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Franconia Range 12/26/16

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  • Franconia Range 12/26/16

    I was able to get in a traverse of the Franconia Range on Boxing Day. With the weather report calling for high winds and freezing rain for the afternoon I went for a alpine start of 4 am going up Old Bridle Path on a hard packed trail. Reaching Greenleaf hut I switched from Hillsounds to snowshoes for the short windblown treed section before switching to trail crampons for the above treeline traverse. Another solo hiker caught up with me at this point and we both commented on the excellent early morning climbing conditions. Shortly after sunrise I reached the Lafayette summit with good views from Maine to New York. From here it was on to Truman and Lincoln where the surface frequently changed from ice, to snow covered ice, to deep snow and even to just bare rock. At a few no-fall sections I would have been preferred full crampons but overall my trail crampons were more than adequate.

    After Little Haystack I switched to snowshoes for the below treeline section to Liberty which for the most part had a visible trench though I did run into a number of significant snow drifts making route finding challenging in those spots (as is common in the Whites, blazing is sparse). Once I reached the Liberty Spring trail intersection the trail was well packed again. It seemed most hikers had been using snowshoes making for easier travel. I ran into a number folks on my way to Liberty and then over to Flume. Rather than chance down-climbing the Flume slide I opted to reclimb Liberty and descend the well traveled Liberty Springs trail.

    Back on Liberty the wind had picked up considerably and despite good coverage I could feel my face getting numb quickly - the proximity of treeline was most welcome. Near the bottom of the LS trail I found the well broken out bushwhack/short-cut to the bike path near the start of the Basin parking area saving a bit of backtracking. From the Basin PA it was a quick two miles on the snowmobile packed bike trail back to the car around 3 with freezing rain breaking out and adding some unwanted excitement for the ride home.

    Lafayette from Truman
    Last edited by OnAClearDay; 12-27-2016, 04:45 PM.

  • #2
    Sounds like you timed it perfectly. That ridge is a beauty. With the recent conditions I think you made a great call skipping Flume slide trail. Haven't been in the Whites since Oct. Maybe a Pemi loop would scratch the itch....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Waynald View Post
      ... Haven't been in the Whites since Oct. Maybe a Pemi loop would scratch the itch....
      haha, I see you've been busy in Maine. A Pemi is on my bucket list too but I'll wait till the days are a lot longer...

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