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 Seeking advice on 25th 4K...First official winter hike 

What 4K should we attempt next?
Poll ended at Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:24 am
Hancocks  0%  [ 0 ]
Carrigan  20%  [ 1 ]
Tecumseh  80%  [ 4 ]
Passaconaway  0%  [ 0 ]
Waumbek  0%  [ 0 ]
Cabot + the Horn  0%  [ 0 ]
Wildcat D + Wildcat  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 5

 Seeking advice on 25th 4K...First official winter hike 
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 Seeking advice on 25th 4K...First official winter hike
I'm hoping to hike this weekend and looking for some feedback on what 4K to hike. I'm at 24/48 4Ks now. We did 3 hikes the 1st 3 weeks of Dec, but haven't done any official winter hikes. What 4K should we attempt next? Here are some I was considering that we haven't done yet....

1) Mt. Hancock + S. Hancock (not sure about the steeper parts near the peaks tho)
2) Mt Carrigan (looks like about 14 miles total w/ the ~4 mile sawyer river rd walk)
3) Mt Tecumseh (I've done it solo, but my gf has not)
4) Mt Passaconaway via Oliverian brook/passaconaway cutoff (not sure about crossings tho)
5) Mt Waumbek (the easiest option so far besides maybe Tecumseh)
6) Mt Cabot + the Horn (not sure about driving my Altima on York road tho)
7) Wildcat D + Wildcat via Wildcat ridge tr (not sure about steep begining section tho)

Which option would pick? I'd appreciate your vote and feedback on my questions/commentary).

Thanks!


Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:24 am
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 Re: Seeking advice on 25th 4K...First official winter hike
Dunc4 wrote:
I'm hoping to hike this weekend and looking for some feedback on what 4K to hike. I'm at 24/48 4Ks now. We did 3 hikes the 1st 3 weeks of Dec, but haven't done any official winter hikes. What 4K should we attempt next? Here are some I was considering that we haven't done yet....

1) Mt. Hancock + S. Hancock (not sure about the steeper parts near the peaks tho)
2) Mt Carrigan (looks like about 14 miles total w/ the ~4 mile sawyer river rd walk)
3) Mt Tecumseh (I've done it solo, but my gf has not)
4) Mt Passaconaway via Oliverian brook/passaconaway cutoff (not sure about crossings tho)
5) Mt Waumbek (the easiest option so far besides maybe Tecumseh)
6) Mt Cabot + the Horn (not sure about driving my Altima on York road tho)
7) Wildcat D + Wildcat via Wildcat ridge tr (not sure about steep begining section tho)

Which option would pick? I'd appreciate your vote and feedback on my questions/commentary).

Thanks!


Depends on the weather. If it's a blue sky day definitely head for Carrigain.

For the Hancocks check trail conditions. Those steeps could be dangerously icy if they're not covered well with snow.

Which way would you be attacking the Wildcats from? I personally wouldn't advise tackling the southern section from route 16 to E peak if icy and the slide from Carter Notch is no bargain either.

If it's cloudy or snowing I'd hike Tecumseh. You've seen the views before, wouldn't miss much anyhow and can grab a beer in the lodge after! :D

The rest all fall into the same category. Not hard hikes and decent views here and there if the weather is ok, but not missing much if it's not. A couple long drives there too you might want to wait for longer daylight hours unless you like getting up super early or finishing with a headlamp.


Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:40 am
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Yeah, I would say no to Hancocks and Wildcats at this point given the ice. Seconding what GG said about the Wildcat route. If you had your heart set on it, I would take the ski trail and then do and out and back to Wildcat A.

I've never done Passaconaway via that route so I can't comment.

If it were up to me, I would choose Waumbek for an easier option and Carrigain for a challenge. If it's a clear day, the view cuts on Wambek now allow for some great looks at the Presis.

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:35 am
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Tecumseh and Waumbek are of course the easiest of that bunch.

Passaconaway isn't terribly hard, though long, from Ferncroft via Dicey's Mill, and has only one trivial crossing (especially at current water levels). The Oliverian/Pass. Cutoff Is easy in the beginning, but the grade picks up pretty good once near the Square Ledge Trail, and from there to the summit. It also gets far less winter traffic, though that likely doesn't matter right now with the low snow accumulations.

Carrigain is 14 miles in winter, yep. Not terribly difficult, but long, and worthy of a nice day since the views are nice from Signal Ridge and the tower. Some exposure to weather along the ridge, though it is short.

The Hancocks are easy aside from the up/down the ridge portion as you noted. A TR from yesterday: http://newenglandtrailconditions.com/nh/viewreport.php?entryid=15255. Might be OK, but that's a call you have to make based on your comfort.

Cabot isn't bad in winter, and York Pond Road is kept plowed. Might be a little icy, so take it easy, but any car can get in there. I'm heading there this weekend myself. The Horn/The Bulge don't get much winter travel, and there are a couple tricky route-finding spots, so even with the current light snow cover I wouldn't advise adding The Horn and The Bulge unless you've done those trails before (and even then maybe not). The Bunnell Notch route to Cabot is fairly easy to follow and gets a fair bit of traffic. Just don't stop at the clearing near the cabin like a lot of folks do, the summit is another 3-4/10-mile away!

The Wildcats are a tough one in winter via the ridge trail. I've done the approach via Lost Pond and up to Wildcat E twice in full winter conditions. It is steep, with several tricky ledges, and I'd advise carrying crampons on that trail, especially right now. But I wouldn't recommend it right now. As GraniteGuy said, the section between Carter Hut and Wildcat A is no picnic either, that slide crossing needs to be watched out for. The easiest winter route is to pay the $10pp access fee and hike up the Polecat Ski Trail.


I'd definitely let the weather drive the hike choice. Any of the ones you listed can be done in such weather, but I'd definitely at least save Carrigain for a nice day, and the Cats too. Some nice views to be had from all of those (except Cabot), though Waumbek's is limited.

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:35 am
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The only winter 4K I've done is Willey (wouldn't recommend if you don't have rope/traction), but I'll cast another vote for Tecumseh. It's short, mostly moderate (except for the steep middle section that follows an old logging road), and the views are good, which is a good motivator to get to the top. Plus, like others have said, the ski area is always in close proximity, and you could refuel at the bottom :wink: .

The only other one I could recommend is Waumbek. The grade is mostly easy, with a few more moderate sections, but there are no views from the summit. Starr King, its subpeak, does have nice views to the south, so that hike does have some redeeming qualities. Like said before, your hike choice will depend on weather and your attitude toward steep trails.

Good luck! Winter hiking is a blast!

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:11 am
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hiker0200 wrote:
The only other one I could recommend is Waumbek. The grade is mostly easy, with a few more moderate sections, but there are no views from the summit. Starr King, its subpeak, does have nice views to the south, so that hike does have some redeeming qualities. Like said before, your hike choice will depend on weather and your attitude toward steep trails.


There is now a sizeable cut just beyond the Waumbek summit if you follow the Kilkenny Ridge Trail for another hundred feet or so (that is a complete approximation, I have no sense of distance...but it's not far). And the view from the chimney has been cleared. It's not disappointing.

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:14 am
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Thanks for the advice GG, Kelly K, madmatt and hiker0200. Lots of good notes on your suggestions

Ok, I will rule out the Hancocks and Wildcats...unless we use Pole Cat and pay the fee. Thanks for that tidbit Matt as I was curious if hiking up a ski trail was allowed, though it might be frowned upon, but god to know!

hiker0200 - I don't really have much of any knowledge on using ropes, so I should find out more about that....I also don't have an ice ax. Is that something that I should have?


Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:07 pm
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Dunc4 wrote:
Thanks for that tidbit Matt as I was curious if hiking up a ski trail was allowed, though it might be frowned upon, but god to know!


Lots of folks here and at VFTT have done the Wildcats as an out-and-back from the ski trail (I have not personally). In years past Wildcat let you do it without any questions but a number of issues in recent years (including folks sledding down the slopes, running into skiers, etc, and there was one sledding incident leading to a death a year or two ago) prompted Wildcat to charge for a "no-lift" type of pass for hikers to get them covered under the liability waiver or some such.

Note that many ski areas do prohibit walking/snowshoeing on the slopes (during ski season at least), so check with the ski area in question beforehand. Cannon prohibits hiking on ski trails altogether, and I believe Tecumseh as well, though both of those have fairly straight-forward hiking trails to use, whereas Wildcat's hiking trails are much more difficult (some would argue borderline technical) in winter.

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:22 pm
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Dunc4 wrote:
I don't really have much of any knowledge on using ropes, so I should find out more about that....I also don't have an ice ax. Is that something that I should have?


I always carry an axe in winter, but rarely truely need it. Lions head winter route is one of the few regularly used hiking trails you'll probably need it on. Most of the others are passable without it depending on your comfort level, traction choice and conditions, but it is not a bad idea to have one if you're venturing above treeline in the Whites, and as I'm sure someone would chime in if I don't say it, know how to use it. I use mine more for a third point of contact than a self arrest ebrake, but occasionall do both. It actually comes in handy for a lot more than self arrest on icy/rocky trails.

As for rope, and I'm not tryng to speak for him, just my .02, I've never used one, although I did make a couple harnesses for one just in case from some strapping and a locking caribeaner. Rarely even carry it though and hiker0200's experience with it was the only time I've heard of it being used on that trail, or any trail actually, other than a technical climb. Not saying he didn't need it or it didn't make life easier. Just never heard of it before on regular hiking trails.

Under normal conditions you can probably expect the ladders to look like this or maybe even covered to the point of not seeing them at all.

Image

Image


Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:46 pm
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I've used an axe for a third point of contact on a couple of winter hikes (Osceola's chimney bypass and I THINK Willey...memory is failing me). In both of those instances though, the lack of one wouldn't have meant that I was putting myself in harm's way....I just would have had to turn around. If the route I'm taking has steep sections that have a high risk of being icy, I'll throw it on my pack.

Image

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:51 pm
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York Pond Rd is plowed and sanded pretty much up to the gate. After that it was plowed with a small base of snow over it.
You could easily go from cabot to the bulge as it was broken out pretty well when brian and i did it.

Greg

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:18 pm
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I'll recommend Tecumseh for this Saturday given the forecast and the info you gave us. I'm actually thinking about it myself.

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Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:06 pm
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KellyK wrote:
There is now a sizeable cut just beyond the Waumbek summit if you follow the Kilkenny Ridge Trail for another hundred feet or so (that is a complete approximation, I have no sense of distance...but it's not far).

This was the view from that viewpoint just beyond Waumbek in March 2013:

Image


Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:58 am
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All things being said, and with snow in the forecast, I would pick Waumbek.
A good snowy day hike.
Image :)

I thought, and you would think Tecumseh for a bad weather day, until I read this report. Thanks Mike. :evil:

viewtopic.php?p=32445

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:48 am
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Matt - Can you clarify where the tricky sections you spoke are around The Bugle and The Horn? If I hiked an-out-and-back to Cabot via Bunnell Notch and continued onto Bugle/Horn would I be going thru what you spoke of? Or was that on the Unknown Pond Tr section?

We also want to hike next Fri after going to a Thu night concert, so I think we might want save Tecumseh for that day as it is a short hike and much closer to Concord.

I appreciate how helpful everyone on this site is, thanks!


Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:57 am
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