Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Madison (attempt), NH
Trails: Great Gulf Trail, Osgood Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, February 26, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: It isn't very clear where one is allowed to park at the Great Gulf Trailhead. The lot was empty. We parked at the end, next to the restrooms. It was plowed except for a thin layer of snow, but a few inches more snow fell during the day, which was not plowed by the time we left (around 6pm). There are two restrooms, but the door to one of them is blocked by ice on the ground. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Ice - Blue, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow - Drifts 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction, Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Other than the suspension bridge across Peabody River, there are several brooks, but all can be jumped in a single bound; some are hidden under snow, so one should treat any dip in the trail with suspicion. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Along the start of Great Gulf Trail, there are several ski trail maps at intersections with ski trails; it would be helpful if those maps had a "You are here" showing the current location. (One did have a red thumbtack showing this.)

The steep part of Osgood Trail from Osgood Tentsite turnoff up to treeline is overgrown with evergreens - one must push through many small branches to proceed.

We attempted Madison via a route not often hiked in winter, along Great Gulf Trail and Osgood Trail (not the part of Osgood Trail between Madison Spring Hut and the Mt. Madison summit, but the longer part of Osgood Trail on the east side of the summit). We turned back at a point above treeline just before Osgood Junction because of lack of time and because one member of the group was feeling ill.

We used snowshoes for most of the hike up to treeline. (We started with bare boots and microspikes on Great Gulf Trail because it seemed partly packed, but we soon realized that that was a mistake and that we would have been better off putting on our snowshoes right after crossing the suspension bridge.)

The first 1.6 mi of Great Gulf Trail is used also by skiers, who have packed down the snowy trail partially. There is a large boulder just beyond 1.6 mi, and we were breaking trail from that boulder on, including all of Osgood Trail up to treeline. There was no evidence of anyone having hiked this part of Osgood Trail recently, but it was not hard to guess where the trail was, from the gaps in the trees. Osgood Trail below treeline was unpacked snow, ranging from a foot deep to a few feet deep (higher up there were drifts). Above treeline, it was a mixture of exposed rocks and snow drifts surrounding them.

Snowshoes are recommended for Great Gulf Trail and are currently mandatory for Osgood Trail from its start on Great Gulf Trail up to treeline. The middle of Osgood Trail above Osgood Tentsite is steep enough to make it challenging to ascend and descend it on snowshoes without slipping (we slid down a few sections on the way down), but the snow is deep and loose enough that crampons plus ice axe would not work very well either. Above treeline, perhaps crampons or sharp microspikes would be best, although there is quite a bit of snow to posthole in between the rocks even up there.  
Name: mathbp 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-02-26 
Link: https:// 
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