On a fine winter day Mark Klim and I snowshoed in from the Kanc, crossed both Greeley Ponds, then bushwhacked to a talus slope with interesting views on the western flank of Mt. Kancamagus.
A split boulder along the Greeley Ponds XC Ski Trail.
Heading up to Mad River Notch in morning sun. We wore snowshoes to navigate the variable and uneven hard-packed track on the XC trail, along with many crevassed washouts.
Morning at Upper Greeley Pond.
Mark takes in the view of the East Osceola cliffs and slides.
The west knob of Mt. Kancamagus and the K2 Cliff from Lower Greeley Pond. A century ago Waterville Valley hikers named two cliffs on the west side of Mt. Kancamagus "K1" and K2" and blazed rough paths to them. Those trails must have been very steep, and have long since been swallowed by the forest.
Looking north through the U-shaped gap of Mad River Notch.
Heading across Lower Greeley Pond. The ice on the ponds was almost smooth enough for a hockey game.
Broadside of East Osceola.
View from SE corner of Lower Greeley Pond.
Last week we were on a ledge perch above these cliffs, gazing down at the ponds.
Side view of the Painted Cliff.
We started our whack to the talus a half-mile south of Lower Greeley. Here the slope briefly leveled after an initial steep pitch.
The middle part of the whack featured some good woods.
An old maple and an old beech.
Taking a break before heading into the difficult upper part of the whack.
Into the dark, boulder-filled steeps.
Up we go.
Steep, thick & nasty. It took nearly an hour to climb the last 300 feet of elevation, with lots of weaving around boulders, blowdowns and holes.
A tricky sidehill traverse at the end.
It was a struggle to find a passable route out onto the talus, but we made it. A wild spot!
The K1 Cliff loomed close above us.
An impressive view of East Osceola. We could see the full length of a slide that fell in 1897, and partly filled Lower Greeley Pond.
A good view of the Painted Cliff across the valley.
Looking SW to the Greeley Brook valley (Timber Camp Trail) and Waterville ski slopes. The light spot seen in the center is the gravel bank viewpoint on the Timber Camp Trail.
Cheers! We were happy to find a platform where we could sit in the sun for a while.
Mark makes a careful exit off the talus.
A key spot in our ascent was finding a route around this rock wall.
Downward in the sugary snow.
On the way down we visited a towering chunk of rock, two stories high, that juts above the trees. This formation we call "The Beak."
There is a serious dropoff on either side of its narrow crest.
The Beak provides a great view up to the K1 Cliff.
View south down the valley to Sandwich Dome.
Back down to the good woods.
Heading back across Lower Greeley Pond...
...and Upper Greeley Pond, finishing off a rewarding day in this scenic backcountry notch.
This view from the Timber Camp Trail shows the K1 Cliff, the talus slope (we came out on the far R edge) and, below it, The Beak jutting out from the trees.