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 Trip suggestions for first winter summit 
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:02 am
Posts: 19
Location: Brighton, MA
 Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Next Saturday, January 30th, I'm looking to summit my first 4K-footer in the winter. For the winter hikers in this forum, which mountains would you advise I tackle first?

Thoughts:

Pierce
Wildcats
Kinsmans
Liberty/Flume (not slide trail)
Hancocks

Thanks for the recommendations!

Also, if anyone is interested, I will be hiking solo and would be willing to meet up with anyone who would be interested in joining!

Thanks!


Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:59 pm
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
I'd go with Pierce. It was my first in winter (conditions), and it wasn't really difficult at all. Just bring extra layers, as the last 0.1 mi is somewhat exposed.

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Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:48 pm
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Peak Bagger
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Add Waumbek, Moriah, Cabot and any of the Carters to your short list, and take off the Hancocks and Wildcats.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:02 am
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
I don't know your experience or abilities so these are based on nothing more than my experience with them in winter...

I agree with Kevin. The Wildcats can have a tough stretch in winter you might want some experience with spikes or crampons just in case conditions warrant it. The Hancocks as a winter hike are best right after a foot of snow for some great butt sliding or later in winter if the snow has built up enough along the ridge between them to see over the pines and get bonus views.

There's nothing wrong with Pierce other than it's boring (don't tell Kathy I said that) but if you don't have snowshoes and/or spikes or are doing this in baby steps so to speak it's probably a good choice. Packed down enough by heavy use to bare boot I'll guess and never really steep enough to need the spikes, although if it's hard packed they'd be handy. Almost certainly the easiest of the bunch.

Kinsman's make for a great hike in winter. Lots of nice views, Lonesome Lake along the way and just a couple spots where it might be icy on the last steeper ascents. Don't waste it on a bad weather day.

Liberty by itself has a fairly steep and boring trail up it, but the best summit of the bunch. It was actually my wife's first winter 4K last year http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8400 . Again I wouldn't waste this one on a bad day, and if you have the gas in the tank for Flume too it would probably be my first choice.

If it snows on you and all hope for views are lost head for South Carter. Zeta pass has some beautiful woods, especially when snow covered, but you won't miss a thing if the summit is socked in and it's very tame as far as the hike goes.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:57 am
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:02 am
Posts: 19
Location: Brighton, MA
 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Thanks for all the recommendations, y'all.

I'm not an expert mountaineer, but I've been hiking up in the Whites the last two years, have 10/48 under my belt in spring and summer and consider myself physically fit. I'm anxious to summit a 4K in winter and can't wait to do so!

Snowshoes✔️Micros✔️Ice axe✔️ Winter clothing✔️

I generally like to tackle multiple 4K in one loop, but with this being my first winter hike I'll probably summit one, unless it's the kinsmans.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:43 am
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
I wouldn't advise the Kinsmans via Lonesome Lake as a first/one of the first winter hikes. Those ledges on the upper end of the Fishin' Jimmy tend to be nothing but thick ice. Now, the Kinsmans via the Mt. Kinsman Trail from Rt. 116 is a different story, you still have the ledges going up North Kinsman but you are above the worst of it.

Avoid the Wildcats for a while until you get the feel for this.

To add to Kevin's list, Tom and/or Field could be an option. Of course, it's always most efficient to add Willey to those 2 in one hike, which may or may not be too much for your first winter hike (nothing particularly tricky terrain-wise if you do it from the Crawford Depot side, the ladders going up from the Ethan Pond Trail, well, can be "interesting").

Pierce tends to be the usual "first" recommendation due to moderate grades throughout and only a brief stretch of exposure near the summit. If the visibility is poor though, watch for the turn back onto the Crawford Path after coming back from the summit.

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Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:26 pm
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Granite Guy wrote:
There's nothing wrong with Pierce other than it's boring (don't tell Kathy I said that)


I HEARD THAT!!!!!!!

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Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:44 pm
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Looking for views? Can't beat summit views from either Pierce or as G-to-the-power-of-two said, Liberty. Both have less than exciting approach hikes. In the trees for both, but the plus side of that is you are protected.

Looking for experience in the woods in the winter doing a 4K? Tecumseh should be added to the list. I know. I know. BUT for those pursuing "the" list (again, I know. I know. I can see all of you rolling your eyes.) it is a necessary hike and one that can be used as a testing ground for clothing layers, gear performance, hydration, stamina, perseverance, tolerance....

I think it was Kevin who suggested adding both Waumbek and any of the Carters. I would throw my balaclava in for Waumbek. Another with less than stellar views but a nice test hike with cool views from Starr King along the way, and a Presi view just past summit. If the Carters I would suggest Carter Dome, which follows the theme of an exciting rating of about .3 for views but for me it's not all about the views.

I will mention Garfield b/c I think it's an easy hike, despite the now-requisite road walk. The view makes up for it IMHO.

Whatever you do, OP, please let us know so we can keep tabs on your adventure. 8)

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Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:50 pm
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
After not climbing much at all in a while, I hit Tecumseh this week, and I know it's nobody's #1 favorite, but it was a great time, a decent view, and would be an excellent choice for 1st W4K.

My first was Tom, as suggested by Matt. It's inefficient if you're doing "the list," but I had an amazing time and it might have a better view in Winter (although may need some more snow for that.)

Probably not a lot more to say that hasn't been said. If you haven't winter hiked at all before, you can absolutely have a great day acclimating to conditions in shorter easier trails. I started on Places like Major, Hedgehog, Boulder Loop, Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch), Middle/Peaked, Lonesome Lake, Arethusa Falls. . . all of these are shorter, lower, moderate grades, well enough traveled to be broken out and not all alone even on a weekday.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:58 pm
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Peak Bagger
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
I'd second the suggestion re: Tecumseh as a 1st hike. Good choice.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:42 pm
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Tecumseh was our 2cd winter, Tom was our first. We did well on both, and I am NOT a winter person and I am slow, so this may give you an idea on their feasability. We did Waumbek one early Easter. Technically that is spring, but the conditions were wintery. We did Moriah in the early spring as well, definitely appreciating our microspikes (allowing us to do in ten minutes what a couple barebooters did in an hour). So I think those two are manageable as well. Have fun and keep us posted!


Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:51 pm
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
I'll second Moriah. From the Gorham trail head its 4ish mile east ascent with a few PUDs. Great views into the great gulf along the way. It was my first (and my nieces) winter 4k. Nothing really exposed save for the peak itself. I did it as a loop starting from Bangor rd and quite a bit if a road walk. But an out and neck would be fine Tecumseh would be great also due to its newish views. It all depends on how far you'd want to drive. Waumbek... Blechk. There is a reason madmattd said it was a rainy day hike. Cabot? Yeah it's an easy hike but that's a long drive for most. The carters you may as well go when it's a blizzard unless you check out mt. Hight. The rest of the peaks are a snoozefest. I agree with Garfield being a good one. The road walk is a mile each way and a flat snow mobile track. Easy peasy. Pierce is likely to be tracked out and a cakewalk. And give you a taste of above treeline for the last tenth of a mile. Thebkinsmans would be cool. The fishing Jimmy trail may be an icy mess in spots. Liberty and flume would be awesome if you don't mind the long out and back on a good day. In the end I say Moriah. Damn solid peak and a few views on the way.


Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:14 pm
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:02 am
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Location: Brighton, MA
 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Thanks everyone! I appreciate the feedback and responses.

Looks like I'm down to:

Garfield
Liberty/Flume
Moriah

Each of the three above are peaks on "the list" that I still have yet to summit.

I'll be sure to post my trip next Sunday!


Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:39 am
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Kevin Rooney wrote:
I'd second the suggestion re: Tecumseh as a 1st hike. Good choice.


Third. Now that there is actually a decent view from the top of Tecumseh... it's definitely worthy.

My first winter 4k was Pierce. Watch out for sledders.

Moriah offers up some killer views of the Presi range. If that's one of the three you're down to, I'd do that one.

Also, don't neglect the fact that some of the best winter hiking in NH occurs on mountains <4000 feet. IMO, many of the best winter trails are the ones not worth doing in summer.

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:40 am
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 Re: Trip suggestions for first winter summit
Since we're sort of on it -- Stony Brook Trail up Moriah in Winter? I'm not likely headed there anytime soon, but if/when I get to it, is there anything to know about or avoid here?

Also, Jamie, please do share specifics! Especially if there are some trails that, as you mention, can be best in Winter, I'm always looking for whatever is best for the particular time.


Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:26 pm
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