Another mountain that I’d narrowly missed climbing in my time in New Hampshire the winter of 2014-15 was Mount Willey. Most people usually bundle it together with Mounts Tom and Field, and that was my original plan, but we turned back early. This time I decided to come up the other side of Willey to make the hike shorter.
I started from the Ethan Pond Trail in microspikes. Temps were in the 20s and snow was a few inches deep at the beginning. It was a nice, gradual climb and I quickly reached the junction with the Willey Range Trail.
From there, the trail started to get steeper. I thought it was really steep when I climbed a ton of steps built into the trail, but I found out it got even steeper when I came to a series of 10 or 11 ladders! I definitely was not expecting those.
Once the ladders were over, I kept expecting the summit to be just around the corner. Every time I crested a rise, I was annoyed to still have more trail laid out before me. While I had gotten down to my base layer on the climb up, I had to start adding layers back as I got higher and it got colder and windier. Eventually, I made it to the top and the little summit cairn there at 4285′.
I took a quick side trail just below the summit to a view of Webster Cliffs with Mount Washington in the background. Then I added even more layers and started back the way I’d come.
The way down went much faster, except for the ladders, and I had to slow myself down lest I finish too early and have to wait around too long before my dinner plans. Back on the Ethan Pond Trail, I slowly strolled out to my car.