Friday, January 20, 2012
WELCH MOUNTAIN LEDGE: 1/19/12
A gorgeous winter day, sunny, twentyish, and light winds. A good day for a short hike up to the first open ledge on the south shoulder of Welch Mountain near Waterville Valley.
I was surprised to find an empty (and well-sanded) parking lot on such a nice day.
A familiar trail sign.
The brook crossing a short way in on the Welch side of the loop was fairly well-frozen.
The trail was a sidewalk of crusty snow - perfect for Microspiking.
This was the only nasty ice flow on the way up to the ledge. Thought there'd be more of this.
A trailside look at the nameless brook that drains the Dickey-Welch bowl.
Neat boulder beside the trail.
Where the trail makes a right turn at about 0.9 mi., the cliffs on the SW ridge of Dickey can be seen up through the trees.
Tread lightly on the ledges.
The final approach to the big flat ledge at 1.3 miles.
Major revegetation efforts have been ongoing up here.
The revegetation areas are well-delineated.
Looking back to the Dickey SW cliffs. The Dickey side of the loop runs along their top edge.
For a short hike with an 800-ft. climb, this ledge on the south shoulder of Welch rewards with fine views, especially looking up the Mad River valley to the Tripyramids, with Scaur Peak on the L and the Sleepers on the R.
A closer look at the Tripyramids and West Sleeper, with the long ridge of Snows Mountain below. You get a good angle on the Tripyramid South Slides from here.
Looking up at Dickey (L) and Welch (R).
The big snowy slabs of Dickey.
The steep, ledgy south face of Welch.
The huge spread of Sandwich Mountain seen across the Mad River valley, with Acteon Ridge below in front.
Sharp Jennings Peak and the summit of Sandwich. Ledgy Sachem Peak is below the summit.
The two Black Mountains - the massive shoulder on the L is the Black Mountain traversed by the Algonquin Trail, with many great views. The lower peak to the R is also called Black Mountain and has a good view ledge accessible by a fairly short bushwhack. The Algonquin Trail comes up into the col between them. The dark ledge-spotted hump in front is Bald Knob at the lower end of Acteon Ridge.
Rocks and oaks along the trail just beyond the Welch ledge.
The flat expanse at the brink of the ledge. With bright sun and little wind, I was able to spend an hour up here, part of the time chatting with a local couple who were the only other hikers I encountered.
Afternoon light in the hemlocks on the way down. This short hike is highly recommended in winter, and has no steep and potentially tricky sections like those found on the upper cone of Welch.