Hiking Trails on Mt. Monadnock--The Summit
If you come up the south face trails, you're going to end your climb with a hundred yards or so of fairly steep climbing over barren rock faces. Some people find they need help from their hands and from fellow hikers, though physically anyone who has made it this far should be able to make it to the top. Those hikers with a fear of heights may not continue, though. With nothing but rock, the slopes are a little too naked for some of us.
While not achieving the summit, anyone who stops below the peak will still be rewarded by fantastic scenery. The intrepid climbers who reach the top get 360 degrees of beautiful New England landscape stretched out before them. On clear days, Boston is readily visible on the southeast horizon (it's actually easier to see without polarizing sunglasses than with them, in some conditions). Mount Washington can be seen to the northeast. The Green Mountains and the Berkshires are easily within view, and Mt. Wachusett to the south is obvious. Can you see New York? I think so. Maine and Connecticut are also visible, but it takes a very keen eye and a good horizon map to locate the couple low summits found in Rhode Island that are just barely peeking over the horizon.Many climbers are surprised by the forest land spread out before them. I've heard people liken it to a green sea! One hiker claimed that he'd read that there are more BTUs in the New England forest than in all the oil of the Middle East. In the fall, the sea changes to gold and red.
The peak is likely to be breezy, which can be refreshing after the long climb. (The prevailing winds are from the west or northwest, and those of us climbing the south or southeastern slopes don't get a lot of natural air conditioning on the way up.) There is no cover, so on hot, still days you can find it uncomfortably warm, but usually it's pretty nice. On the other hand, on cooler days the breeze can become uncomfortably cool once you've recovered from the ascent; a light windbreaker can be appreciated. (If it's a very cool day to begin with, you may need more than a windbreaker.) Once you've caught your breath and looked around, take a half hour or so for lunch, then begin your climb down the mountain.
When the weather is good you're likely to find that the peak is a crowded place. Often, people comment that it's like being at the beach. Standing room is the norm, though many people manage to find a place to stretch out and nap for a while, talk with friends, or even make out a little bit.Return to Introduction to Mt. Monadnock
Return to previous page of Hiking Trails on Mt. Monadnock--Pumpelly
Return to next page of Hiking Trails on Mt. Monadnock--Marlboro
Return to Wayne Brink's Esoterica
Last update and copyright © 31 July 1998 by Wayne Brink, email: