Thursday, July 30, 2020

Steaming Gift Slide, Mt. Osceola

A scenic and challenging slide climb on the north side of Mt. Osceola with Dan Newton and his canine companion, Friday.

Before meeting Dan and Friday at the East Pond trailhead, I made a quick visit to the Hancock Overlook for a look at the four-way slides on the NW side of Mt. Osceola. We climbed the left fork of the pair of slides on the right.

Typical woods on the bushwhack in to the slide drainage. Scrappy whacking prevails across the broad basin of Pine Brook.

Dan, a mushroom enthusiast, examines a painted suillus (edible, but for experts only).

Following Friday.

This looked like an old sled road, perhaps dating back to the 1890s when J.E. Henry's crews logged this area.

Peaked boulder perched on a steep slope.

The last half-mile of the approach was up the mostly dry brookbed.



Following the open road, avoiding the dense forest on either side.

Giant chockstone.

The ridge in sight ahead.

Final approach to the base of the slides.

Scalloped slabs of Mount Osceola Granite.

Dan captures images of a sundew patch.

Looking back to North Hancock.

Meeting place of the four-way slides, one of which fell in 1938, two in 1954, and the fourth in 1995. In winter this spot is a vast snowfield.

Looking up the eastern fork. The wet slabs were uninviting.

We went a short way up the eastern fork for a lunch break.

Patterns in the granite.

We headed up the western fork of the slides, aiming for an ascent of the "Steaming Gift Slide." It was so named by alpine climber Jack Dorsey, in honor of a fresh pile of moose scat he encountered near the top of the slide during a winter ascent in 2007. Just a short way up, a fine view of the Hancocks was revealed.

This slide starts out steep and never lets up.

Looking up.

Looking back.

Expanding views.

I was on the wrong side here and bypassed this nasty looking section through the woods.

There is some serious exposure on parts of this slide. Stayed to the edge here.


Dan making his way up. At one point he made a quick side excursion to the narrow parallel slide just to the west, which he had once skied with a friend. Dan named it "Castle Rock Slide,” in reference to a large overhanging rock near the top.

What a view! South Twin, Bonds, Hitchcock, Hancocks, Carrigain, Huntington.

Another ugly section to bypass.

Birches have sprouted in cracks in the ledges. This slide fell during Hurricane Carol in 1954.

Steeper than it looks. I was glad I brought a pair of approach shoes for the scrambling on the slide.

A magnificent summer day.

Upper part of the slide.

The steepness never lets up. No comfortable hangout shelves on this slide.

There's the top!


Savoring the view.

Steep right to the tip-top.

Garfield in sight on the far left.

The beaver pond on Cheney Brook.

View from the very top.


Seeking a route around the headwall cliff.

Tolkien woods on the west ridge of Osceola.

Moss-cloaked blowdown.

Break time on the descent to East Pond Trail.

Emerald forest.

At the East Pond Trail in the Osceola-Scar Ridge col. Good job, Friday! He is an experienced slide-climbing dog, having made a number of trips over the Tripyramid slides.

East Pond Trail, the road home.