Ascent of Mount Osceola on 2012-05-28

Climber: Spencer Corcoran

Date:Monday, May 28, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Osceola
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4320 ft / 1316 m

Ascent Trip Report

I hiked Mount Osceola with a good friend of mine. This was the first 4,000 footer that I revisited, and this was his first 4,000 footer overall.

We got a fairly late start (we left my house at 9:45 AM). After a nice drive to the trailhead in which we talked and laughed a lot and listened to some music, we arrived at the trailhead parking lot. However, it was completely full. My friend noticed a space, but I was positive that my truck could not fit in it, nor did I want to see for myself. So, we had to park on the side of Tripoli Rd. After getting our stuff together and checking out the trailhead kiosk, we got going on the Mount Osceola Trail.

The trail started off relatively level and a bit rocky. After a couple tenths of a mile, the trail started going uphill and got even rockier. At this point, we were going at a fast pace, so fast that my friend was tiring easily, so we slowed our pace and took semi-frequent breaks. I had hiked Osceola before, so I wasn't going to miss (out on) anything going slow and taking breaks, so I assured him that he could stop whenever he felt like it.

The trail lined the side of the mountain for a good part of its length, with many switchbacks. As we ascended, the rocks got wet and more copious. However, that didn't matter to us, as we kept busy by talking about different stuff and having a good time.

At about halfway up the mountain, the sun poked its way through the clouds and onto the trail, and at that point we knew that we were making progress. But when we saw an impressive mountain face that probably was Osceola, we knew that we still had a ways to go.

After the halfway mark, the grade turned to a moderate one and became more constant. The trail lined a slope, with obstructed views off of it. I called my mother about halfway up that section to let her know that we were all right. After that, we continued.

The trail switched back a few times and the trees started to get thinner. At about this point, we started seeing other hikers. Most of them were descending, but a few were ascending. Anyway, the trail began to ascend the Breadtray Ridge, which it followed to the summit of Osceola. We saw a mother and son hiking down and asked them how much farther it was to the summit, and the mother said about a mile. My friend said okay, but he seemed very eager to get to the summit. We continued onward after that.

The trail switched back a few more times, with some tricky sections and semi-obstructed views along the way. We passed some more people that were going up, and one of them said that there was about a half a mile to go. We thought that if we made it this far, then this next half-mile will be easy.

It wasn't too bad. The trail winded a bit, made a steady ascent, and then leveled out. After negotiating a few muddy parts, we came up to an old fire tower base. The clouds started to roll in, and I thought that there might not be any views or that it might rain. I was wrong. Upon reaching the summit, which is wide open with an old fire tower base, there were amazing views and it didn't rain.

My friend and I sat down on a fire tower support and ate some snacks and drank some water. A few minutes after we summitted, a group of three arrived. They asked me to take a picture of them with the view in the background, and they returned the favor by taking a picture of us.

After relaxing a little, we checked out a northern viewpoint I neglected to check out the last time I hiked Osceola. The views included the Franconia Range, possibly the Presidential Range, and many others (I'm bad at identifying peaks). After that, we started the descent.

Our descent speed was relatively fast. My friend started to get tired (sleepy tired), and he was starting to slow down. I kept telling him to hang in there, and I stopped every now and then to let him catch up. Over the course of the descent, my shoulders were aching badly because of my cumbersome backpack, and that was the main challenge of the descent. Other than that, I was fine.

After about an hour and twenty minutes, we arrived back at the trailhead, beat up from the hike. We walked back to Tripoli Rd where my truck was parked and sat in it for a few minutes, and then went back to my house, from which he drove home.

This was a great hike, despite it beating both of us up. My friend because of his lack of experience on bigger mountains, and me because I hadn't done hikes like that since last year. There were actually views this time, so that was great. Definitely a great way to spend my day off from school and work.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2050 ft / 625 m
    Distance:6.4 mi / 10.3 km
    Route:Mount Osceola Trail
    Trailhead:Mount Osceola Trail trailhead  2270 ft / 691 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 20 Minutes

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