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Valerie
10-04-2007, 11:33 PM
Hello. Avid Adirondack hiker here stepping outside my comfort zone... :o

I'm planning my second trip(ever) to the Whites for Thanksgiving weekend. I would love to do the Fraconia Ridge loop. I have read parts of it described as a "knife's edge". My concern is that late November ice may make this knife edge dangerous. My question is how narrow is this knife edge? Will we be reasonably safe doing this? I plan on carrying at least crampons with me, as well as something along the lines of sablicers.

I'm also looking at the possibilty of adding on Liberty and Flume(or climbing them the next day). How would they be if icy?

Also, what is the best direction to do this loop?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Kevin Rooney
10-05-2007, 12:31 AM
First, it's not a knife edge - mostly rather wide in places, and stabilizers will work fine. Tough to predict with certainty that far in advance, but in most years you should be able to get by without crampons early in season and just use stabalizers. As for direction - a good case can be made for either direction. The steeper of the two trails is Falling Waters, so a case can be made that it's safer to ascend the steeper trail. The down side of that direction is the prevailing winds are from the NW so mostly the winds will be hitting your left shoulder and face. So, if you reverse direction the wind will be more at your back, but you have to descend the steeper trail. So, flip a coin.

If you include Flume and Liberty, then I'd do those first - the idea being that if the weather is cruddy above treeline, you'll at least have those two peaks and can backtrack when you get to Little Haystack, beyond which you get nearly total exposure for about 3 miles. The is some above treeline on Flume and Liberty, but it's comparatively short.

Have fun in the Whites -

Kevin

bikehikeskifish
10-05-2007, 03:27 AM
Here is what it looks like from Lincoln, looking up towards Lafayette. You can clearly see the trail -- the ridge is not anywhere near a knife edge. This is from 10/14/06 -- some frost on the ground, but the main danger on this day was wet boots on freezing rocks leaving slippery prints for the next person in line.

http://inlinethumb38.webshots.com/21733/2342788550097994563S600x600Q85.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2342788550097994563uhPkIw)

Tim

forestgnome
10-05-2007, 06:35 AM
Great picture! Worth a thousand words.

Keep an eye on trip reports as the day nears for ice conditions. Thanksgiving Day is an excellent choice for avoiding crowds. ;)

happy trails :)

chipc
10-05-2007, 12:29 PM
I think the part of the Franconia Ridge trail that the WMG refers to as a knife edge is where it leads south from Lincoln on the way to Haystack.

Here is link to Dave Metsky's site that show's this part of the ridge looking north to the Lincoln summit. Click on the second thumbnail in the report.

http://www.hikethewhites.com/franc5/index.html


My recollection is that the trail actually goes alongside the "sharpest" looking rocks and there is nothing particularly difficult that can't be handled with the advice already given.

Mike P.
10-06-2007, 09:41 AM
In weather that could turn bad late in the day, I prefer going up OBP & down Falling Waters.

Most of the misshaps in years past in poor visibility have been on Lafayette.

If bad at the Hut, don't go beyond there. Once you start on the ridge, in poor visibility finding the trail on the broad side of Lafayette can be tricky. On Little Haystack within 30 yards or so you are in the trees or stay on the ridge & you enter the trees on the ridge trail heading towards Liberty.

Valerie
10-08-2007, 08:00 PM
Thanks all. Great advice. Awesome pic.

I finally got the map and guidebook out. I'm thinking of heading up the Old Bridle Path trail and traversing the ridge and descending the Osseo trail provided we can get a shuttle. Looks good on paper. Is there anything I should know about this route?

DougPaul
10-08-2007, 10:31 PM
I'm thinking of heading up the Old Bridle Path trail and traversing the ridge and descending the Osseo trail provided we can get a shuttle. Looks good on paper. Is there anything I should know about this route?
Longish. Very doable if you are in decent shape and conditions are good.

You can loop back to Lafayette Place along the bike path if you need to bail out on Liberty Springs Tr. (Or spot a car if you have a spare.)

Doug

roadtripper
10-09-2007, 08:21 AM
Thanks all. Great advice. Awesome pic.

I finally got the map and guidebook out. I'm thinking of heading up the Old Bridle Path trail and traversing the ridge and descending the Osseo trail provided we can get a shuttle. Looks good on paper. Is there anything I should know about this route?

It's about a 14.5 mile trip if you do this route. I'm guessing it's about 4500-4800 ft of elevation gain as well. Be aware that there are a few sets of stairs on the Osseo Trail that could be tricky for a dog if they are icy (no idea if you hike with a dog, but figured i'd throw that out there).

It's a fantastic route though, one of the best 15 mile-ish day hikes you can do in the whites in my opinion.

SherpaKroto
10-09-2007, 11:00 AM
A rather ambitious trip in shorter days in an area that you are not that familiar with. That, plus the delay in car spotting, and rushing through a beautiful area makes me think you should keep it to the traditional loop. For me, up OBP, stop at Greenleaf Hut to gear up, head up and over, down Falling Waters (I like Mike P's thinking on this, plus no car spot required: both trails start at the same place). It is definitely doable, but I always prefer to stop and smell the roses the first time I do a hike. Just my.02, YMMV.

kmac
10-09-2007, 11:25 AM
just remember the hut closes this weekend 0ct 14th.

Mike P.
10-09-2007, 11:25 AM
It's doable, (I've done it with some folks in late September before. We were about 10 hours or so, out at 6:00.) It will be dark around 4:45 - 5:00 that time of year.

Assume you mean car spot Vs. the traditional AMC shuttle which does not visit the Lincoln Woods lot. (I understand there may be a couple of private shuttles that work like cabs but I don't know anything about those)

What to expect on the route: a steep rocky descent off Little Haystack that in likely late November conditions could be icy & IMO the hardest terrain on the ridge to descend. A couple of spots on Liberty near the summit just as you leave towards Flume would be tricky also but not as long or steep as Little Haystack.

For an ADK equivalent of this section might be some of the ledges on Dix from Elk Lake or on the Bushwhack from Hough near the top of Dix.

It's not the backside of Saddleback heading towards Basin or the higher bare slab of Algonquin covered in verglas but it will require some hands on scrambling, especially if covered in a few inches of snow & some ice. It's on the southern end of the high ridge so notherly winds will scour the bare ridgeline & deposit snow in this area.

una_dogger
10-09-2007, 04:32 PM
I've hiked with Valerie on the Great Range. This will be a piece of cake for you, Val. Its a great ridge. I've traversed it from Garfield tentsite all the way to Lincoln Woods via the Osseo Trail with a full pack in one long day, as well as doing the Falling Waters/Old Bridle Path loop in about 7 hours with ample stops for oogling the views.

Like was mentioned, there's no knife edge and none of the scrambles even come close to the hike we all did last weekend in the Daks. Wind and exposure may be issues because the ridge is long and open. Its always hailed on me on Lafayette, and been sweet the rest of the ridge. Just my luck I guess, I've only hiked the ridge in August and September.

Mike P nailed the areas that will be a bit tricky in icy conditions.

The stairs should pose no problem for Gerard. They are not really ladder like, more like steps. Terra had no problems there.

Check the trail conditions section of this site for current conditions closer to the date, its a very popular hike, I bet you'll find someone has left some beta in trail conditions.

Wow! Have a great time! Maybe we can coordinate something so you, Kevin and Gerard can get to the Whites more often! I'd love to offer to carspot on thanksgiving, but we've got plans here.

:)

Sabrina

PatnJane
10-09-2007, 05:00 PM
Does anyone know what the current conditions are above tree line on Lafayette? Has the rain brought ice? Should I take stabil-icers tomorrow? Will be hiking even though the weather isn't promising.

una_dogger
10-09-2007, 05:12 PM
Does anyone know what the current conditions are above tree line on Lafayette? Has the rain brought ice? Should I take stabil-icers tomorrow? Will be hiking even though the weather isn't promising.

From 10/5, hope this helps, Click below, then click on Trail Conditions, Then on New Hampshire, scroll down to entry for Liberty/Flume/Franconia Ridge posted on 10/5.

http://www.vftt.org/index-vftt.html

Rik
10-09-2007, 05:21 PM
I've hiked with Valerie on the Great Range. This will be a piece of cake for you, Val. Its a great ridge. I've traversed it from Garfield tentsite all the way to Lincoln Woods via the Osseo Trail with a full pack in one long day, as well as doing the Falling Waters/Old Bridle Path loop in about 7 hours with ample stops for oogling the views.


Sabrina

I've hiked with Val before as well. You will do fine with that ridge. The Whites are easy. :D (ducking while Whites v. ADK debate begins for the umpteenth time :rolleyes: )

SherpaKroto
10-09-2007, 05:27 PM
I've no doubt a strong hiker can do it in a day. Just factor in late November, new area, long car spot. All lead to delays. The last section leading from Flume summit down to the Flume Slide intersection can be quite slick when icy or wet. I personally wouldn't want to add darkness to that equation. YMMV.

Besides... Franconia Ridge is SO nice! Leisurely walking up OBP, across the ridge, down FW, then plenty of time for Thanksgiving Dinner ;) That's what I'd do if given the choice.

una_dogger
10-09-2007, 05:36 PM
I've no doubt a strong hiker can do it in a day. Just factor in late November, new area, long car spot. All lead to delays. The last section leading from Flume summit down to the Flume Slide intersection can be quite slick when icy or wet. I personally wouldn't want to add darkness to that equation. YMMV.



Oh, haven't you heard? We like to start our hikes veeeeeeery eeeeeeearrly in the Adirondacks because we have to hike sooooooooo far to reach the mountain!!!!

Tee hee....ducking and running for cover!!


And yep, that part on Flume is tricky, lots of scree.

Valerie
10-14-2007, 12:06 AM
Thanks everyone!

I made reservations at the Gale River Motel. We're getting a shuttle to leave our car on the Osseo trail end and starting up the Old Bridle Path. On Saturday maybe we'll try for Garfield. Of course weather conditions could change things.

Una dogger...I hope to head up to the Whites a few times in the next year. We will have to make plans for a trip or two (or 3, or 4...)

:)