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Thread: Jefferson, Adam, Madison via Caps Ridge Tr. (up) and Howker Ridge Tr. (down) - 12/12

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    Senior Member NH Tramper's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    North Conway, NH Avatar: Cannon Mtn.

    Thumbs up Jefferson, Adam, Madison via Caps Ridge Tr. (up) and Howker Ridge Tr. (down) - 12/12

    Date of Hike: Dec. 12, 2012

    Trail Conditions: Since the road was still open, we decided this would be a good hike for today. We started the day at the trailhead well before dawn. There was a dusting of snow in the lot. The Caps Ridge Trail was in great shape: The aforementioned dusting with a little bit of ice here are there. The snow was cold and actually supported our movements making added traction unnecessary at this point. This was the case all the way to the summit, though the rime was getting thicker and more feathery. It was pretty easy walking and still pretty calm. There was one easy bushwhack/bypass blowdown - we followed the herd path around it. The Gulfside Trail, the summit loops, etc., were mix of hard, squeaky snow, rime, and rock. That was the case across the entire ridge. Easy walking, traction recommended. We were descending into Edmand's Col when we finally put on our microspikes. Howker Ridge Trail was the iciest by far all day, which made it slow-going (not to mention all of its steep sections and ups-and-downs). On this trail we encountered four or five blowdowns. One slide-under, the others were easy-overs. We removed a couple downs that we could move, but we were racing the clock on this slow trail so we didn't mess with the bigger stuff. The stream crossings were easy, water was flowing openly, but the rocks were conveniently ice free.

    Special Equipment Used: Microspikes were needed to navigate safely and expeditiously. On Howker Ridge Trail, I'd even consider crampons. Trekking poles were very helpful for support on ice, as well as balance in the crossings. Gaiters were helpful for spike protection, but the snow was notably absent. Cold weather gear was needed including face mask, goggles, etc. It's time.

    Comments: Hiked this one with Bill Robichaud (brobichaud here on VFTT) and we had a great day. It was pretty amazing up there. Clear, windy, cold, but we quite comfy the entire time, although we had had enough of Howker Ridge Trail after a short time. Few people out: one solo traverser headed south, five others who had camped up there. Again, amazing day!

    Mike "Tramper" Cherim
    Nottingham NH
    Last edited by NH Tramper; 12-13-2012 at 07:51 AM.
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