as the Moon began to rise over the NH Seacoast. I was happy.......a dream realized.

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