Happy to have been able to spend time on Mount Haystack with Alan a few weeks ago. Back in early 2020, I attempted a Great Range traverse in icy conditions starting from Rooster Comb but progress was too slow with only a mountaineering axe to climb sections of steep, exposed ice features. By day 3 when I reached Little Haystack, I was pinned down by unrelenting wind and made the decision to turn back.
This time around, the plan was to do the traverse starting with the Haystacks via the Phelps trail after setting up our first camp at Sno-Bird. The mountain weather was a bit more accommodating for our brief visit this time around but it was Alan’s first time experiencing the ferocity of above-treeline conditions. A little uncertain knowing that the other peaks will be a bit more technical, we returned to camp afterwards to figure out how and whether to update our plans. It must’ve been quite the shock because Alan ended up mostly sleeping from 2pm to 5a, waking up only for dinner at 5pm and breakfast at midnight!
After day broke, we made the conservative choice to exit the way we came in. Will have to save the full Great Range traverse for another winter trip!