East Osceola and Mount Osceola (#23 & #24)

Date of Hike: 3/20/10

Greeley Ponds Trail: 1.3 miles
Osceola Trail: 5 miles
Greeley Ponds Trail: 1.3 miles
Total Miles: 7.5 (3,300 elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- Spring officially began on Saturday at 1:32pm so that meant I could sneak in one last official winter hike!
- Left RI at 4am on trail at 7:15am, 33 degrees at start of hike, finished at 12:15pm with temps almost 60 degrees!  Temps rose to high 40's at upper elevations, light wind out of the north, decent views
- Lots of heavy, wet, sticky snow everywhere still.  High snow between East Osceola and Osceola, snow up to painted blazes on the trees resulting in many tree branches hitting me in the face, cutting up my shoulder and almost poking my eyes out.
- Warm temps have softened snow up that postholing is starting to become a problem on Greeley Ponds and Osceola trail became a mess as the day grew warmer.
- Was first person on trail today, wore snowshoes 90% of the time and followed week old tracks.  Didn't see anyone until hiking back just below the East Peak of Osceola, then ran into about a dozen people, none wearing snowshoes which chewed up the trail badly.  Some people go coo-coo bananas if you don't wear snowshoes and "post-hole" but it doesn't bother me, makes it a little more challenging at times!
- As far as trail conditions it was pretty smooth going on ascent, there are three steep sections on the Osceola trail, two on the way up to East Osceola (a sloping rock face and a small rocky slide), and one more (The Chimney) between peaks
- I kept my snowshoes on to ascend each of these, and since I was first one up the trail today no "Steps" in the snow had been made to the right of the rock face.  To be on the safe side I got out my ice axe and kicked my snowshoes in and down until there was a solid snow step made and carefully made my way up to the right.  Best way to explain what snow is like in the spring temps is it's like mashed potato's!
- The small steep slide was next and was much easier, since it was still early in the morning the snow was mostly hard packed and I was able to sink the crampons of the snowshoes in and move up it pretty quickly wroth not much slipping.
- "The Chimney" between peaks is about a 150 foot high shute that you can go strait up or around.  The bypass around to the right had not been broken so I went strait up the shoot which was kind of difficult, it took about 10 minutes and I had to push down the soft snow a foot to two feet with every step until I has a secure hold in the snow then repeat almost all 150 feet, it was awesome!
- The views between peaks to the north were great and views from Mount Osceola summit were a little hazy to the south but very good as well, visibility was about 50 miles
- The hike back through the chimney was much more difficult, I was hoping someone was behind me and broke out the bypass around the Chimney but no luck.  I wasn't going to try going back down the chimney so I went down the bypass which is still steep, it took my about fifteen minutes to get down, I couldn't get a good hold from the snowshoes and finally one fell off and slid down about thirty feet, so I just took the other one off and tossed it down as well and put on my crampons.  This made it easier to get good footing and I walked and butt slide down. Everyone coming my way later really lucked out, they could just use my tracks I made as steps making it much easier than what I dealt with!
- The rest of the hike went pretty quickly without much excitement, saw five dogs hiking with different people, three Golden Retrievers they all seemed happy!
- A lot of people on Greeley Ponds trail having a tough go in the soft snow sinking and postholing a bit. I think they were shocked at the amount of snow left even though it's 60 degrees out

Pictures: Click here for all pictures

Top of snow covered slide
Mount Osceola Summit
Bonds and Twinway off in the distance
Hancock Mountains and Mount Carrigain
Franconia Ridge
East Osceola  and ridge from Mount Osceola
Messing around on Mount Osceola's Summit!


  1. I bagged Mt. Liberty today, summited at 11:45a. Did the Osceolas a few weeks back - comically steep getting up to ridge. Sounds like I had a lot less snow to contend with than you did, though.

  2. Sounds like a great, nice trip report! The weather is for clear skies tomorrow hope you get up to the mountains!