Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Potash Mountain: 1/14/19

What a spectacular sunny, windless winter afternoon! At 4 1/2 miles round trip, 2700-ft. Potash is ideal for a crack o' noon hike with outstanding views.

Spruces on the NE shoulder of Potash.

The Mt. Potash Trail had a perfect packed powder snowshoe track. I used the logging road approach to avoid the Downes Brook crossing; there was room enough to park on the shoulder of the Kanc at the entrance to the logging road. The road had a partly broken, choppy track, while the trail was much more packed out, suggesting that the brook crossing is passable.

Potash is one of the best of the smaller mountains for views, outshining many 4K peaks. The SE ledges, found along the trail before the final climb to the top, look across to Chocorua, Hedgehog and Paugus.

The Three Sisters and Mt. Chocorua.

The mighty Passaconaway.

Up the southern ledges to the summit.

Wide views to the north.

Mt. Tremont and the Presys beyond Church Pond.

Oakes Gulf is well-displayed from this angle.

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

Mt. Carrigain with Vose Spur on the R.

The Hancock range, with its two south-facing cirques. There are two beaver ponds on the floor of the eastern or right-hand cirque.

Snowshoe hares hang out at the summit.

The Tripyramids and the Fool Killer rise above the Sabbaday Brook valley.

I sat on my pack in the sun for a long time at this spot, peering up the Downes Brook and Sabbaday Brook valleys into the heart of the Sandwich Range Wilderness. The 2011 Irene slide can be seen on the flank of West Sleeper, right of center.

The great Downes Brook slides on the north ridge of Whiteface fell around 1920.

The Downes Brook Slide on Passaconaway dates back to the late 1800s and for many years formed the lower half of a very steep trail route up the mountain.

Making tracks.

On the way down I made a short bushwhack to a lower ledge, briefly following a track made two days earlier by Bryan Cudihee and Zach Porter as they whacked the ridge to "South Potash," then making my way through some open spruce woods. Had I a couple more hours of daylight, I might have shamelessly poached their track as I've never been to that little spruce-wooded peak.

Nice angle on Passaconaway & Whiteface.

By itself, Passaconaway is a giant!

Late afternoon at the SE ledges.

Passaconaway & Whiteface from the ledge on the 2200-ft. NE shoulder. For more info on Potash: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BpJfbnEmRauPcEggecYcTfJwBw9BiyRpKVis5KaqFjk/edit


  1. Those are some really fabulous views!! Are there any birch glades on the trail up?

    1. It is a great viewpoint! No birch glades, the trail goes through hardwoods, then hemlocks, then spruces.