An afternoon hike turned into a fine alpine experience up on the ledges - midwinter conditions with deep powder and gusty northwest winds.
Nice hemlock forest down low. The snowshoe track was soft and choppy.
The only other hiker I saw was a Holderness School teacher who runs the Welch-Dickey Loop almost every day. It was a tough run today with deep snow up on the ledges.
Jennings Peak, Sandwich Dome and Sachem Peak from the first view ledge.
Tripyramid and West Sleeper.
The big south ledge of Dickey.
Looking up at Welch, Dickey and the south ridge of Dickey.
View along the steep face from a ledge south of the main view spot.
Blue sky and deep powder.
Heading up the trail past a nice framed view of the Sandwich ridges.
One of Welch's claims to fame is its extensive colony of Jack Pine, a rare tree in New Hampshire. This area was burned in a forest fire around 1820, and the fire-dependent Jack Pine likely colonized afterwards.
Looking up the big steep slab at 2200 ft. The snow conditions were ideal for going up and down this huge ledge.
Looking back down at the first view ledge with the Campton Range on the horizon.
A WVAIA arrow points the way.
A tight squeeze with snowshoes and a big winter pack.
Through the crevice we go. There is a bypass, which I used on the way down.
On to the expansive upper ledges of Welch.
Looking towards Sandwich Notch.
The snow was soft and deep up here, and there was some serious trail breaking through the drifts.
Open and windswept.
The Welch summit ledge.
Had to dig into the pack for multiple layers to ward off the wind.
A summit Jack Pine.
The ridgecrest is a narrow spine. I had my first-ever experience stepping into a Jack Pine trap. I had climbed Welch in winter before, but never on snowshoes.
Looking down at the great south ledge of Dickey.
Snow blowing off the trees.
Southern ridges of Mt. Tecumseh.
Dickey Mountain across the notch. Having had enough of trail breaking through the drifts, I opted to return down the Welch side and take advantage of my tracks.
Heading down after a chilly half-hour summit stay. It was great fun plunge-stepping through the powder.
The runner's tracks and my snowshoe tracks on the big slab.
Lower down I enjoyed some off-trail forays into the soft powder.
How often do you see this at Welch-Dickey on a Friday?