Climbing Mount Monodnock

Climbing 1800 feet in under an hour may not seem like your idea of a great Saturday, but 50-odd HBS students, including yours truly, did just that on the Outdoor Club’s first hike of the season at Mount Monodnock last weekend.

Greeting each other with bleary, sleepy eyes wearied by the adventures of the night before and relying on limited hours of sleep, we smiled appreciatively at the dawning blue, sunny skies. We looked forward to a warm, relaxing and invigorating afternoon hike ahead.

Three bus hours and one critical McDonalds stop later, our team stood at the base of Mt. Monodnock, adjusted our back-packs, checked our water supplies, and wondered if the now clouding skies would result in a highly inconvenient rain instead. Despite these concerns, we HBS hikers marched on, fearlessly scrambling over rocks, branches, and fallen tress and ascending what seemed like a 90 degree incline. Soon we were shedding our stylish layers, wiping the sweat from our brows, and hoping to soon reach the summit where we would enjoy the spectacular view at the top of Mt. Monodnock we had been promised.

Alas, as our team neared the peak, the cloudy skies darkened while a thick fog engulfed our team. All the warming layers previously discarded were rapidly reapplied. Marching on, we were soon faced with our own “Parable of the Sadhu” as half of our team followed the wrong path, quickly losing each other in the thick fog. I am proud to report that no HBS hiker was left behind, but rather many loud calls reaching through the fog and great crisis-control by our tireless trip leader (Thank you Will!), resulted in a once-again-unified team with renewed determination to make it to the top together.

Thirty minutes later, the entire HBS Outdoors hiking team emerged at the top of Mt. Monodnock to enjoy a brilliant celebratory lunch, albeit a tad chilly. (See attached photo for close-up of freezing hikers)
The hike back down proved less eventful, although the steep and rocky terrain did liven the afternoon as we encountered more than a few “near misses” when wet sneakers met slippery rocks. Lots of helpful hands and the eventual acquiescence to a slightly less-than-graceful glissade (i.e.” sliding on our rear-ends”) provided the necessary (and dependable) assistance to avoid broken bones and sprained ankles, and made it all the more the adventure.

All said, the first hike of the season proved that the Outdoors Club is a fearless lot, willing to brave all levels of weather, rocky terrain, and dangerous rescue missions to uphold HBS’s strong tradition of having a great time in the outdoors. Here’s to sunny skies the next time!