Saturday, March 30, 2024

Spring Snowshoe to Avalanche Ravine: 3/29/24

With a big snowmelt over the previous few days, I figured it was worth a try to get out to a favorite bushwhack route into Avalanche Ravine at the base of North Tripyramid and hopefully do a little snowshoeing on lower parts of the North Slide. It was in the high 30s for my late morning start. It had been too warm for grooming, so the first 2.2 miles of the Livermore Trail had a couple inches of wet snow atop a thin base, which was decent for snowshoeing. Skiers had made their own tracks along the edges.

Beyond the groomed section, there was an old set of snowshoe tracks, but it had been melted and raised during the thaw, so it was easier to make my own tracks alongside.

Slide Brook was flowing nicely at White Cascade.

The old snowshoe tracks ended at the junction with the south end of the Mount Tripyramid Trail.

A clean slate heading up Livermore Trail from here.

Breaking trail through 6" of heavy wet snow atop a pretty firm base. It made for slow, contemplative snowshoeing.

Pretty corridor.

North Tripyramid in sight ahead.

From the junction with the north end of the Mount Tripyramiud Trail, I set off on my familiar bushwhack route into Avalanche Ravine, following an old overgrown logging road along the north side of Avalanche Brook.

The breaking was a little heavier in here.

The snow depth must have been impressive right after the big storm, before the thaw.

I emerged in a favorite hardwood glade, with the North Slide glimpsed through the trees. Nice backcountry feel out here.

Fine spot for a late lunch.

Weaving through the hardwoods.


Crossing this crevassed little tributary requires some maneuvering.

Approaching the base of the North Slide.

The "inner sanctum" glade.

The scene in Avalanche Ravine: Avalanche Brook below, North Slide above.

Approaching the base of the East Fork of the North Slide.

I was surprised and pleased to see that this slide track still held nearly full snow cover.

Snowshoeing up alongside a strip of cascades that had opened up on the slide track.

An enticing swath of snow, where in summer there would be super-slick wet ledge slab.



Respectable snow depth here.



More open cascades above. From here I decided to bushwhack across the slope to the Mount Tripyramid Trail on the lower part of the main North Slide.


Traversing the slope between the two forks of the slide.

I popped out on the Mount Tripyramid Trail at ~3000 ft.

Broke trail up to the first good view spot along the slide. It's steeper than it looks.

Looking down the narrow lower part of the slide. Both forks of the slide came down in a massive rainstorm in August, 1885.

Looking up the slide.

View across Avalanche Ravine to the ridge leading up to Tripyramid's Scaur Peak.

A fine view out to Mount Osceola and distant Mount Moosilauke, with Mount Tecumseh on the left.

Zoomed. Moosilauke is nicely framed by Thornton Gap. East Osceola peeks over on the right.

Side view of slide. It's steep!


After a half-hour break at the viewpoint, I broke trail downhill, towards the base of the slide.

Partway down I was shocked to come upon a set of deep postholes. Who in their right mind would posthole through deep wet snow all the way up Livermore Trail and then out to the North Slide?

I found the answer at the base of the slide - a backcountry skier had come up to this point, then took off the skis and wandered a little way up in boots before wisely turning around.

Following my tracks back down through the ravine.

Farther down I discovered that the skier had followed my bushwhack route most of the way up to the base of the North Slide.


The snow was really mushy at the end of the day, and it was a long slog out on the Livermore Trail. This scene at the Depot Camp clearing was a nice finish to this spring snowshoe journey.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Mount Tom: 3/25/24

After several days of mostly bare ground hiking in New York's Catskill Mountains, I was not in a snowshoeing frame of mind. But after a 20-inch snowstorm, there is no choice. Monday was the pick of the week - sunny, comfortable temperatures, light wind and long-range visibility. Had to get a view. Being somewhat under the weather with a chest cold, I wasn't up for heavy trail-breaking. So I headed over to the top of Crawford Notch, where I figured either Mount Pierce or peaks on the Willey Range would likely have been broken out on Sunday. At 11:30 am the Crawford Path parking had not yet been plowed out, so I parked on the shoulder of Rt. 302 by the Crawford Depot and noted several sets of snowshoe tracks heading in to the Avalon Trail. Either Mount Field or Mount Tom it would be, conditions permitting.

I was surprised to find a solid snow bridge over Crawford Brook, given all the recent warm weather.

The lower 1.3 miles of Avalon Trail had a beautiful packed powder snowshoe track, some of the best conditions of the season. (But still too soft for barebooting.) A big thanks to those who broke this trail out, and those who followed wearing snowshoes to maintain the integrity of the track.

A favorite stretch of the Avalon Trail.


I was hoping the A-Z Trail was broken out, as I don't like the steep section of Avalon Trail leading up to Mount Avalon. A-Z was indeed broken out, but to a lesser extent than Avalon. The track was soft, loose and uneven, making for a decent workout going both up and down. But still much easier than breaking trail in up to two feet of powder! Again, thanks to the trail-breakers.

A peek up at Mount Tom's NE ridge.

As it ascends up the south side of the Crawford Brook ravine, the A-Z Trail passes through a beautiful open forest with many gnarled old yellow birches.

Slowly making my way up the valley. Quite the trench!

Steep sidehill approaching the crevasse-like upper brook crossing.

Headwater of Crawford Brook.

An angling climb across the valley headwall.

Last push to the Tom-Field col.

There's some snow up here!

I opted for climbing Mount Tom rather than Mount Field, as the 0.6 mile Mount Tom Spur had seen two-way snowshoe traffic, making it easier going than another 0.9 mile of soft, loose going on the Willey Range Trail.

Narrow and winding.

Return of winter magic.


Window on Mount Field.

A weekend snowshoer had made tracks out to Tom's SE viewpoint.

Welcoming committee.

Due to scrub growth, Tom's views in summer are almost nonexistent. It was great to see that with deep snowpack, Tom still delivers a sweeping view across the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Mounts Carrigain and Hancock dominate beyond the wild, trailless western spurs of Mount Field. With bright sun and no wind, I spent a comfortable hour taking in the views.

Peering through Carrigain Notch to Mounts Passaconaway and Whiteface.

The sprawling mass of Hancock.


 Big slides in Crystal Ravine.


Mounts Bond & Guyot and the ridge leading towards South Twin.



Afternoon sun lighting up the Presys.

Big George.


Sentinel and Mount Field.

The snow depth in the summit area was off the charts.

I did a tiny bit of trail-breaking out to the western viewpoint.

Even with deep snowpack, the view of the Bond-Twin Range is becoming restricted.

South and North Twin.

Meandering tracks - pine marten?

My miniscule trail-breaking effort.

Descending the valley headwall.

Trees with character.

Evening at Bretton Woods.