Date of Hike: 4/25/15

Trails: Hancock Notch, Cedar Brook and Hancock Loop Trails

Conditions: The very start of the Hancock Notch Trail is down to very patchy snow, but the snow depth becomes deeper the further into the Pemi you go. I started in microspikes and switched to snowshoes at the junction with the Cedar Brook Trail. There is a bushwhack on the Cedar Brook Trail that neatly avoids the final two (and largest) stream crossing. It meanders a bit through the trees, but dumps you out right above the last crossing (if I remember correctly). The climb up North Hancock is as unrelenting as I remember, but there was a nicer underlayer of firm snow/ice that the crampons on my snowshoes bit into quite well, with the televator bars easing the strain on my calves. There were a few inches of fresh snow on top of the base, but earlier hikers had broken this out. The trail across the ridge is well broken out, but suffers some from postholes (almost no one we saw that day was even carrying snowshoes, and I seemed to be the only one wearing them). The trail down South Hancock was a fun ride down, and the hike out very smooth.

Special Equipment: I saw plenty of people just barebooting it, so it can be done, but I was happy to have microspikes for the lower trails (the slippery monorail has a good dropoff on one side to the river) and snowshoes on the upper trails (both for the televator bars heading up North, and the float on the ridge). It was very chilly, so keep your puffy jackets handy, but I’ve switched back to my camelback for hydration.

Comments: I posted a second message in the Lost & Found, as I lost my lightweight blue sled somewhere on the ridge, probably while heading up South. I feel horrible for littering, so if someone would pick it up and carry it out I would be ever so grateful.

Jen English

jenglish one at worcester dot edu