Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Slide Peak, Mt. Isolation, North Isolation, NH
Trails: Glen Boulder Trail, Davis Path, Isolation Spur, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 10, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Glen Ellis lot is still gated, but is snow free. We were able to park outside the gate, along the access road, this morning. By the afternoon, cars were lining Route 16 to this lot, all the way from Pinkham Notch. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, 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 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Two normally minor crossings on Glen Boulder were hoppable this morning, but required getting boots wet this afternoon. Not big enough crossings to cause much of an issue otherwise. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: We took out roughly half a dozen blowdowns on the Davis Path (north of the Isolation Trail junctions), but many still remain, a few of which obstruct the trail/make it hard to follow. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Glen Boulder Trail was initially snow free and fairly dry. Not too much snow prior to the water crossings. Fairly consistent starting between the crossings, perhaps around 2,500-2,600 feet in elevation. With the eastern exposure (morning sun), we were forced to put on snowshoes above the second crossing, as the snow was already pretty soft (and 2-3 feet deep). Snowshoes stayed on until the alpine zone sign, at which point the trail was snow free momentarily, then snow covered, and the snow free from treeline to Glen Boulder.

Snow free alpine walking continued until we reached the scrub above the boulder, at which point we instantly postholed and needed snowshoes again. Snowshoes stayed on until Slide Peak (summit bare), then came on again into the col and in the scrub, then were off again as we reached the next alpine area prior to the Davis Path junction.

Davis Path above treeline was bare and fairly dry.

Snowshoes immediately went back on as soon as we descended into the trees. Generally 3 to 4 feet of snowpack along the ridge. Trail was very vague in places, with faint signs of folks trying to follow it. Not much use at all on this stretch, which was nice because it meant minimal postholes.

Quasi-monorail started near the southern Isolation Trail junction and became a bit more prominent at the cut off just south of it. Monorail is not particularly elevated along this stretch yet. Snowpack remained all the way up to the top of the Isolation Spur.

Trail conditions became nasty on the return tip, as hoards of barebooters showed up from the Rocky Branch approach. Apparently the barebooting was bad enough that some were thinking it would be easier to climb up to Glen Boulder and hitch a ride back. Then we saw some postholers coming down from Glen Boulder, sinking up to their crotches in places, taking about 1.5 hours longer than us snowshoes. One pair who cane down this way said they were thinking about going out Rocky Branch to avoid the difficult conditions they had descended in. Yes, it was a Bizarro World of postholers. Simple answer: Don't go to Isolation with deep snowpack without snowshoes.

Even the more consolidated stretch of the Davis Path south of the Isolation Trail was getting sloppy from the postholers. Fairly nasty in places above it back up toward the Glen Boulder approach, particularly in the sunny spots. We did the short bushwhack to North Isolation (including a false start south of it, where I jumped in too soon and hit scrub, so we retreated and jumped in a hundred yards later with much easier woods).

Even more concerning was when we reached Slide Peak on our ascent, only to encounter folks once again without snowshoes, in shorts, planning to go to Isolation. It was already past 2 PM. Some of the postholers were friendly, but I do think there's a decent chance there will be an emergency call this evening. Anyone who went this far without snowshoes should be liable for their entire rescue cost.

Warm day with temperatures starting in the 40s (snow did not set up last night), climbing into the 70s. A bit cloudier than expected, which made the snow firm enough to support snowshoes without sinking in most places. There was some steady rain along the Route 16 corridor late this afternoon/evening (Conway to Tamworth), but unsure if the front extended north of the Sandwich Range.  
Name: rocket21 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-04-10 
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