Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams, Mt. Madison, NH
Trails: Caps Ridge Trail, Jefferson Loop, Gulfside, Israel Ridge Path, Airline, Osgood Trail, Howker Ridge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: No other cars at Caps Ridge, as well as no others at Randolph East. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Ice - Black, Ice - Blue, Snow - Drifts, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow/Ice - Small Patches, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Light Traction, Goggles 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The one crossing down low on Howker Ridge was easily hopped. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: One blowdown on Caps Ridge requiring a go around. Five blowdowns on Howker Ridge, one I'll refer to as a "slide under", because you had to grab the tree and swing yourself under it, sliding down the icy rock under it. I would not recommend descending Howker Ridge Trail under the current conditions, there are countless icy sections, especially on the steepest sections, requiring extreme care. Also, at the junction with the Bear Pit spur, the trail turns right (we didn't see the sign in the dark). Trails in great shape otherwise. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Jefferson Notch Road was still open, with a light coating of snow above about 2300 (on both sides), and was passable in my front wheel drive sedan. Barebooted to Jefferson, and down to just beyond the snowfield before Edmands Col, wore microspikes from there. Lots of beautiful rime formations on the rocks and signs today. Highest winds of the day were on Adams, with winds on Washington gusting into the 60's from about 10:30 on. Tedious descent from Adams to the hut. Took at break at Madison Hut, hanging out in the sun on the east side of the hut.

Winds were still fairly high on Madison, but we pushed over the summit and down to Howker Ridge. Howker Ridge took about 4 hours to descend, as it was exceedingly steep and icy, making for treacherous travel at best. Thought about pulling out the crampons, but they would have soon been dulled by the mixed ice/rock conditions we encountered. A great day above treeline for sure, but a slightly terrifying descent. In by headlamp, out by headlamp. Thanks for another great one Mike!  
Name: Bill Robichaud 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2012-12-13 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

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