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Thread: A Mahoosic Traverse in the winter

  1. #1
    Member youngblood's Avatar
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    A Mahoosic Traverse in the winter

    I just got back from a weekend outing in the Mahoosic mountain range in Maine. We were planning on doing the entire range (30.3 miles) friday afternoon through sunday and pulled out at Wright Trail due to slow going and lack of time. We did a whopping 10.7 miles... I got a few questions:

    1. Has anyone completed a traverse of the Mahoosics?
    2. What were the conditions like?
    3. How long did it take?
    4. Did you have fun?
    5. Would you ever attempt it again and why??

  2. #2
    Senior Member cushetunk's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Winter Mahoosucs

    Well, I don't know the answer to those questions, but I have imagined that a Mahoosuc Traverse in winter would be great fun! I have never seen the trail south of Old Speck tracked out, if that gives some indication of how often people venture out that way. I'm sure it is done, though.

    I'm wondering about your trip, though. 10.7 miles... did you start at Grafton Notch? If so, you went through some gnarly terrain, which is a considerable accomplishment in itself! Heck, from there on south I think it is all just trailbreaking endurance.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MichaelJ's Avatar
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    I've traversed in summer, but not winter. In good conditions, it would be a spectacular trip - it's such an amazing range! The terrain is incredibly diverse and the views unbeatable.

    I think my places of concern would be footing on the super-steep section on Mahoosuc Arm, getting through a snow-filled Notch, and the long, open stretch between Fulling Mill and up over Goose Eye if the weather was anything but perfect. There are a few other short, very steep spots as well, including an open ladder, which could be unnerving or border on technical.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Registered User marchowes's Avatar
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    Albee, rod and I did a partial Mahoosuc Traverse in December (not technically winter but it was very close) Report is here:

    http://www.hoosactunnel.net/nonhoosa...ahoosuc061217/

    The notch was a nightmare

  5. #5
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    I just read your ME Trail Conditions post. Having done all this in the summer, I can only imagine how tough it would be to break trail through there, to descend the ledgy, icy and steep Mahoosuc Arm, and to scramble through the Notch. Descending the north branch of the Wright Trail must have been a real bear too. Don't beat yourself up for only doing 10.7 miles. That was an accomplishment!

    In answer to your question, I guess doing the whole thing would be quite rewarding, but it would also be quite strenuous and with lots of risk.

    Regards,
    Marty
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    According to Laura & Guy Waterman's Forest and Crag, pp. 658 & 659, in the 1960s Chris & Lydia Goetze "traversed the wild Mahoosucs" in winter. It doesn't mention how long it took them, but one can only imagine the conditions--deep, unbroken snow, 1960s gear, etc.

    BTW, Chris Goetze was one of the first White Mtn. "superhikers," with a hut traverse, summer Mahoosuc traverse, etc., to his credit, who sadly died of a brain tumor at a young age. Fascinating character.

    As for my personal experience with attempting a winter Mahoosuc traverse... Frodo & I attempted to do it in one day last March, but the going was too slow & we ran out of time. We made it from Grafton Notch, through Mahoosuc Notch, then bailed out the Notch Trail (& THEN walked Success Pond Road & Rt. 26 back to our vehicle! ). The Notch was spectacular but full of deep holes; I'd recommend bringing a rope!

    If I were to attempt it again, I would wait until late winter when the snow is more consolidated & hopefully has filled in the holes somewhat. (Yes, I WOULD attempt it again had I not recently moved, because it was/would be an incredible adventure that not too many folks have accomplished.)

    Good luck -- I hope you try again & report back!!
    Last edited by Snowflea; 02-05-2007 at 10:42 AM.

  7. #7
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    Mahoosuc traverse?

    Well in August yes, 2 years ago, a leisurely 5 d from Grafton Notch to Pinkham notch. There was a post on this site about a month ago that described a winter hike at least as far as Mahoosuc Notch, maybe it omitted the Carters. It seemed to me that the traverse could become real mountaineering under ice conditions, although in fact the steep exposed (ie scary) parts are not that extensive. The most troublesome for me was the descent in to the notch above Carter Hut. I wouldn't want to solo Mahoosuc notch in winter. Congrats on your hike.
    Walt

  8. #8
    Member youngblood's Avatar
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    A Mahoosic Traverse in the winter

    Great to hear some input on my post. Yes, we did start at Grafton Notch and I did post trail conditions. I came really close to doing an entire traverse in the summer several years ago and figured it could be done in 2.5 days in the winter but I guess I was dreaming. The actual 1 mile notch took 2 hours and 20 minutes which I thought was pretty good!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cushetunk
    I have never seen the trail south of Old Speck tracked out, if that gives some indication of how often people venture out that way.
    People including me have climbed Mahoosuc Arm from Grafton Notch, probably less common now that it's off the NE100 list

    Dan Allen has hiked the whole AT in calendar winter (over several winters) so that includes the Mahoosucs

  10. #10
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Douglas Ryan Waterman completed the First Known Solo Winter Mahoosuc Traverse in 21 hours and 44 minutes, starting on 12/25/2019 at 07:53 and finishing on 12/26 at 05:37.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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