Friday, January 19, 2018

WEST OF TRIPYRAMID: 1/18/18


 I enjoyed sunny skies and fresh powder for a snowshoe ramble up Slide Brook on the Livermore and Mount Tripyramid Trails, then some great hardwood bushwhacking on the west slope of South Tripyramid. I tried but failed to find a small cliff up there that I had spotted from other summits.

Mt. Osceola was looking good in the morning. Later in the day the summit was socked in.




Flume Peak rising above Depot Camp on the Livermore Trail.


The fresh snow on Livermore was beautifully groomed by Waterville Valley XC.


White Cascade on Slide Brook was running strong.


Livermore Trail past the grooming, showing an old postholed track.


Heading onto the Mount Tripyramid Trail.



The immediate challenge was the crossing of Avalanche Brook.


I used this island of ice to fashion the crossing. It required several steps in the water, which of course led to massive snow clumping on my snowshoes.



I was pleased to see evidence of an old snowshoe track under the new snow.



Moose tracks and a mini ground blizzard from snow falling off overhead branches.


There's a nice backcountry feel out here.


A small cascade on Slide Brook.


I was pleased to be making first tracks in the 4-5" of new snow.


Several sections of the trail were minefields of frozen moose postholes. C'mon, Bullwinkle, wear your snowshoes!


 Trail crossing of Cold Brook. Wet snowshoes again.




Looking down Black Cascade, named for its dark gabbro bedrock.




Slide Brook above the cascade.


Nice brookside lunch spot.



I left the trail above Black Cascade and bushwhacked east up the slope through acres and acres of open second-growth hardwoods.


This area was heavily logged in the 1930s, as shown on this photo from Mt. Tecumseh that I found on ebay.


Looking back at a winding snowshoe track.



The hardwoods go ever on.




Looking back towards Mt. Tecumseh.



At 2800 ft. the slope steepened and conifers mixed in.


I was hoping to find what appeared to be a ledge or small cliff band, seen as a small white streak directly under Middle Tripyramid in this photo taken from Dickey Mountain. I had an estimated waypoint for this, but after 45 minutes of weaving up through gnarly spruce terrain, I saw no sign of a cliff. Maybe it was still higher up, but the snowshoeing was getting sketchy.



So I retreated to the friendly, sunny hardwoods and headed down.



I wandered across the slope to cross Cold Brook well above the trail. This stream flows from a high basin enclosed by the three Tripyramids. According to an early Waterville Valley guidebook by A.L. Goodrich, a good part of this stream flows underground.



This old logging road parallels Cold Brook on the north side. It's shown on the 1958 USGS Mt. Chocorua quadrangle.



A weathered stump from the old logging days.



Late afternoon sun.


Leaving a favorite corner of the Sandwich Range Wilderness.




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

SNOWSHOEING AFTER THE THAW

Some short morning snowshoeing jaunts, looking for untracked snow off the hardpacked trails!

This was the route of Greeley Ponds Trail off the Kanc Highway before a 1962 relocation. It's very wet in summer and is now a dead-end even as a winter trail due to beaver flooding.



Passage between boulders on the lower north slope of East Osceola.




A whale jaw?



Along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset at Hancock Campground. Our friend Ken Stampfer gave us the idea of snowshoeing here - thanks! Ample plowed parking and nice open woods with fine riverside scenery.


Pine boughs frosted by river mist.


A bundled-up snowshoer.


The East Branch was completely smothered in snow and ice a few days earlier.



On a morning "backyard bushwhack" out of Lincoln to cascades on Horner Brook, I passed this damage from the October windstorm.



A big double-trunk white pine.


Great open woods with mostly firm snowpack. These excellent bushwhacking conditions are the one benefit of the thaw and refreeze.


Frozen Loon Pond Mountain Cascades on Horner Brook. The original hiking trail up to the South Peak of Loon Mountain passed nearby here.


Cauliflower ice.


Looking downstream.


Horner Brook above the cascades.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

MOUNT TOM: 1/10/18

Mark Klim and I found deep snowpack, great snowshoeing, a winter wonderland forest, and terrific views on the northernmost peak of the Willey Range. It was a gorgeous winter day with temperatures up into the 20s after our recent cold snap.



Blue skies greeted us at the top of Crawford Notch.


The Avalon Trail featured a nice packed snowshoe track with a soft layer on top.


Crossing the buried Crawford Brook low down on the Avalon Trail.



A good snow load on this duck-under blowdown.


Climbing out of the steep, deep gully on the A-Z Trail just above the Avalon Trail junction. The A-Z Trail had seen far less traffic and was only partly broken, most recently by a solo snowshoer we met on her way down. Slower going on this mile.


Respectable snow depth at 3000 ft.

Climbing along the A-Z Trail in open sunless forest on the south side of the Crawford Brook valley.



There are many gnarled old yellow birches in here.



Sidehill section approaching the upper brook crossing at 3300 ft.



Climbing up and across the steep headwall of the valley. Above here we met two descending snowshoers who had broken trail across from Mt. Field, and at the Mount Tom Spur junction we chatted with longtime AMC trip leader Tim Kennedy. All three said the going was tough across the ridge in deep soft snow, and a few steps in that direction convinced us to head to Mt. Tom and forget about Mt. Field for today. The couple had even taken a stab at the traverse to Mt. Willey but retreated after plunging into chest-deep snow. Thanks to the recent cold snap keeping hikers home, this was like the "good old days" of winter peakbagging when unbroken trails were frequently encountered.


A tunnel-like section of the Mount Tom Spur.



Snow-caked firs along the Mount Tom Spur.


Meandering along the Mount Tom Spur.



Snowshoe hare tracks.


Mark breaks trail through deep snowpack out to the southern viewpoint.


Mount Washington.


A sweeping view over the Pemigewasset Wilderness, dominated by Mount Carrigain and sprawling Mount Hancock. Mount Tom's views, which are obtained from scrubby fir wave areas, are best with  winter snowpack. Wild western spurs of Mt. Field are in the foreground.


Passaconaway & Whiteface through Carrigain Notch.


Mount Field, close by to the south.


Bond, Guyot and Zealand.


The gleaming Presidentials.


The Webster Cliffs and the lower Montalban Ridge peaks.


Fellow Lincoln resident Matt Trigo came by to check out the views.


No Mount Tom hike is complete without a visit from the local residents.


Always willing to take a handout.


The Bond-Twin Range from Tom's western viewpoint, near the true summit. With comfortable temps, we were able to spend an hour and a half at the summit.


The Twins beyond the Zealand Valley and its frozen beaver ponds..


North Twin and Mt. Hale, with Camel's Hump and Mt. Mansfield on the horizon.


Heading back from the western outlook.


Ghost forest at the summit.


Descending the Mount Tom Spur.


A spill into a snow hole along a steep section of the A-Z Trail.



Mount Tom at day's end.