Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks South Twin Mountain, North Twin Mountain, Galehead Mountain, NH
Trails: Gale River Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Twinway, North Twin Spur, Frost Trail, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, May 24, 2020
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Gale River Road open. Lot was about 2/3 full this afternoon, with all but two out of state. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Ice - Blue, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Snow/Ice - Monorail (Unstable), Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Crossing near the parking lot is close to normal levels and is rock hoppable. The relo crossing is higher than normal levels and requires some careful footwork, but was crossable this morning an afternoon. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Blowdowns of varying sizes throughout. I cut out a few on the Twinway and Gale River Trail. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Black flies were out down low, but not bad if moving. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: There is still a lot of snow at elevation; shorts and sneakers are not a good idea.

Gale River Trail was mostly dry up to the Garfield Stream crossing. The first half of the relo is about as dry as I've ever seen it. Wet trail and muck started before the viewpoint. Patchy monorail started soon thereafter, and consistent snowpack started around 3,000 feet (roughly around the transition out of hardwood/start of the steep steps). Spikes were adequate to get up to the hut this morning and afternoon, though there is 1-3 feet remaining.

Twinway was also spikeable this morning, though I was nearly forced to snowshoe the upper portion on my return due to the softening snow. Other than a few exposed rocks and some stretches near the summit, this trail is still well endowed with snow, generally around 3 feet deep.

Deepest snow of the day was on the North Twin Spur between the peaks. Snowshoes roundtrip. The initial descent off South Twin was 5 feet deep and soft. Snowshoes floated just fine, but I did see a cramponer go up to their nether-regions and let out a painful sound. Snowpack was a little more firm under canopy in the col, trending closer to 3 to 4 feet deep. Particularly in the circumstances, it's a risky endeavor to go between these peaks without at least carrying snowshoes until we get some more melting.

Frost Trail from the hut was initially patchy (e.g. the south facing rocks), but was full snowcover pretty much everywhere else (except for the ledgy scrambles, which were a combination of ice (soft enough for spikes to get purchase today) and running water. Spikes were adequate on the monorail.

From the summit, I decided to bushwhack to the Garfield Ridge Trail. I went roughly due north (using my shadow as my primary navigation device) and had good going (on snowshoes obviously; can't step off the monorail without sinking right now) to 3,800 feet. I hit spruce and cliffs for about 100 vertical feet, then hit better woods for the balance of the way to the trail, though the last portion was tricky due to undermined snowpack (from runoff). If I were to try it again, I might attempt to go further west.

Lots of unprepared hikers unfortunately. Many in shorts and trail runners with no spikes and certainly no snowshoes (I did see one other snowshoer, who was making great time; yes, you can snowshoe on monorail without too much effort!). Others with very aggressive itineraries, planning to hike trails seldom-used in winter (and thus no monorail) with no flotation. Some were stronger than others, but I nevertheless hope SAR doesn't get called because of someone getting injured or stranded from exhaustion. The temperatures are summer-like, but the conditions are anything but. Perhaps the image of the day was a person attempting to descend a steep, icy area - no spikes, but they had their mask on!

Beautiful weather. Nice sampling of wildflowers out down low, including trillium and trout lily.  
Name: rocket21 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2020-05-24 
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