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Sematary
06-18-2018, 08:31 AM
I'm thinking about doing Isolation this weekend, or maybe Monday (all depends on the weather). What is currently the best route to the summit in your opinion? My White Mountain guide needs a replacement (I have the 29th edition so it's a little dated). I'm not worried about distance. I'm quite comfortable with a 15 - 20 mile hike although if I remember correctly the longish one was in the 16 mile range. My other option was to choose either Owl's Head or West Bond. These are the last 3 I have on my "list" so def. want to do one this week - or if the weather looks sour I guess maybe a week later.

Tom_Murphy
06-18-2018, 09:44 AM
I'm thinking about doing Isolation this weekend, or maybe Monday (all depends on the weather). What is currently the best route to the summit in your opinion? My White Mountain guide needs a replacement (I have the 29th edition so it's a little dated). I'm not worried about distance. I'm quite comfortable with a 15 - 20 mile hike although if I remember correctly the longish one was in the 16 mile range. My other option was to choose either Owl's Head or West Bond. These are the last 3 I have on my "list" so def. want to do one this week - or if the weather looks sour I guess maybe a week later.

Well, I guess the answer depends on what your definition of "best" is?

Wet feet - via rocky branch

Elevation gain - via glen boulder

Long and potentially dry - via davis path

Long and potentially lost - via dry river

Atypical - via ammo ravine

bikehikeskifish
06-18-2018, 09:59 AM
Shaded, cool, water sources, and companionship - via rocky branch

Exposure, views and flora - via glen boulder

Historical - via davis path

Solitude - via dry river

Atypical - via presidential traverse

;)

Tim

nartreb
06-18-2018, 10:01 AM
My top two are:

- Davis Path - long (9 miles each way, not counting side trails on Crawford and Davis), but very pleasant: mostly gentle and shady, with a handful of good views along the way (e.g. Crawford, Davis).

- Glen Boulder: lots of work in the hot sun, but great views for a long time.

Both have easy navigation: just follow the ridge. The downside of that is that water is a bit limited. There's a good spring near the Glen Boulder if you know where to look, and Davis Path has a few (pretty reliable, but very small) streams in or near the cols.

Dry River doesn't get much maintenance, and if there are problems with stream crossings that's the trail that will have them. But it's been pretty dry lately, so you might get lost but you probably won't get stuck.

Actually, I've never done Rocky Branch. For that reason and because it's 95 degrees today, that's probably the way I'd go if I did it right now.

JoshandBaron
06-18-2018, 10:14 AM
My favorite is up Rocky Branch South and down Davis Path/Stairs Col. It avoids the worst part of Rocky Branch (and its crowds) plus you get Stairs and Davis.

Sematary
06-18-2018, 10:16 AM
Well, I guess the answer depends on what your definition of "best" is?

Wet feet - via rocky branch

Elevation gain - via glen boulder

Long and potentially dry - via davis path

Long and potentially lost - via dry river

Atypical - via ammo ravine

I guess by best, in my case, would be the fewest river crossings. I do love a good view as well.

maineguy
06-18-2018, 11:12 AM
We did the Davis Path from Washington to 302 a number of years ago. It was very long and very dry. There is a lot of up and down, even when headed towards 302. I can't imagine doing it as a RT from 302, although I do know someone who did.

www.rugged-rob.smugmug.com

DayTrip
06-18-2018, 11:53 AM
My favorite is up Rocky Branch South and down Davis Path/Stairs Col. It avoids the worst part of Rocky Branch (and its crowds) plus you get Stairs and Davis.

I did this loop two Summers ago and really enjoyed it. On the long side but definitely avoids the majority of the crowds. With the water levels as low as they are right now I don't think any of the crossings would be a concern on any of the routes. My only concern would be what happened to Rocky Branch during/after the Halloween storm last fall. When I did it they had just reopened it from the Irene damage so it was in good shape but there were many places where the trail abruptly ended at the top of a washout and then skirted the river bank back to the trail. Really enjoyed that part of Rocky Branch trail. I'm also not sure if Jericho road is open from any possible issues like many other roads this year. Numerous excellent swimming spots just down the road from the parking area too if it is a super hot day.

I did a Boott Spur/Slide Peak sunrise loop two weekends ago and passed a ton of people coming up Glen Boulder as I descended who intended to hit Isolation and hike out Rocky Branch so I guess that is one of the more popular routes if you can spot a car with another hiker. Pretty long road walk otherwise (I think 4 miles or so and uphill).

bikehikeskifish
06-18-2018, 12:00 PM
There's a good spring near the Glen Boulder if you know where to look, and Davis Path has a few (pretty reliable, but very small) streams in or near the cols.

There is a signed spring below Slide Peak, when you've been back in the trees for a while. It's in the WMG as well. Gryffin and I stopped to fill up there two weeks ago. Is there also one near the boulder itself or are you referring to the same spring?

Tim

Mike P.
06-18-2018, 12:49 PM
Its been a while but I've always gone up some variation of Rocky Branch. if I was going out to do it again, I would go up Rocky Branch and then down over Davis to Giant Stairs.

After being exhausted on Bondcliff and Bond's 4,050 elevation gain, I have no reason to want to climb additional elevation gain to go over Slide Peak.

Of the three you have left, IMO, Isolation out and back on Rocky Branch or Owl's head is the easier,(Depending on what you think of slides), Isolation has the best view of the two. IMO, West Bond is the best of the three and worth leaving for last unless you want several people to share the trip with you as the summit area is quite small which is part of my liking it.

JToll
06-18-2018, 01:19 PM
If you have a second car, going up Glen Boulder and then taking the Davis Path all the way to 302 is a nice hike. Very few people. You also get to visit Davis, Stairs, and Crawford. It took us 11 hours.

Grey J
06-18-2018, 02:30 PM
The standard route, up and back via Rocky Branch Trail, Isolation Trail, Davis Path, and the summit spur is 14.6 miles and 3400 feet of elevation gain.
Up and back via Glen Boulder Trail and Davis Path is only 12 miles but 5,050 feet of elevation and much more difficult IMO. I hiked down the GB Trail on a different hike.
That's a lot of extra elevation to climb to bag a barely 4000 foot peak.
A traverse going up Glen Boulder and down Rocky Branch is 13.3 miles and 3800 feet of elevation.
Previous posters have given the pros and cons of these routes and also provided other alternatives.
Good luck.

jniehof
06-18-2018, 02:38 PM
Up GB/out RB is probably my favorite if the car spot is an option. Otherwise I pretty much always wind up in/out RB; it can be dull and the footing's terrible but it gets the job done with a minimum of fuss. If you do Davis from 302 bear in mind I haven't gotten to spring patrol between Davis and Isolation yet.

TDawg
06-18-2018, 02:41 PM
A memorable way I’ve made the trip was with a bike stashed in the woods at Glen Boulder trailhead. Hiked the normal way in via Rocky Branch, Iso, Davis. Out via Davis and Glen boulder with a nice stop at the Boott Spur summit on the wayish (small out and back.) The bike between the two trailheads is mostly downhill and I thought it was a blast.

Grey J
06-18-2018, 02:51 PM
At 5500 feet, Boott Spur is an awesome peak and a worthy destination on its own. I once did a loop going up Boott Spur Trail and down Glen Boulder Trail, hitting both Boott Spur and Slide Peak. That route spends a long time above treeline. I always thought the circa 5250 foot mini-peak at the Davis Path/Glen Boulder junction was deserving of a name. Sorry for the minor thread detour.

bikehikeskifish
06-18-2018, 07:42 PM
If you're gonna do the traverse, be sure to leave your car at RB and ride your bike up to Glen Boulder.

http://www.vftt.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=6014&d=1529365346

Tim

peakbagger
06-18-2018, 08:29 PM
I love the views looking down the Davis Path coming up from Glen Boulder. The trade off is Davis Path over the years seems to attract blowdown. If there are high winds anywhere nearby, the Davis Path seems to get littered with blow down. The RB route seems to be far less prone to blowdown. Just keep an eye out for recent trail reports and hope there has been no recent wind.

LarryD
06-18-2018, 08:39 PM
I love the views looking down the Davis Path coming up from Glen Boulder. The trade off is Davis Path over the years seems to attract blowdown. If there are high winds anywhere nearby, the Davis Path seems to get littered with blow down. The RB route seems to be far less prone to blowdown. Just keep an eye out for recent trail reports and hope there has been no recent wind.

We did the GB-RB route Saturday. Certainly a lot of blowdowns on Davis Path but almost all of them have been cleared. Path was pretty clear. The worst blowdowns remaining were at the very top of the Isolation Trail.

Sematary
06-18-2018, 09:56 PM
I appreciate all the comments and will be considering all the different options. DEFINITELY something I want to do Sunday or Monday depending on weather

NHClimber
06-18-2018, 10:21 PM
When I hiked Isolation, I went up and back on GB. Really enjoyed it. I had understood RB to be kind of a wet slog.

DougPaul
06-18-2018, 10:39 PM
I did it from Ammo Ravine with a side trip up Monroe. A longish route, but most of the route is up high and the only stream crossings were on Ammo Ravine trail. I recommend it.

Doug

EDIT: changed Madison to Monroe

jniehof
06-19-2018, 06:13 AM
I did it from Ammo Ravine with a side trip up Madison.

That's a heck of a side trip!

DayTrip
06-19-2018, 08:59 AM
I did it from Ammo Ravine with a side trip up Madison. A longish route, but most of the route is up high and the only stream crossings were on Ammo Ravine trail. I recommend it.

Doug

I love crazy routes as much as the next guy (I once did Monroe up Boott Spur, Davis, Crawford, Monroe Loop up and over, Crawford again, Camel, Davis again, Glen Boulder and Dirretssima) but you did MADISON from Ammo with Isolation? Did you mean Monroe? I think "longish" would be an understatement for that hike. That is a Chris Dailey-esque day right there (well 7 hours but you get the idea). :)

DougPaul
06-19-2018, 11:54 AM
I love crazy routes as much as the next guy (I once did Monroe up Boott Spur, Davis, Crawford, Monroe Loop up and over, Crawford again, Camel, Davis again, Glen Boulder and Dirretssima) but you did MADISON from Ammo with Isolation? Did you mean Monroe? I think "longish" would be an understatement for that hike. That is a Chris Dailey-esque day right there (well 7 hours but you get the idea). :)
Oops, sorry! Of course I meant Monroe--I occasionally confuse the names (but not the peaks).

It is still a nice route, even if one gets the names wrong... :)

Doug

jfb
06-19-2018, 12:38 PM
It may not be for everyone, but my best route would be (I have not done it yet) to hike up the Dry River trail and set up camp near Dry River Falls. Next day, up Isolation (west) and south on the Davis Path to 302.

Grey J
06-19-2018, 01:03 PM
Oops, sorry! Of course I meant Monroe--I occasionally confuse the names (but not the peaks).

It is still a nice route, even if one gets the names wrong... :)

Doug

Chronologically and ordinally, Monroe should be Madison, and Madison should be Monroe, so I can understand your confusion.
Madison was the 4th President and Monroe the 5th. Ergo, the higher peak should be #4 and the lower peak #5 if one follows the progression from Washington, Adams, and Jefferson.

JoshandBaron
06-19-2018, 01:19 PM
It may not be for everyone, but my best route would be (I have not done it yet) to hike up the Dry River trail and set up camp near Dry River Falls. Next day, up Isolation (west) and south on the Davis Path to 302.

Those campsites on Dry River at Iso West and at the Cutoff are a couple of my favorites.

SherpaWill
06-19-2018, 04:09 PM
Going to do Isolation and the Boott Spur with a couple nights stay at Hermit Lake next week. Boott Spur Link to Boott Spur, Davis Path, Isolation and back.