Springing up and down the Osceola's

Date of Hike: 4/7/13

Greeley Ponds / Mount Osceola Trail: 7.6 miles (3,300 feet elevation gain)

Trip Report:
- Sunday's weather was supposed to be awful.  The forecast was for rain, snow, high winds, and clouds in the higher elevations.  What was even more awful was the weatherman's report, he couldn't have been further off!
- I met Alton and Kelsey at Greeley Ponds Trail and we headed out on the Greeley Ponds Trail around 9 a.m. The Greeley Ponds Trail which is mostly flat with some very easy grades was a highway of solidly packed snow and we made good time as we hiked through the woods to the Junction with the Mount Osceola Trail. 
- The Mount Osceola Trail to the summit of East Peak Osceola becomes excessively steep as it travels by a slopping rock face and diagonally across a small slide.  Everything is still buried in snow so we had to kick in steps in places with our microspikes and pull ourselves up using trees to not fall backwards.  It was exhausting but a fun hike up as we gained the ridge along the north shoulder of East Osceola.
- We took a nice break before making the final small push to the true summit.  The wind was whipping pretty fast along the ridge and we were all happy to be in the woods today.
- The summit of East Osceola is marked with a small cairn off the side of the trail, it was still buried underneath the snow.  We took another short break before descending into the Osceola / East Osceola Col.
-  There are some nice views heading down in the col.  Mount Osceola's main peak is in full view and to the west and the Pemigewasset Wilderness to the north.
- The main attraction to this one miles section between the two peaks is the 'Chimney' a narrow fifty foot shute that you climb up.  In the winter most hikers use the bypass around it.  There had been no recent use of the chimney and there was an ice bulge in the middle of it.  Alton and I headed straight up it, while Kelsey used her brain and took the bypass.  The Chimney was difficult as we had to take off our gloves so we could get good handholds with our fingers.  The first fifteen feet were the most difficult as we had to manage an ice bulge but above that it was easier.  It ended up being a lot of fun!
- Above the chimney we made the final push up to the summit of Mount Osceola.  The summit area of Osceola has old foundations left from an old fire tower and has some killer views of the Tripyramids, Waterville Valley, and the Sandwich Range.
- It was very windy so we took a couple of pictures and headed back into the woods to take a break and have lunch.  The hike back down and up to East Osceola went quickly and on the way we all used the Chimney bypass which was tricky to descend but much easier than dealing with the chimney.
- The hike down from East Osceola to the Greeley Ponds junction was fast and furious!  We Glissaded from the north shoulder of the east peak down to past the small slide then again until past the slopping rock face.  It was a tremendous amount of fun.  I had hiked this way before in the snow but never had conditions this perfect for butt-sliding.
-  As we approached the Greeley Ponds Trail junction we noticed how much warmer the temperature became and enjoyed the final mile and a half hike back to the trailhead.
- It ended up being a great day with some pretty sweet views with some dark clouds looming high above but no snow, rain, or sleet, in fact the sun even came out at the end!
-  After a month away from the mountains it was a great weekend to get back into it and can't wait until my next hike.

 Greeley Ponds Trailhead
 Mount Osceola Trail
 Kelsey navigating up the 'steeps'
 The Tripyramids (North Slide in full view)
 Alton and Kelsey crossing the small slide
 Kelsey climbing up the slide
 Mount Osceola Main Peak
 Franconia Ridge
 Owl'd Head, Garfield, Galehead, the Twin and Bond Ranges
 Owl's Head
 The Bonds and Twin range
 Alton attacking the Chimney
 Waterville Valley and Mount Tecumseh
 Alton relaxing on the Mount Osceola Summit Area
 Taking in the views
 Sandwich Range Wilderness
 Osceola Ridge to East Peak Osceola
 Hancock's and Carrigain
 Mount Carrigain with the Presidential Range behind it
 Mount Osceola Summit Area
 Heading back to East Osceola
 Kelsey on the Chimney bypass
 Looking down at the Hairpin turn on the Kancamagus Highway
 Hancock's with Arrow Slide in full view
 Pemigewasset Wilderness
 Pemi Wilderness
 Alton glissading down the slide
Kelsey sliding down the slide!
Mad River Notch, Greeley Ponds, and Mount Kancamagus


5 comments:

  1. Wow, what a day you three had. We stayed local because of the forecast, wish we hadn't. Awesome pictures, the one of Alton glissading is great, looks like so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So Cool, the pictures are great compliment to your trip reports which are well done!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So well done, as always, Chris!
    Regarding the photos, especially like the one of "Owl's Head, Garfield, Galehead, the Twin and Bond Ranges", plus the one of "Alton glissading down the slide".

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John, the photoshop one of Alton is my favorite!

      Delete