Square Ledge and Passaconaway via... (see post for trails) - 12/2


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NH Tramper

Apr 10, 2012
Reaction score
North Conway, NH Avatar: Cannon Mtn.
Date of Hike: Dec 2, 2014

Trails: Olivarian Brook, Square Ledge Branch, Square Ledge, Walden, Passaconaway View Spur, and Passaconaway Cuttoff Trails

Trail Conditions: It'll be easier to describe all trails as one so that's what I'll do. All trails had about 2-4" of snow building to 4-6" higher up. There were localized pockets with greater snow depths -- up to about 8" -- but that was rare. There were also localized bare patches revealing rocks and roots; these were more common. The snow was packed and lumpy except on the trails I broke out. The snow was firm in the morning and, as expected, softer later in the day. There were some ice floes, but their development is early so I was able to step through or around them. Trail mud was almost frozen today, but not quite, especially later on. It was, however, supportive enough that if one thinks light enough thoughts, transit is possible without getting too sloppy. The crossings were all pretty easy, but I had to be careful of where I stepped since there was ice on some of the rocks. Kinda figured that'd be the case. Regarding blowdowns, all trails had a few, though nothing at all difficult to deal with. The toughest was right at the junction of the east loop of Walden Trail (it's been there a while).

Special Equipment Used: I brought and used trekking poles and gaiters. I didn't really need the gaiters since my soft shells have an inner gaiter, the snow dept wasn't much of an issue, and I wasn't wearing crampons. I also brought and didn't use (at all) snowshoes and traction. I just didn't need them and they would have been more trouble than they were worth had I put either on my feet. Had I known...

Comments: I needed these trails or parts of these trails for Redline. Unfortunately I already had Passaconaway for December so I didn't help my meager Grid effort. D'oh... I should have looked, lol. I also already had Square Ledge for the 52WAV list. Oh, well. What a freaking awesome day. Cool to ascend, sunny, warmer later on. I met one person on the trail at the Square Ledge and Waldon Trails junction, a fellow named John who was working on his NE67. He had big goals for the day and planned to come out well after dark (as he will if he gets all that he planned to do done). I hope he does well out there. I was really surprised to see anyone at all -- he kinda startled me, and I him. It was nice to finally get the Passaconaway View Spur. Oddly, I've walked by it 4 or 5 times before but didn't go down. Saved it for another time. The sign says "No" Views but they are wrong. The 300' of elevation loss is totally worth it. Speaking of signs... the Passaconaway near-summit sign is gone! WTF?!

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
North Conway NH
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