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Ascent of Mount Passaconaway on 2017-07-29

Climber: Map Man

Date:Saturday, July 29, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Passaconaway
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4043 ft / 1232 m

Ascent Trip Report

The first time I hiked Passaconaway, I missed most of the best viewpoints, so I returned to see them, trying out a new route and bagging a 52WAV along the way. The Oliverian Brook Trail was a fast, mellow path with some nice brook scenery. I followed it all the way to the Square Ledge Branch Trail. If you're doing the loop over Square Ledge, the real climb begins here. It is moderately steep to the Square Ledge Trail, then it eases a bit as it approaches the rocky section. The last pitch to Square Ledge is actually really tough. This is definitely an ascend-only side. The main viewpoint on Square Ledge is not all that exciting; it looks off to Mt. Paugus and Paugus Pass. The view from the summit is definitely superior, although I'm not sure either deserves a place on 52WAV. The summit is accessed by an overgrown path continuing straight up a rock as the main trail bears right and descends past a rock face. The uplifted ledge on the summit has a nice up-close view of Passaconaway, although discouraging if you are ascending that next. It also looks off in the distance to the Carrigain area.

After a minor descent, I intersected the Passaconaway Cutoff and continued up Square Ledge Trail. I scrambled up the slide it crosses for a better view to the north, similar to the one from Square Ledge. This one looks over Mt. Tremont to the Presidentials and is definitely worth the small scramble. The trail climbs pretty steeply up to the Walden Trail in this 0.7 mile section. Near the end, I passed a trail worker who was hard at work sawing a blowdown. I turned onto the Walden Trail for the final climb to Passaconaway. This section was very steep, with several scrambles, and was very taxing after the very long route I had taken up. The first viewpoint was very nice; it looked to the south to the Lakes Region over the Bowl. The Bowl was definitely the most exciting feature in the view. The next viewpoint looks off to the northeast. Chocorua is nearby and looks cool from this side (although it looks cool from every side!). The spur down to the northern viewpoint was definitely the best view of the day. This is not to be missed if you are climbing Passaconaway (like I missed it the first time). It has a sweeping view across the Kancamagus Highway's valley to the high peaks beyond. The Hancocks and Carrigain are in the center, with the ranges in the Pemi behind. The Franconia Range is prominent from this side. The Presidentials look good from here too.

After a good long stay here, I climbed up to the summit and descended on the Dicey's Mill Trail and East Loop back to the Walden Trail. This is a good idea to avoid the tricky descent on the Walden Trail. I (obviously) took the Passaconaway Cutoff on the way down. This side is a nice way to ascend Passaconaway, but I do like the Dicey's Mill Trail better, as long as you loop up past the viewpoints on the Walden Trail. Square Ledge is a nice diversion, but I'm not sure if I will ever visit again.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3313 ft / 1008 m
    Elevation Loss:3313 ft / 1008 m
    Distance:12.1 mi / 19.5 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2933 ft / 893 m
    Extra Loss:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Route:Oliverian Brook Tr/Square Ledge Tr/Walden Tr
    Trailhead:Oliverian Brook Parking  1260 ft / 384 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3163 ft / 963 m
    Extra Gain:380 ft / 115 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route:Dicey's Mill Tr/Square Ledge Tr/Passaconaway Cutof
    Trailhead:Oliverian Brook Parking  1260 ft / 384 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Square Ledge/Passaconaway

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Square Ledge2017-07-29 a
2Mount Passaconaway2017-07-29 b
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Map Man
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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