I stayed low and stayed south for a short but steep bushwhack loop to four sunny view ledges on the south side of Bald Knob (Acteon Ridge), including two fine perches I hadn't visited before. This rugged area is always entertaining.
It was looking a bit like winter on Old Waterville Road.
New snow frames a watery sluice.
Open hemlock bushwhacking.
A pleasant sunny, ledgy area.
A big ledge looming ahead.
I followed the tracks of a good-sized animal up this steep slope. The tracks had little definition in the powdery snow. Maybe a bear?
Looking back down at my own tracks.
A great perch awaited at the top.
This is a big, steep granite slab.
A nice view south.
Looking SW to Stinson and Carr Mountains.
Above the slab I ascended an interesting ridgecrest with oaks and snowy ledges under deep blue sky.
Big old red oaks.
A peek at the Black Mountain ridge.
Approaching the big open ledge at the top of the south spur of Bald Knob.
I sat on my pack here for a while, soaking up the sun, a rarity in December.
The snowy peak of Sandwich Dome.
Welch and Dickey Mountains beyond the steep face of Bald Knob.
From here I could see the day's last objective - a cliff (lower left) on the rugged south slope of Bald Knob. Would there be a feasible way to the top?
The cliff from the mini-valley below.
Side view of the cliff, which is occasionally ascended by rock climbers with a taste for remote crags. The prime route here is called Journey to Lost World and is rated a difficult 5.10.
A small dike eroded into the granite.
It wasn't easy, but I was able to find a way to the top, where I discovered a surprisingly open viewpoint. Sandwich Dome's two Black Mountains were in full view.
A closer look at the Blacks.
By descending carefully to the edge I added Sandwich Dome's summit (far left) to the view.
Looking across to the south spur of Bald Knob, where I'd been a half-hour earlier.
Steep and slippery on the way back down from the clifftop, where Stabilicers proved handy for extra grip.
Not much to hang onto here!
This crawl-through was the key to the route up to the top of the cliff.