Friday, September 1, 2017


Mark Klim and I bushwhacked two miles up the Mack Brook valley on the south side of Scar Ridge to the big gravelly slide under the summit. We spent a long time lounging in the sun and enjoying the wide southern view.

To start, we drove partway up Mack Brook Rd. (off Tripoli Rd.) and whacked across to Mack Brook.

Then we headed north up the valley. Near this spot we encountered a big bull moose with an impressive rack. No chance for pictures.

For a short distance we enjoyed easy passage on an old logging road.

A nice hardwood glade at 2200 ft.

Meandering deep in the valley.

Passing through a birch graveyard. Many white birches across the mountains are reaching the end of their lifespan after flourishing in the wake of logging and fire in the early 1900s.

High in the valley, Mack Brook is tiny.

There were a few pleasant ferny glades on the broad, flat upper floor of the valley.

At 2700 ft. we emerged on the gentle, open runout of the slide.

An open highway through the forest.

Approaching the slide proper.

Ascending the wide lower part of the slide. This is a "comfortable" slide - not too steep, and no sketchy smooth slabs. I have found no documented date for this slide. My best guess is that it fell during Hurricane Carol in 1954, which unleashed a half-dozen slides on nearby Mt. Osceola. The older slide that gave Scar Ridge its name in the late 1800s was in the next ravine to the east, on a branch of Little East Pond Brook; it is now mostly revegetated.

Wide and dry.

Partway up we stopped for a long break to bask in the sun and gaze at the southward vista towards Mt. Kearsarge, Mt. Cardigan and other peaks in central NH.

A great way to spend a perfect late summer afternoon.

Snoozing was part of the plan.

Patches of ferns somehow thrive in this dry and sterile environment.

After a long rest, we headed farther up the slide.

We picked our way carefully through the loose rocks. We went about 2/3 of the way up the slide and took another long break in the sun. When I first visited this slide in 1996 with two friends, we went to the top, then whacked up to the crest of Scar Ridge west of the summit and dropped down to the top of one of the slides on the north side for a great view into the Pemi Wilderness. On the way back down this slide we made a side trip up to another, shorter slide on the west side of the Mack Brook drainage. Today's trip was a lazier outing.

Granite boulders weathering to rottenstone.

A wide view, well up on the slide. The Mack Brook valley is enclosed on either side by southerly spurs of Scar Ridge.

After another long break - in total we spent perhaps three hours in the sun on the slide - we headed down with the SE spur looming above.

Looking across to the SW spur ridge.

Carefully descending.

Looking back up by a split boulder at the base of the slide.

Heading down the valley.

Following Mack Brook down from its inner sanctum. It was a fine bushwhack!


  1. Very nice! I've come out on top of this slide by accident following a herd path of sorts from Scar West. I had followed this herd path without taking any bearing from the Scar can (I needed to go back via the standard route to the NW and then on to Loon). Once I recognized my mistake, the side-hilling whack from the top of this slide to the standard route was rough. Some of the thickest woods I've ever encountered, long stretches where I couldn't see my lower body, massive amounts of old and new blowdowns interspersed with new growth... The slide with its open views though did look great.
    Thanks for sharing, Peter

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Peter! Yes, there are some nasty woods up on that slope, and sidehilling through that is no fun. The slide is a welcome break in the forest.

  2. You mentioned the slide to our group on Saturday, Steve. It sounded great so we gave it a go on Sunday with the idea we could whack up to Scar Ridge. Beautiful slide, but the woods above were too rough to get through in the time we had planned. Would be cool to solve this puzzle. - Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff, Glad you enjoyed the slide, sorry it didn't work out for the Scar summit. I recall it being very steep and thick just above the top of the slide, and I've heard there's much new blowdown up around the summit ridge. Don't know if the going would be any better to the east or the west.-- Steve

  3. Google Earth has amazing images of the blowdown patches on the mountain. Check this link out in Google Chrome and zoom in using 2D or 3D:

    I don't know how recent the images are, but if conditions haven't changed too much - a big if! - it might be interesting to go about 60% of the way up the slide and then head east below the large blowdown patch. From there a push could be made northeast for the summit.


    1. That's some serious blowdown, almost like the devastation on East Sleeper. It seems it might have been caused by the 2017 Halloween storm. Looks like there might be a passage through a strip of intact forest in the middle of the blowdown band. People approaching via the standard route from Loon only encounter a small bit of the blowdown at the end.