Saturday, January 28, 2023

Mt. Pemigewasset via East Ledge: 1/27/23


I abandoned plans for a fairly long bushwhack after driving around and checking snow conditions at several trailheads. Tough sledding in the woods with heavy mealy snow under a breakable crust layer. Not up for a mile and a half of that each way. My fallback was an afternoon jaunt up Mt. Pemigewasset, with a shorter bushwhack to a view ledge on the east side of the mountain, and then on to the summit.

It was a fine afternoon in the hardwoods along the Mount Pemigewasset Trail. Though it's not that evident under the snow, this trail has seen great improvement in erosion control and footbed thanks to the dedicated work of the Trailwrights over the last several years.

About 3/4 of the way up the trail, I headed south into the woods, which looked both inviting and daunting.

Snow depths in Franconia Notch had increased significantly with three storms over the previous week.


As anticipated, the snow conditions were abysmal. Slow and steady wins the day.


There are some neat gnarled old trees out here.

From the hardwoods into the spruces.

I blundered into some sketchy terrain and had to do some pushing, pulling and stretching to get up through it.

I was a bit dismayed to discover it had taken me an hour to cover the 0.3 mile to the ledge. I hadn't been to this spot in 10 years and hoped it still offered a fine view of the Franconia Range - a vista that was once available on the east side of Mt. Pemi's summit but is now almost completely overgrown.

Yup, still a good view here.

A great look directly across at Flume and Liberty, with probably the best view anywhere of the Flume Brook valley.


I could see my car down in the Flume Visitor Center parking lot.


Zoom on Flume. Those slides!

The big three: Lafayette, Lincoln and Little Haystack.

After taking in the views for a while, I continued up to the summit through mostly open woods, weaving around rock bands and blowdown patches.

Summit forest.

I emerged on the eastern summit ledge, where the view of Flume and Liberty is quite restricted, and the view of the upper range is nonexistent.

Around the corner is a nice view SE, including Mt. Tecumseh, the Loon ski trails and the slides of Scar Ridge.

Around to the spacious main ledge area, where the sun was breaking through heavy cloud cover over Mt. Wolf.

Wild southeastern spurs of South Kinsman.

Looking back to Scar Ridge and the Osceolas.

Down the Pemigewasset valley.

Moody sky over Mt. Wolf and the ghostly ridges of Moosilauke.


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