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JohnL
01-26-2004, 09:44 AM
We started the hike at ten minutes before 9:00 and moved along at a good pace to get some body heat generated. The trail was well packed out and the footing was fine. In short order, we were at the trail junction with the Osceola and continued up without a stop. However, five minutes later I was calling for a stop to shed a layer as I could feel a rivulet of sweat running down my arm. That’s the last thing I needed today was to get overheated and sweaty. Though the wind occasionally broke through the trees, it was not really a factor in my clothing decisions yet.

We moved our way up the trail and it was in such good shape that we continued to bare boot it. We would kick in, balance on our toes and move up. Nevertheless, there came a time after our calves could only take so much and they began to scream. It was time to stop and put on the crampons. There were a few tricky spots where the snow cover was thin and rocks stuck out of the trail and we took care to avoid them. The occasional stops to take photos were taking a toll on my bare right hand but popping them back into the mitten seemed to create some quick warmth for my stinging fingertips.

As we carefully made our way across the landslide and moved a bit higher, the noise from the winds in the treetops along the ridge grew louder and soon we were on top of the ridge and into the winds. Though the winds were diminished by the trees, it still sucked the heat out of us and a few minutes later we found a sheltered spot to layer up. A couple minutes later we topped out on East Osceola but kept moving to maintain heat. When we got to the col we could see that the chimney was chock full of water ice and we opted for the right hand route. After several more ups and downs we were on top and the views were fabulous. I pulled out the thermometer and it begrudgingly read –14.5F. Still we were mostly protected from the wind so we managed to linger there for about five minutes but soon, it was inevitable that it was time to get rolling again.

Near the summit of East Osceola we found a very calm spot and decided it was snack time. I downed my tomato soup, crunched on my frozen PB&J sandwich, and then we started to feel the chill again. Time to get moving. We passed by East’s summit without so much as a “How do you do?” and headed down into the steeps. Just after the landslide, another couple were on their way up and we exchanged greetings and trail conditions with them. A couple moments later another couple greeted us on their way up.
We moved down the trail and my thighs were getting a good burn as the crampons held their ground in the thin covering. A bit more powder and we could have skied down.

At the bottom of the trail we took off the crampons and hoofed our way out, passing a group of snowshoers and a family of four who had snow boards, of all things. We reached the car at 1:15 and it was zero degrees. We got out of our frosty clothes and boots and jumped in the car. It had been a great climb and the trail conditions had been excellent for making decent time.

Photos. (http://community.webshots.com/album/113758000lrFNbv)

JohnL

Dennis C.
01-26-2004, 10:54 AM
Looks like you had a really nice day out there, John. Temps have been rather nippy at times the last few weeks. Enjoyed the photos. Aren't you glad you had trails to follow and not off bushwhacking through all those snow covered trees?

HikerBob
01-26-2004, 11:05 AM
Great pictures John!

I limited my outing this weekend to a quick play by the frozen Connecticut river. Took a few pictures and threw rocks at the ice. It's good to be a kid sometimes :)

Bob

MadRiver
01-26-2004, 11:06 AM
I’m always a tad envious when I read trip reports, especially when they are around the Waterville Valley area. My wife and I head to WV from CT most weekends to ski, so I don’t get to hike as much as I would like. The only time I can usually forgo the skiing for a hike is when the temp is so cold skiing becomes risky. Of course if skiing is risky in that weather, hiking is as well. I guess I will just have to live vicariously through everyone’s trip reports until the end of ski season.