Mt. Osceola/East Peak Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 02/23/2013 - 02/23/2013
Trip/Event Location: Lincoln, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
On this trip we will hike to East Osceolas (4,156' #34) and Mt Osceola (4340' #24) using the Greeley Pond trail off the Kancamagus Highway. Mount Osceola is among one the most climbed mountains...
We will begin this hike by meeting at Greeley Pond Trailhead at 10 AM. According to Google Maps this meeting spot is about 141 miles from Boston and it should take about, 2 hours 28 mins minutes to drive there.
Click Here for directions to the trailhead. [Enter your address as the point of departure.]
Mt. Osceola would finish my quest of climbing all of the 48 NH four thousand footers in winter! So good friends from GO joined us as we were able to hike the Osceola Mountains on a snowy winter day. Mt. Osceola is 4,340 feet and makes both the New England 4,000 footers list and the New England finest list with a prominence of 2,040 feet. The slightly shorter East Osceola, at 4,156 feet, is prominent enough to be included on the 4,000 footer lists. It's a great hike anytime of the year.
Have I ever mentioned how amazing it is to live in one of the greatest mountain ranges in North America? I simply can't get over it! Even winter couldn't keep me from getting excited about hiking the 4,000 footers in this season. We got to a full parking lot just before 10AM. The temperature was 31 degrees! That's warm in NH for this time of year. The trailhead is located just below the Kancamagus Highway which happens to be the highest highway in the Northeast.
We were well layered. I was actually hot and sweating at times! No winter hike would be complete without the constant stops for layering on and off as the conditions change...
The trail was hard-packed. We all started out with microspikes except for James who opted for snowshoes. The first 1.3 miles are relatively flat until we got to the turnoff for the Mt. Osceola Trail. The trail then heads south up considerably steep sections to East Osceola. It's one of the more challenging sections of a winter 4000-footer. This was a workout! Some members switched to crampons during this steep section. After about 3 hours of hiking and taking pictures, we came to the little saddle on the south side of East Osceola. Here we noticed it began to snow and the wind started to pick up. From here, the East Peak is just another small climb. The summit is marked with a cairn popping above the snow. There isn't much of a view. The wind was calmer here so it was a nice place for lunch. James and his dog Bella decided to turn around at this point.
From East Osceola, Mt. Osceola is a 2 mile round trip with a steep descent to the col and then a steeper ascent up Mt. Osceola. There is one section called the chimney that is short, icy and very steep. Using traction and handholds we all shimmied up fine using the bypass. Jon and I brought our ice axes that was helpful. It's icy and long enough that a slip could result in injury. After the chimney it's just a short climb to the summit! A few minutes after this Mark turned around due to his concern for James. [Mark had promised James on East Osceola he would descend with him but then changed his mind to join us to Mt. Osceola. Since James was having equipment issues on the ascent and seen somewhat unprepared, Mark kept thinking about James on his way to Mt. Osceola.]
On the summit, the wind was really blowing and snow coming at us horizontally. We took some pictures and then went back down the trail away from the wind for some champagne. Jon carried my champagne bottle [tradition dictates one does not carry his own champagne bottle up his last 4,000 footer] so he popped it open and we had a toast. Thanks guys for being with me to celebrate this accomplishment!
We carefully descended down the chimney, went back up East Peak and then went down the steep trail. Half the time we were in butt sliding heaven! Jon and I were happy we had our ice axes because it was very fast with many turns. We were back to the Greeley Ponds trail turnoff in no time. We arrived back at our cars around 4:45PM.
~ Mike Boisvert
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- This was a vertically challanging hike to East Peak. The champagne was perfectly chilled! Bravo to Mike for finishing his winter list. - JDNnh