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the starchild
03-03-2006, 11:06 AM
good morning all,

this whole working thing really annoys me and i need to get away with only a 2 day weekend :( To keep things action packed and justify 9 hours of driving, I have the idea of a Franconia Ridge overnighter up flume slide to liberty springs to lafayette and down the OBP. i will either be with someone who is a strong hiker with limited cramp-on and axe experience, or possibly solo....if we can all agree on whatever solo means. if alone or the weather is bad, i'll probably hike liberty spring trail instead and set up camp before heading over to flume and liberty.

i have never climbed flume slide in any season. there are a lot of opinions online about the trail. Kinda seems like non-winter hikers believe its technicnal, super dangerious and crazy difficult in winter. Winter hikers and climbers seem to think its actually easier in winter as cramp-ons and ice are more secure then wet rock slabs and boots. I have also been told if its gets too hairy i can BW off to the side as well as having the trail compared to lion's head winter route (which is mad fun and i really enjoyed).

recent trip reports suggest there may be areas of just loose snow over slippery rock.

any beta or opinions anyone would like to share?

also, i unfortunatly haven't paid attention on past trips about possible campsites along the ridge to avoid hiking down to the platforms. i am pretty sure i remember a few spots in the cols that would be legal, its just national forest there right?

william

DougPaul
03-03-2006, 11:51 AM
Flume Slide Tr can be difficult in winter, but many do it. Depends on the conditions. Definitely take snowshoes, crampons, and ice axe. (If the snow is steep and deep, you may have to kick steps with your snowshoes.) If you decide that it is too much, back off. 50-100 ft of 6 or 7 mm climbing cord could be handy if you back off. (Just loop it around a tree, descend using the doubled line as a helper, and then just pull on one end to retrieve the cord.)

You should be able to camp in the region of the col between Flume and Liberty, but it might get a bit breezy. I know of a trip up Flume Slide Tr where they camped partway up the slide--just built snow platforms on the slope.

Doug

giggy
03-03-2006, 11:55 AM
as of last sat - there was probably 2 to 3 feet of snow off trail (up top) and I would guess you could find a spot to camp pretty easy - but once you top out - it ain't that far to the campsite over a well marked mostly protected trail

Kevin Rooney
03-03-2006, 01:55 PM
Hey Starchild -

Flume Slide in winter isn't my cup of tea, but as Doug points out, it's frequently done. As for camping - actually there's many areas in winter that would work. When topping out, if you turn right and head down about 1/2 mile it levels out somewhat. If you go left over the summit, there may be some areas in the col between Flume and Liberty. If not there, then definitely on the other side of Liberty as there's an overflow area on the ridge from the summer Liberty Springs campsite.

Sounds like a great way to work out/off the frustrations caused by the work thing.

nartreb
03-03-2006, 04:29 PM
Flume Slide is easy to get to on the highway, and attracts a lot of hikers who are expecting an easy walk like Liberty Spring. As rock scrambles go, it's short and not hard - the rock is solid with a good frequency of large, angular holds (a few slabby spots can be avoided by bushwhacking if needed, though that would be more difficult in winter). The thing that makes it scary and uncomfortable is that you get a lot of water running down it. In winter and spring, that means expect a lot of ice (underneath the snowdrifts, which some years pile up to the point of risking small avalanches). Not to be done lightly, but if you've got the gear and know how to use it, winter should be easier than spring.

The ridge is the border of the Pemi Wilderness, but the only extra rule (http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/recreation/camping/BackcountryCampingRules.php)
that applies the group size limit: 10 people.

Mike P.
03-03-2006, 05:46 PM
Old members here have even descended it. It should be done by people comfortable with their crampons & sure they are on right. Might be one of those trails in adverse conditions that would overwhelm Kahtoola's.

BTW, I emptied my In-basket on so I can get more PM's & I see it's the truck on the south side of the park.

the starchild
03-03-2006, 06:00 PM
thanks y'all.

great beta, kevin, that overflow spot was kinda what and where i had in mind. if i go i guess where i'll camp will be decided depending on wind!?!!?

i was also gonna bring some cord and hollow webbing to protect the tree if needed, thanks for that suggestion.

i was hoping to maybe possibly leave the snowshoes behind, but looks like more snow is mos def coming. why does it seem like weather always gets worse when i am planning a trip. aaarrrggggg!

another question, will hitching from the OBP parking lot to the flume slide lot be difficult? is it a pain for someone to get back on the highway and drop me off?

hey giggy, wanna fully convince me to bring a mtn axe and not a tech axe? i got a shrike, it can plunge for self belay but not as well or deep as my mtn axe. i know i read a few reports last night where people were saying tech axes might be better.

DougPaul
03-03-2006, 06:38 PM
great beta, kevin, that overflow spot was kinda what and where i had in mind. if i go i guess where i'll camp will be decided depending on wind!?!!?
There is flat terrain in either direction from Flume summit. Take your choice.


i was hoping to maybe possibly leave the snowshoes behind, but looks like more snow is mos def coming. why does it seem like weather always gets worse when i am planning a trip. aaarrrggggg!
There could be a good bit of snow up on the ridge. And if you want to get off trail to camp, they could be particularly useful.


another question, will hitching from the OBP parking lot to the flume slide lot be difficult? is it a pain for someone to get back on the highway and drop me off?
The bicycle path (snowmobile path in winter) makes an easy walk back to the car. If you park at the Basin, you will minimize this walk. (The parking lot south of the old Whitehouse Bridge site is about the same distance.) The bike path leaves the south side of the hiker parking lot on the west side of Rte 93.


hey giggy, wanna fully convince me to bring a mtn axe and not a tech axe? i got a shrike, it can plunge for self belay but not as well or deep as my mtn axe. i know i read a few reports last night where people were saying tech axes might be better.
I'm not giggy, but I'd take my mountaineering axe rather than my lightweight axe on this one...

Doug

HAMTERO
03-03-2006, 06:39 PM
we went up it about 4-5 weeks ago and it was no big deal with some crampons. You can use the trees for grip. Someone did an epic buttslide down the upper part before we got there.

giggy
03-03-2006, 07:14 PM
I haven't done it in winter - but if I were going, I would leave the shrike at home - (I have shrike's too!) I don't think your going to be in ice climbing terrain by any means. - just a steep trail like ya been on before - its gets a bad rep for whatever reason.

you will be fine on it -


its 93, you may have a tough time having someon stop - but I never hitch - so can't help there.

but....

OBP - you should be able to get someone to give ya a lift - that lot should be full of activity - and I am sure a fellow hiker would give you a lift back to flume trailhead - if not - yell loudly in their ear until they get sick of you :D :eek: :D :eek:

- have fun - want to hear about it after

sierra
03-04-2006, 11:55 AM
Ill throw in my 2 cents. The Flume slide trail seems to fall into 2 camps on this board and that seems to lead to the mixed reports and or opinions. To someone with a good amount of winter hiking experience on steep terrain, quite frankly its not a hard route at all, a general mountain axe is more then sufficient as are crampons. Now to someone who has limited winter experience and limited crampon use, I could see where it might be a tough trail by all means. Why dont you try it and see where you fall (bad pun), one more comment, the use of a rope of any kind is really a stretch imo, that would clearly indicate your beyond your means, even descending. ok that might be 3 cents worth. :D

RoySwkr
03-06-2006, 05:53 PM
I have done it both up & down in winter and never used snowshoes or crampons either time, and if you get the same conditions as those days you won't need them either. But only a total idiot thinks they can predict White Mtn winter conditions in advance and not knowing what conditions will be you should certainly bring both, and be prepared to back off and go around if it looks too icy or avalanche prone.