|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Monroe, Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson, NH|
||Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, Crawford Path, Monroe Loop, snowfields, Trinity Heights Connector, Gulfside, Jefferson Loop, Cog Rail Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, April 24, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||$10 per person at Cog lot. Main hiker lot was full mid-morning, so parked in the lot across the road. |
||Dry Trail, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Ice - Blue, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow - Drifts, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Ammo crossings were hoppable on wet rocks. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||I recollect two smaller blowdowns and one mid sized blowdown on Ammo. Sphinx Col junction sign down. |
|Lost and Found:
||Surprisingly, the snow started immediately. Some patchy mud along the spur, but full snowpack starting at the junction with the spur down to the USFS lot. I barebooted up to the pool, but there was also plenty for snowshoeing (or skinning).|
Snowshoes went on for the actual ascent. Full snowpack. Occasional hints of old monorail, but otherwise generally wet powder or spring snow, often with a trough. Breezed by barebooters and Microspikers spinning their wheels. The ice bulge prior to the top crossing is re-emerging from the snowpack; looked like Microspikers were slipping off it. Mountain snowshoes gripped the soft ice just fine. Deeper snowpack above the top water crossing, with one blaze still only a few inches above the snowpack. Probably 2-5 feet of snowpack, generally in the 3 foot range.
Once in the scrub, the footprints go all over the place. With snowshoes still on, I attempted to use the kosher trail (some parts hadn't seen use in some time). Barebooters are ending up on the other side of the hut.
From the hut onward, it was really sad to see what the barebooters/Microspikers/cramponers are doing to the alpine growth. Rather than trying to push through the deep drifts, they're literally walking across the maroon alpine plants. Virtually everyone today was doing that!
I barebooted up the Monroe Loop, as the upper half only had a trace of snow. Back at the hut (snow still reaches the roof), I put on snowshoes for the climb up Washington. As noted in the previous paragraph, tracks are deviating from the trail, through the alpine growth. I stayed on the trail, breaking it out. On the summit cone proper, I cut through a nice snowfield, then took off my snowshoes near the towers. Windy on the summit mid-day, but not enough to get knocked over.
I barebooted down Trinity Heights and onto Gulfside. Once again, lots of folks barebooting on alpine vegetation right now. I postholed through some drifts to stay on the trail (opted for snowshoes on the return). Pretty close to full snowpack from the West Side junction into Sphinx Col.
Above Sphinx Col, there are patchy drifted areas, some mud, some residual ice, and lots of bare ground. Not nearly enough snow from Sphinx Col to Jefferson to snowshoe at this point.
For the return trip, I wore snowshoes from Sphinx Col up to the Clay-Washington col, then cut through a snow field to the Cog Rail Trail.
Cog Rail Trail had just about full snow coverage up high with two exceptions - one just near the start of the steeper part (can still get around on snow) and one short stretch with some recent construction debris (can snowshoe around it; skiers were side stepping). The side slope is currently a no fall zone; I would not have been comfortable in Microspikes or tubular snowshoes (Tubbs Flex Alps were ideal).
Otherwise, it was just about wall to wall coverage down to about 4,200 feet. A bit more patchy below there until just before the water tank, at which point snowshoes came off (still plenty of snow visible in the woods). From there down, there were still pockets of snow, but not enough to warrant snowshoes or skis.
Pretty nice day above treeline. Partly sunny skies and warm temperatures. Winds were stiff at times, but a later start avoided any knock-over gusts. Saw some skiers and snowshoers, but also saw some classic late spring surprise folks - driving up from Massachusetts, planning to hike Mt. Washington in shorts and sneakers and carrying bottled water and a box of Cheez-Its as provisions.
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.