Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, NH
Trails: Jewell Trail, Gulfside, Jefferson Loop, Cog Rail Trail, Crawford Path, Monroe Loop, Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Parked at Ammonoosuc Lot off the Cog Road. This large, paved lot is plowed after storms. It is a fee lot ($5 per day or WMNF pass) and has two privies. These were cleaned and stocked this morning. Trash cans also available. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Wet/Sticky, Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The only water crossings worth noting are on Ammonoosuc. As descending, the Gem Pool is back to winter conditions. Nice snow bridge, water ensconced in snow. After this there is a larger crossing that was accomplished on rocks. The final crossing of the Franklin Brook was only accomplished by getting by boots wet. This large crossing involves dropping down to the water, crossing on submerged rocks, accessing the island in the middle, then crossing the final piece on more submerged rocks. Achieveable, just means probably getting boots wet. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Several seen flying in lower elevations. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Route:

Jewell > Gulfside (AT) > Mt Jefferson Loop and back to Jewell jct > Gulfside to Cog Railway (see notes) > Crawford Path (AT) > Mt Monroe Loop and back to > Ammonoosuc Ravine.

Jewell: Well blazed in blue for winter travel with supplemental cairns above treeline. One set of snowshoe prints descending. It has been mostly broken out. I used snowshoes as the snow was absurdly soft.

Gulfside to Jefferson summit: large cairns mark the route. Most of these are visible above the deep snow pack. Snowshoes for the entirety. Very few, and very spaced out bony areas that do not lend to spike employment. Plus, I relished in the freedom to walk where I wished in snowshoes. Too bony for 5 feet? No sweat! Just walk around it on the 6 inches of spring snow. Drifts also held my weight so I just walked over these. My biggest issue were the side hills just after Jewell jct. These were so sketchy this morning when they were still a bit icy on top. When I returned, the ambient air had warmed enough to make the semi-iced areas tacky. It is still unnerving to cross parallel as you look down at a substantial slide should you loose footing. I also made my own path across Monticello Lawn. I did not punch through so I made quick, but lung bursting work, shortcutting some of the trail. If you are in spikes, please do not follow my route. You will trample the vegetation. The established route is broken out. Descending I altered my path so as to not create pressure areas over the tender vegetation. One, and only one, hiker met while he was descending. We both commented on the lack of human traffic. He was also in showshoes, because he was awesome!!

Mt Jefferson Loop: large cairns mark the route. These were nearly all visible today. There are some that remain buried from the prior storms. Snowshoes for this trail. It was warming quickly making snow very pliable. I mostly stuck to the cairns, but with snowshoes I capitalized on the freedom to avoid the edges that the trail takes the hiker near.

Gulfside to Cog Railway: marked with large cairns. Most were visible above the snow pack. Nice, spring snow that facilitated quick movement in snowshoes. No sidehilling. Do not use spikes or bare boots until the snow melts. It is still quite deep up here (6-10 inches). Once in sight of the Cog, I just went "cross country style" and walked freely in snow shoes over to the railway. No path, no cares. I wasn't punching through.

Cog Railway: I used snowshoes to walk on whatever firm surface I could find. Many ski tracks. Many postholes. I personally watched 3 persons postholing as they spiked down this trail. Insert sigh. Cog path taken all the way to the buildings.

Crawford Path: this is the AT, but is marked with large cairns above treeline. I saw postholes following the initial descent from Washington's summit cone so I made a bit of my own path. I rejoined the Crawford about 0.4 below the cone. The path was a mix of deep spring snow (read mashed potatoes), tacky ice, and spots of open trail. Rocks are starting to protrude through the snow pack. I used snowshoes without issue. The snowfield just before the hut took me some time to negotiate. There is not a solid trough to traverse this. So it took me quite awhile to ensure solid footing with my snowshoes as I sidehilled this portion. It is not long, but quite unnerving as you watch just how far you will slide if you fall. I would not fault a hiker for using traction or crampons on this segment.

Mt Monroe Loop: marked with large cairns that are all visible. I used spikes for the first portion that is visible from the hut. I was a mix of shallow snow, ice and bare trail. Above this, the trail is nearly clear of snow so I walked, or rather stumbled, in bare boots to the summit. After months on some form of augmented footwear, I was in a completely foreign area with just plain boots. Any small pieces of ice were negotiated using rocks. Two small pools of mud as well.

Ammonoosuc Ravine: snowshoes from end to end. Marked with cairns above treeline, excellent blue blazing below treeline. You will have to make your own route from tree line to the hut. Several snowshoe and ski tracks diverge widly as the cairns cannot be seen above the still monsterous drifts. This particular Presidential still has a magnificent amount of snow. One bare booter out to make a mess. Many postholes along the trail. It was quite the adventure to descend. The snow pack is alarmingly high. The poor, poor souls that broke this trail had a huge feat to accomplish!! Below treeline and to the Gem Pool is just a mess. Tree bombs added to the already deep snow, which made any prior trailbreaking efforts messy and unconsolidated. But it is spring, and that's just how it goes. Prepare for additional time negotiating the thick, soft spring snow.

After the junction with the Cog parking cutoff I got the trail back to myself. There was one set of snowshoe prints ahead of me. The trail had been partially broken out under that. But the snow was incredibly soft and would be a nightmare in boots/spikes until more snow melts.  
Name: Remington34 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2024-04-09 
Link: https:// 
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