|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Flume, Mt. Liberty, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Truman, Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Garfield, South Twin Mountain (attempt), Mt. Guyot (attempt), Mt. Bond (attempt), Bondcliff (attempt), NH|
||Lincoln Woods Trail, Osseo Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Franconia Brook Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, December 20, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Ice - Black, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Drifts |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The water crossings on Franconia Brook were significant. The water is high. At points you have to hop on icy rocks, at other you have to trust and walk across marginal ice. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Overall, pretty good. Some blow downs. Just be careful not to get misdirected off the trails by them. It's getting easy to get lost due to the deep snow. |
|Lost and Found:
||TLDR; Pemi Loop Attempt - Bailed Out. Snow is deep and soft (about 6+ inches everywhere with drifts many feet) . Remote trails were untouched. Expect a lot of exhausting trail breaking. Watch out for buried ice and slippery rocks.|
The climb up Osseo trail to Flume was brutal with deep snow drifts on the lee side of the ridge (same going up to Little Haystack). I am not a fan of snowshoes, but I should have put them on at the parking lot (instead of spikes) and made for more efficient travel on the approach. This is the time of year where the snow is soft and those trails were essentially untouched. That wore me out fast, particularly on the steep slope where drifts were often many feet deep. I was up past the steep section of Osseo before I put mine on.
Downhill and level travel was relatively efficient in the soft even snow. The snow is deep enough now that the unevenness of the terrain is masked and not a significant factor. However, there is a lot of boilerplate black ice under the fresh snow and it will take you for a ride. It is very difficult to get traction on that ice/rock, especially in snowshoes.
I had to transition to spikes on the Franconia Ridge trail past Haystack. It was all hard alpine ice up there and the snowshoes simply could not get traction. Besides, moving in snowshoes on that terrain was too slow. I put my snowshoes back on after Lafayette and kept them on for the remainder of the day.
By the time I was on Lafayette I was feeling how spent I normally want to feel when I am on South Twin. It was 10 miles of hard trail breaking at that point. My legs were fried. I had budgeted 18 hours for the loop and there was no way I was going to make it in less than 20, and probably much worse. Now knowing how bad things might get passed South Twin, and despite good but cold weather, I decided I'd bail out via Franconia Brook to get back to the car at Lincoln Woods.
If there is anyone that wants a partner for single day Pemi loops, let me know. I do these fairly often as training for bigger mountains, but in the winter it's a different game and I think some company trail breaking would be a big help!
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.