Here is the short report. My connection is slow, my patience is short, my
body is stinky, and I have probably slept 6 hours in the past 72.

Jim B, Matt K, Rich R and I rendezvoused at Lowe's store 9:30 Fri.
Proceeded to Appalachia to hike Air-Line-Short Line-Randolph-Spr to Crag
Camp. Last 0.8 miles were NOT 0.8 miles (maybe for a bird). Arrived
1-1:20ish, dropped packs, ate lunch, and booted to summit in an hour and a
half or so. Dropped into the vast cliff strewn abyss that is King Ravine
at 5 or so via the aptly named Great Gully. 1200 joyous corn filled
vertical feet later we hit bottom and thrashed through the appalachian
version of Hell to join King Ravine Trail. Scrambled back up some 1600
verts to Thunderstorm Junction at the ripe hour of 8 or so, then linked
snowpatches to near treeline and Spur Trail back to camp. Slept, or at
least tried to, while a drunken party raged in the hut.

Sat. Ambitions not fully squelched by the previous days' 6000+ foot
climb-a-thon we embarked along Gray Knob Trail toward Jefferson to bag
snowfields leading from it into Jeff Ravine. Arrive Edmands Col noonish
and hit summit soon thereafter. Curse annying train whistle and head down
Six Husbands to top of snow about 250 feet below. Ski another 1200 or so
perfect verts down a virgin snowfield that rolled over a crevassed ridge
into the most inaccessible ravine in the Presidentials, Jefferson Ravine.
I just had to sign the headwall and traversed through diverse shrubbery to
arc 6 or 7 GS turns on it then scramble back up rock slides and Ben's well
made boot ladder.

Stumble, slip, and slide, across Edmands Cutoff to the Col, where weather
showed signs of souring. Made decision to high tail it for Thunderstorm
Jct to hit snowfield and fast way to hut. Jim begins own adventure down
Raymond Path. We set out on the very exposed Gulfside.  Make it .5 mi
before my helmet starts making weird buzzing noise and my hair stands up
on the back of my neck. Scream in terror, drop skis and poles, and run for
nearest shrubbery. 10 min later storm passes and we hightail it for the
top before the next one rolls in. It is upon us as we stand atop Sam
Adams, on snow, waiting for Rich. He appears and we signal that we are
going down now, as it is now every man for himself. Abandon Ship.

Black clouds boil over the ridge as we race toward treeline with reckless
abandon. I wait at sheltered intersection for Rich. Matt and Ben descend
further. 2 min later a giant arm of mist shoots up King Ravine, swallows
the Adams summit, and then us. We are socked in. 10 min later Rich appears
and we contnue through thick fog along snowfields to a short bushwhack and
the Spur Trail near treeline. All are cold and wet by this time and Ben
and Matt are on their own, but we are below treeline. Safe.  Get to the
hut, abuzz with activity, 10 min later and warm up. Jim appears an hour or
two later after getting stonewalled by avi debris on Randolph Path and
deceides to spend the night. It is a long one, and ends with someone
playing the organ around 5:00 am.

Today we all hiked out, exhausted, content, but never finished.
The season only ends when you let it. As far as I'm concerned this season
started in Oct 99 and continues to this day, 20 months later. It
really is an Endless Winter.


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