Thursday, August 23, 2018


A trek with Mark Klim from Tripoli Road to the Kanc over Mt. Osceola and East Osceola, with two bushwhack diversions along the way. Thanks to Carol for picking us up at the end of the day.

A WMNF parking lot expansion is underway at the heavily used Tripoli Road trailhead.

The familiar rockfest along the first 1 1/4 mile of the Mt. Osceola Trail.

We made a prickly bushwhack to a ledge on Breadtray Ridge.

Long view across the Waterville Valley to the Sandwich Range beyond.

Looking up at the main mass of Osceola.

Mark plunges into the dense brush.

One of the few smooth sections on the climb to Osceola.

Big thanks to the trail maintainers who took these blowdowns out. We figured they were from the late October storm.

Shallow root systems.

Mark traverses the angled slabs along one of the upper switchbacks. This section can be very icy in late fall.

View from the trail looking down at the peak of Breadtray Ridge.

The start of the old Breadtray Basin Trail, which ascended Osceola from the SW. It was opened in 1913 and abandoned in the 1950s; the phone line for the Osceola fire tower ran along it.

An insulator from the phone line - a protected artifact that should be left where it lies.

Near the summit we located what we thought was the upper end of the original trail up Osceola, dating back to the 1800s. It ascended the ridge that extends south from the summit, and was abandoned in the 1930s, when the present route from Tripoli Road was opened.

A support at the original fire tower location on Osceola, 1910-1942. This is considered the true summit.

North view from a ledge reached by a short side path from the old tower site.

The second fire tower site (1942-1985), behind the huge summit view ledge.

The classic view across to East Osceola.

Looking across the deep ravine of Osceola Brook to Tripyramid on the horizon.

Summit benchmark.

Happy tramper.

Looking ahead to the ridge traverse.

Coming off the main summit, the trail alternates easy walking...

...with steep and rough pitches.

Partway along we launched a very thick bushwhack to a ragged rock face known as the Split Cliff, which can be seen from outlooks on the Kanc Highway. From about 1915 to 1940 there was a side trail here, but we found no trace of it.

The woods are tangled and strewn with blowdown.

We emerged on a rock at the top of "Split Cliff Gully." We stayed on the topmost rock, taking care not to step on the fragile subalpine vegetation that thrives here.

There was a wild view across the craggy upper ravine of Pine Brook to the peaks of Middle and West Osceola. Parts of the Dogleg Slide could be seen.

The ledgy nubble of West Osceola, where good views are obtained from "Peggy's Perch."

Ridges sweep down from the Osecola massif and Scar Ridge.

Peering down at the beaver pond on Cheney Brook, near the East Pond Trail.

At times the persistent clouds lifted, granting us a long vista into the western Pemi Wilderness.

Back on the trail, we descended towards the col. A ledge above the final drop provides a look up at East Osceola.

Looking east to the sprawling Sandwich Range.

The split between the infamous "chimney" (R) and the "chimney bypass" (L).

The steep, rocky lower drop of the "chimney bypass."

Looking up at the "chimney," which has good holds for ascent, but is tricky to descend.

Looking up at the "chimney bypass."

Halfway up East Osceola I dropped carefully into "The Crack" to claim a geocache that was missing the first time I looked for it a few years ago. Mark gave me a hand getting up out of this "interesting" spot.

View to the Pemi Wilderness from the ledge above "The Crack."

This spot, one of four viewpoints around East Osceola, is reached by a short side path about 50 yards north of the wooded summit. Thanks to a fir wave, for a few years there will be a nice view to the east.

A zoom on the K1 Cliff on the western flank of Mt. Kancamagus. At the upper left is one of the sheer rock walls of the Kancamagus Flume, the edge of which I had made my way down to the previous week.

View of the main Osceola summit from an open spot on a short side path at the top of the steep descent down towards Greeley Ponds Trail.

Neat view along the flank of Osceola-Scar Ridge.

Mark descending over the ledges where the trail crosses the top of a slide that fell in 1892.

Looking down to Upper Greeley Pond and across to the K2 Cliff on Mt. Kancamagus.

It's a slow descent for us old guys down this crazily steep and rough section.

This huge slab right next to the trail is another open spot on the old 1892 slide. It's always a relief to get down to the gentler Greeley Ponds Trail!

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