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 Oh Oh Oh Osceolas 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
My plan for today was to choose from one of four options:
A - Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower.
B - Tom, Field, Willey
C - Hale from back side
D - Waumbek

I slept in, sort of. I went to bed later than expected, but was all packed and ready to go except for sandwich and coffee. I was awake at 3:30, coughing. Damn! Stupid cold! Took some cold meds and back to bed. Alarm went off at 5. And again at 5:05. After that I dunno what happened. I got up at 7, left the house by 7:20. Quick stop for coffee and hit the 93.

I was still undecided but the most recent MWOBS higher summits forecast looked less than stellar for my solo trek above treeline in the Presis so I was trying to decide which of the remaining three I should choose. As I drove I figured the less driving the better and tried to come up with a worthwhile hike south of the notches.

Then it hit me. Osceolas. I was looking for a 4K or two for my winter list (I already had East but had bailed on myself last winter) so figured this would fit the bill. If I wasn't able to get a parking spot I figured I could just take an easy jaunt to East Pond, or Black Pond, or the Hancocks even as there would be plenty of parking at the hairpin.

Got a spot, buried a chocolate milk in the snowbank for later, geared up and hit the trail about 9:25. Morning sun lighting my way
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Water crossings were easy
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I told myself that if I was on the East summit by 11:30 and it was not snowing I would head over to Osceola. I have never made that trek in winter. The hike in to the jct went quick, less than a half hour. So far so good.
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Then I came upon the ice.
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I had expected it to be icy, and was not disappointed. I had spikes on, hillshounds in my pack. Didn't even bother with the snowshoes and it's good because they would have just been extra weight. No way anybody could use shoes on that trail right now. I was happy to see that folks had not been butt sliding or sled sliding and basically turning the trail into a luge run. It was tricky enough but the spikes did the trick. The traverse across the ledgy area was interesting. Stay to the left. Have you hugged a tree today?
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Saw everything from bare boots (only one guy, who had given up his spikes so the young lady with his party would have traction.) to yak traks to full on crampons.

I felt like the hike up was kicking my a** so I figured at this point, looking at East's summit, I would not be heading over to Osceola. Whatever.
Image

So imagine my surprise when I spied the small cairn and took a peek at my watch - I don't look at it while hiking - and saw that it was precisely 11:30.
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Before I could talk myself out of it, I had a quick snack, a few sips of nice hot coffee and off I went. I forgot how steep the initial drop is coming off East. And it was icy. But it was fast so that was good. Got to the bypass in pretty quick order
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and took the bypass (not pictured) to the bypass.
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All the hard work makes stretches like this SO worthwhile
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And just so you don't lose your perspective...
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I made it to Osceola in 40 mins. Not too shabby. Stopped there long enough to snap some pics looking back at East
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have some more coffee, break off 1/2 the sandwich to munch on while hiking back. Cool view heading back
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I had decided I would switch out the spikes for the hounds when I got back to East. Once I started down, however, it seemed like a good idea to make the swap sooner than later. I did,
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and quickly remembered it was a different world with the hounds as far as foot placement and walking. Don't go sideways, always forward facing. And for sh*t's sake don't catch your foot on your pant leg. I used my poles as well, though I rarely do. I'm not entirely certain they were more helpful than a hindrance but I've lived to tell the tale so I guess all is well.
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I made it back to East in about 30 mins. More coffee, adjust layers, chat with a group of twenty-somethings and off I went. As expected, descending the ice was entirely different than ascending, but between the poles being useful, the poles being flung ahead of me, sliding a few feet and swinging from the trees I made it with nary a scratch.
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All in all I was on the trail about 5 hours. Had an excellent workout and after stretching a bit at the car hit the road and headed for home. Another fine day on the trails in the Whites; should hold me through the school week until next weekend.

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:01 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
Nice report. Haven't done the Osceolas in winter, but considering how close they are to where I live, I might have to do it.

I hear ya on catching Hillsounds on your pant legs. That and they slip off my heel so easily! I love how much more grippy than microspikes, but ya gotta deal with the above :roll: .

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:21 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
Nice report. Haven't done the Osceolas in winter, but considering how close they are to where I live, I might have to do it.

I hear ya on catching Hillsounds on your pant legs. That and they slip off my heel so easily! I love how much more grippy than microspikes, but ya gotta deal with the above :roll: .

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:21 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
hiker0200 wrote:
Nice report. Haven't done the Osceolas in winter, but considering how close they are to where I live, I might have to do it.

Yeah Spencer. I'm only about 20 mins or so north of you so it's a quick and easy drive.

hiker0200 wrote:
I hear ya on catching Hillsounds on your pant legs. That and they slip off my heel so easily!

They don't slip off my boots. The ratchet system works pretty well. I have only worn them twice though, and each time I have caught my pant leg. It's a wonder I haven't gone face first down the slope! Perhaps I will have to put an elastic around my pants when I wear them, like we used to when we rode our bikes without a chain guard. :lol:

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:32 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
Kathy wrote:
Osceolas.


*in my best imitation of Greg* Oh Kathy, I'm so sorry.

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Brian


Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:38 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
New Hampshire wrote:
Kathy wrote:
Osceolas.


*in my best imitation of Greg* Oh Kathy, I'm so sorry.

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Brian


HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Wouldn't be the same without the condolences. They will not deter me. Obviously.

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:53 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
I remember two stretches on E. Osceola where it was just a nightmare in microspikes. But that's all I had back then so you do what you can do. So a couple hours of sleep and you nix a cold? Must be nice! Some cool pics. I'd like to do that stretch again at some point in winter with the experience I have gained. I for sure tripped over my pants with the hounds the other day. And any side hilling with them is trash. Keep your feet straight up and down the hill. They work much better than the micros though. It would be tough to go back to them.


Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:42 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
Looks like a great day. Fresh air an exercise always seems to help clear out a cold, for me at least. I still have not hiked the trail between the peaks even though I've visited both multiple times. That's one steep mother of a trail and I don't think I'd love it covered in ice like that. My winter trip there was trudging in bare boots the whole way 15 years ago, and my friend and I came across two guys with big flat things on their feet who told us how much easier and fun it was. Guess what we went out and bought the next day?! Winter hiking hasn't been the same since, in a good way! :D


Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:21 pm
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
Nice report.

That drop off of East Osceola headed back to the trailhead is a bear. I have been very happy to have crampons descending the first tenth mile of that stretch when it is iced. With the substantial amount of ice, exposed rocks, and other treachery on the trails right now, I imagine that could be a tough spot this year!


Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:53 am
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
I remember my first winter trek up those peaks was after a similarly warm spell with lots of rain, followed by cold weather. The entire trail up from the junction was several-inch-thick ice. One of the very few times I used, and the only time I was glad to have, full-on crampons. Ugh, a mess it was. Bet it wasn't much better for your hike. I can't even imagine doing that in bare boots! That's just asking for trouble! Those Hillsound Pros are pretty awesome though, I almost prefer them to full-on crampons (and they're ~75% of real ones anyway). So easy to put on with the ratchet!

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Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:56 am
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 Re: Oh Oh Oh Osceolas
madmattd wrote:
Those Hillsound Pros are pretty awesome though, I almost prefer them to full-on crampons (and they're ~75% of real ones anyway). So easy to put on with the ratchet!


They were quite helpful on the Spellman Trail last month, which was mostly ice. Should've brought them up North Pack Monadnock when I did it a few weeks after the Monadnock climb. Glare ice with 1-2 in. of fresh powder on top. Left the Hillsounds in the car and regretted it big time :oops:

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Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:40 pm
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