Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Adams (attempt), Mt. Madison (attempt), NH
Trails: Air Line, Upper Bruin, Valley Way
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 14, 2013
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking at the Appalachia traihead parking lot -- it's completely clear. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Ice - Blue, Snow - Drifts, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow - Wet/Sticky, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow/Ice - Postholes, Snow - Spring Snow 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Water crossings are not an issue. Snow bridges down low have eroded/melted through. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Air Line is in great shape -- only one small step-over blowdown, about a half mile before treeline. Lower Bruin is clear of blowdowns. Valley Way has one small-diameter (handsaw) duck-under blowdown, one large-diameter (chainsaw) duck (crawl)-under blowdown, and one medium-sized step-over. Near the Madison Spring hut, it appears that the sign/cairn for the Air Line Cutoff has toppled (some time ago; it's now a small pile covered over in ice/snow) but the important item to note is that there's a foot-long piece of rebar sticking out of the pile -- about shin-height. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Believe it or not, saw some small flies drifting about down low on the Valley Way, near the trailhead. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: We saw the forecast for the day and thought -- just possibly -- that we might get an occasional break in the clouds up top early in the afternoon (or at least some nice undercast). We headed up the Air Line with the goal of going up Mt. Adams.

On the way up, we were treated to snow showers with nice breaks in the clouds, sun, and patches of blue sky.

However, above treeline conditions deteriorated with poor visibility, clouds, and steady wind-driven snow pellets. (Snowshoeing on this stuff was like walking on styrofoam ball-bearings -- fun!) We turned back a short distance from the Gulfside Trail intersection, backtracked down to the Upper Bruin, and headed over to Valley Way, thinking that by the time we reached the Madison Spring hut, we might get a break in the clouds and could head up Mt. Madison, instead. On Valley Way, we could see blue skies open up near the summit of Mt. Madison.

But, at the hut, we were back in the clouds and snow pellets. We waited for a bit in the wind, and decided to head back down. The peaks will be there another day.

Note about trail conditions: Foot bed on Air Line is in great shape -- packed snow with some softening down low and nice powder (and snow pellets) up top, with a bit of drifting above treeline. Above treeline, there are some sections of blue ice with a light coating of powder on them.

Upper Bruin is slow going -- crusty, steep sideslope snow with limited purchase.

Valley Way is packed out -- soft conditions down below alternating with stretches of blue ice where the trail runs near Snyder Brook, gradually changing to granular midway up and then to new powder with some drifts up top near the hut.

We used snowshoes just about the entire way; they provided good grip on the soft snow at lower elevations. Light traction on the lower, icy stretches of Valley Way was all that was needed.

Name: Pancks and Tesco Heaney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2013-04-15 
Link: http:// 
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