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 Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck? 
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 Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
Just had to ask others this question. I did a great loop with easy grades up Chocorua Saturday. But the last half mile was steep and icy. Spikes were definitely needed. But also, not needed. You know the scenario. Ice, to no ice , then back to ice. etc., etc.,etc. A lot of open slab in the wooded trail and finally the the wide open summit cone. Not only is it tough on the spikes, it makes for treacherous hiking IMO. Hiking on steep granite slabs with the spikes is just as scary as hiking on ice without them. IMO. It didn't help by my missing the turn onto the Liberty trail at the .3ish mile mark and hiking the slabs the entire way up. The descent was 10 fold as difficult. I think the 1 mile round trip in the steeps took me 2 hours. I'm of course being extra cautious these days, but this was a really tense hike for me. Every step on the descent had to be well thought out. We really need some snow, just to improve the footing.

So, anyone else think these type of conditions are the absolute worst for hiking?

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Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:26 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
I don't mind this shoulder season. Gives my buddy time to acclimate to bring cold. More restricted views through the trees. Yeah it can be tricky, light snow covering leaves covering icy rocks. For me, the added challenge of a iced up section can be fun. It gives a trail that I would otherwise bomb through in the summer a little bit of excitement. Having said that, I would probably avoid steep slsbby areas after a foggy or rainy night and plan my route accordingly.

The other shoulder season in late March and April stinks. Rotting snow. Monorail. PITA river crossings with high snow banks. Just miserable. Id rather take a break from the higher peaks and go hike somewhere else where this isn't an issue during this time.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:34 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
Shoulder season sucks for hiking up Chocorua 8) Or possibly Welch-Dickey. Ice flows on trails can typically be avoided by walking around, so just avoid ledges and you'll be good to go. Besides, you ought to know that shoulder season is for bushwhacking (at least in the fall).


Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:57 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
krpayer wrote:
Besides, you ought to know that shoulder season is for bushwhacking (at least in the fall).


I do, but no bushwhacking for me til at least the next shoulder season. Way too many obstacles than can cause damage. Had a really miserable time bushwhacking a couple weeks ago.

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Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:32 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
Like theGibba, I don't mind the fall shoulder season. And this weekend was terrific for hiking. But yes, the slabby sections can be obnoxious. Of course, I did end up doing a JustJoe (okay, not quite that bad) on the Wilderness Trail Saturday so my opinion might be changing...

mid April - mid May stinks, no question. It can make for some memorable hikes though ;)

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Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:39 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
I'm with the don't mind it crowd. Stick season provides some views on hikes that usually have none. If one wants to avoid the icy ledge covered trails that can be done easily enough. Hike lesser used trails with more earth as opposed to the very popular ones scraped to the bedrock. Or at the moment hike the lower elevations like the Ossipees or Belknaps. If you want to hike the bigger rocky peaks it just comes with the territory. Spikes on rock also don't bother me one bit, other than the fact that it's not good for the spikes. On my Moriahs/Carters trip there was a good mix of ice and rock so I just left them on. They grip quite well on slabs and ledge I think. Descending on ice is definitely tougher than going up since one slip and your momentum is going to take you for a ride more easily if you slip, but as they say, don't go up anything you can't get down.

One thing I never got. Is it called shoulder season because you have to hike on the shoulder of the trail to avoid ice, rotten snow, mud etc? Or is there another obvious reason I've missed for years now? I prefer stick season myself. :D


Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:49 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
I'm with you Joe. I guess I might not say it "sucks," but a whole boatload less inspiring than most of the rest of the year.

That said, I usually do a little like Granite Guy suggests. I don't want to deal with the hassles/dangers of certain conditions, so I usually take the pertinent bits of Spring and Fall for SE NH, Monadnock, Sunapee, etc. Yesterday I managed to get out and did and out and back along a portion of the Wapack. It's not awesome with everything brown and grey and dead looking, but it's still a big boost over the couch and Netflix, and provides the opportunity to go to places that I otherwise wouldn't.

"Shoulder Season" kind of make sense to me as the two times surrounding the greater or more important or whatever times/seasons that kind of ramp up and come down/transition. I don't know if that's what it's supposed to mean, but it's how I think of it. "Stick Season" works too though, I guess I use both phrases, stick for the views, shoulder for the conditions?


Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:39 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
I find that it's not just the footwear but also clothing and layering. We did Tremont last weekend and barebooted up to the summit with no problems but put on the stabilicers for the way down. Goretex shell going up, long sleeves at the summit, mid-weight layer coming down and still stopped to change out again before we were out.
I look at it as having all that gear in the pack will get the legs ready for the winter pack weight.

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Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:27 pm
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
I'm in the "meh" category.

Yes, it sucks.

Yes, spikes on rocks sucks.

Yes, no spikes on ice sucks.

I will still hike 4Ks, gotta keep myself busy, keep the legs in shape, keep myself off the streets, keep myself sane.

Shoulder season b/c in between "peak" seasons was my understanding.

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Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:44 pm
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
My shoulders do hurt more this time of year so I agree. 8)

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Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:43 pm
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
Kathy wrote:
I will still hike 4Ks


Well duuhh! :D

I won't be hiking the NH4K's if I can help it, but it has nothing to do with shoulder season.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:08 pm
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
shoulder season is awesome!
Image

you just have to know where to go :D

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Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:04 pm
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
kpmmbm wrote:
shoulder season is awesome!
Image

you just have to know where to go :D


Mount Jefferson??

Great picture in any season, but we must have two totally different definitions of shoulder season.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:20 pm
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
yup, from Jefferson this past Saturday

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Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:14 am
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 Re: Is it just me, or does shoulder season suck?
kpmmbm wrote:
shoulder season is awesome!
Image

you just have to know where to go :D


I could see that under-cast and thought anyone in the Presi's was having a great day. :) Looks like it started in Crawford Notch and extended north.

Image

Of coarse, the up side to all of this is I did not see a soul until I was on my descent. Having the
summit of Chocorua to myself on such a gorgeous day was pretty cool.

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Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:17 am
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