Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I spent most of a gorgeous sunny, calm day on a favorite smaller peak, with views better than many a 4000-footer. The balmy conditions allowed for a long summit stay. I got a late morning start, so the 4.4 mile round trip off the Kancamagus Highway was ideal for the short days of January.

A trail report on spoke of a solid snow bridge for the crossing of Downes Brook, and indeed there was.

Looking up Downes Brook from the crossing.

The Mount Potash Trail had a rock-solid track, ideal for Microspiking.

A steady climb through spruces up to the first outlook.

Fine spruce woods on the 2200-ft. shoulder.

Pileated Woodpecker at work.

A fine view east from wide ledges on the south side of the mountain, just before the final steep climb.

Ascending the south ledges to the summit.

From the summit -- Church Pond, Mt. Tremont and the Presidentials.

Hancock and Carrigain.

Hancock and its long east ridge, with The Captain on the far right.

The mighty Mount Carrigain.

Carrigain, Green's Cliff and the Nancy Range.

The view south into the heart of the Sandwich Range, with "South Potash" in the foreground.

Mount Whiteface, with the true summit peeking over in back and a massive slide dropping into the Downes Brook valley.

My favorite Potash spot, on the SW side of the summit, gazing across the Sabbaday Brook valley to the Sleepers, Tripyramid and the Fool Killer. How often can you take a snooze on bare ledge in January?

At the head of Sabbaday Brook: East Sleeper, West Sleeper and its Irene slide, and South & Middle Tripyramid.

The gentle domes of The Sleepers.

The Osceolas behind the northern spur of the Fool Killer.

One of the great spots!

Where I was hanging out in the sun.

Wide look at the northern view.

The once-famous "Balanced Boulder" is located along a former route of the trail on the SE side of the summit. A century ago this could be rocked with a push of the hand, but no longer.

View of Passaconaway and Whiteface heading down the south ledges.

The 1890s Downes Brook Slide is well-displayed. The old abandoned Downes Brook Slide Trail turned right at the lower bend and climbed steeply  to reach the north outlook, under the "V."

 Zoom on the wide lower slabs of the slide.

 A bit of tricky sidehilling.

Another angle on Passaconaway.

Mount Paugus through the Hedgehog-Passaconaway col.

The Sisters and Mount Chocorua.


From the outlook on the 2200-ft. shoulder, Passaconaway and Whiteface guard the Downes Brook valley.

From this angle, Square Ledge peeks over the Hedgehog-Passaconaway col.

Mount Whiteface and the head of the Downes Brook valley, several miles upstream in the Sandwich Range Wilderness.

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