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Osceolas & Hancocks 2/4/17

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  • Osceolas & Hancocks 2/4/17

    Another great day along the Kancamagus to add another four winter peaks. I parked at the Han**** Notch trail head and road walked down to the Greeley Ponds trail head. Empty when I first drove by the lot was now almost full, however, none of the groups that had just arrived had left yet and I was the first out. The trail up to East Osceola was fairly well tracked from the past week's hikers but with a few inches of fresh snow I had to constantly dust off the snow from trail encroaching branches. All this fresh snow, however also covered up any icy sections and I had no trouble getting great traction with my snowshoes. Along the ridge there was some good drifting but my snowshoes provided good flotation. From the summit it was a quick descent to the col where I found the infamous chimney almost filled with snow with only a small ice bulge showing. Though it was tempting to give it a try I took the bypass through the balsams which was very straightforward (and a lot safer). The ridge up to Osceola was again pretty drifted but it was easy to make good progress on the wind packed snow and before soon I was on the summit ledge with its dramatic view back to East Osceola.

    After tagging the actual summit I was quickly back down and up to the East Peak following my own tracks. Here I ran into the first of many groups for the day and they kindly thanked me for breaking the trail to Osceola. The vast majority of hikers I passed were in spikes and on the descent I glissaded away a few leftover post holes. Down on the Greeley Ponds trail I ran into a number of fatbike riders, whose tracks I was surpried to see left a very smooth path for any following hiker.

    At the Greeley Ponds trail head I took a short refueling break and after the short road walk I was walking up the Han**** Notch trail before 1pm. I soon ran into number of returning hikers among other a hiker with trail name 'Blaze' and partner who I recognized from his beautiful mountain photography. The trails were all well packed and I had switched to spikes previously but then changed back to snow shoes again for the final steep ascent of North Han**** (still love those televators). Toward the end I had to stop frequently to catch my breath but it was smooth sailing once I was over top and on to South Han****. The descent from SH was fast but controlled on what had to be a perfect luge track, probably two thirds of the trail through to the start of the Han**** loop was a non-stop glissade. I ran out of daylight for the final hour but before soon I was back at my car. The conditions for winter hiking had been near perfect on this long but very fun day and I look forward to adding a few more peaks before the winter season ends..

    On the ascent to East Osceola, North and South Han**** center left on the horizon

  • #2
    Nice O's and H's is a tough but doable day. Looks like you got in a great one!

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    • #3
      Good combination, Peter, although I usually combine one of them perversely with OH.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Little Brown Mushroom View Post
        Nice O's and H's is a tough but doable day. Looks like you got in a great one!
        Originally posted by JoeCedar View Post
        Good combination, Peter, although I usually combine one of them perversely with OH.
        Thanks, I got lucky with great conditions for this combo. Any more snow (or any less snow for that matter), or also slightly warmer temperatures and Iíd have likely just stuck with one pair of peaks...

        I canít imagine doing much after an out and back to OH!

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        • #5
          Strong hikers like you don't get lucky. They know their ability and make good decisions. That way, we live to brag about it


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