Saturday, February 15, 2020

Potash Mountain: 2/14/20

A stellar day with sunshine, views and superb snowshoeing conditions. Had this little gem of a 52WAV mountain to myself, and despite temperatures in the single numbers, the sun was warm enough to sit for an hour at the top.

Solid snow bridge for the Downes Brook crossing.

Bright sun in the hardwoods, with several inches of powder atop a firm, smooth track.

A long corridor leading up through the Potash spruce forest.

View of Passaconaway and Whiteface from the first outlook, on a northeastern shoulder.


Portrait of Passaconaway from the ledges on the south side of the summit cone. The Downes Brook (Passaconaway) Slide, which I had visited twice earlier this month, is well-displayed. There were a couple of backcountry skiers on it today.

Eastern view from the south ledges: Chocorua, Hedgehog and Paugus.

Mt. Paugus.

Mt. Chocorua and the Three Sisters.

The trail leads skyward.

The wide lower slabs of the Downes Brook Slide. Still mostly bare after 130 years.

The craggy north outlook on Mt. Passaconaway.

Sunny south-facing approach to the summit.

Mt. Whiteface, with its own large slide plunging to Downes Brook.

Northern vista from the 2700-ft. summit. As Charles Edward Beals, Jr. wrote in "Passaconaway in the White Mountains" (1916), "From this little mountain the view is superb."

Mt. Carrigain, Carrigain Notch, Green's Cliff and the Nancy Range.

Carrigain close-up.

The Hancock Range, with the cliffs of The Captain on the right. Zealand and Guyot peek over behind The Captain.

Cold fog on the Presidentials.

Jumble o' peaks to the west.

Snow-caked Mt. Osceola and East Osceola.

My favorite Potash vista peers up the Sabbaday Brook valley to the Sleepers, Tripyramids and Fool Killer.

A deep tributary valley divides the Sleepers.

The Tropical Storm Irene slide on West Sleeper. Visited there late last month with Ray "Jazzbo" Caron.

Soaring crests of South and Middle Tripyramid.


Sat on my pack here in the sun, out of the wind, staring out at the amphitheater of the Sandwich Range high peaks.

Back across the broad summit.

Wonderful descent over the ledges.

Chocorua's cone.

Sweet 'shoeing.

By chance, back down at the outlook on the northeast shoulder, I spotted a lone skier on the steep uppermost open slab of the Downes Brook Slide - he is visible under the upper left fork. I watched him drop down the slab and the chute below, and disappear behind the ridgeline. He must have been a fast skier, because the friendly Forest Service Wilderness monitor in the parking lot said he came out before me.

The view the skier had at the top of his run (photo taken March 2019). Potash is the ledgy knob under Mt. Carrigain.

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