Ascent of Mount Osceola-East Peak on 2016-12-22

Climber: Michael Stonek

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, December 22, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Osceola-East Peak
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4156 ft / 1266 m

Ascent Trip Report

Started from Greeley Ponds TH at 6:40 AM. Still dark and snowing. It was expected to snow all day and it did. Not that cold for the beginning of winter at 28 F.

The snow on the trail was hard and packed down so no need for snowshoes early on; I started with crampons. The first 1.3 miles on the Greeley Ponds Trail were easy. I reached Mt Osceola Trail to the right at 7:15 AM. On this trail I started ascending. Some areas there was steep and icy rocks, but the snow that was coming down made it for an easier traction with my crampons.

At 9:25 AM I made it to the East Peak, under trees. There were supposed to be some cairns indicating the top, but I couldn't find any; maybe they got covered by snow? Anyway, I didn't stop and continued on the trail on my way to Mt Osceola. I quickly descended to the col and started the climb. I reached Santa's Chimney at 9:55 AM. I waited and waited but Santa didn't make it (disappointment!). Well, it was only Dec 22 and it was snowing.... I moved on. No way I was going to climb the chimney on these conditions, so I took the walk around to the right, which was pretty icy and tricky, but not too difficult. I made it back to the trail and continued without much trouble to the top of Osceola at 10:40 AM.

There was a nice opening at the top which, on a nicer day, would've offered some pretty views, but not on this day. It was still coming down and it was windy at the exposed top, so I didn't stay long. You could see the cement foundations of the fire tower that was there some years ago. The trail continued on the other side all the way down to Tripoli Rd, but it was unbroken since not many people take that route in the winter (Tripoli Rd is closed part of the way). I retraced my steps down the Mt Osceola Trail towards the car. I almost miss the walk around the chimney since this one is more difficult to see going down, but I was able to catch it on time. I went around it again, but in the snow I couldn't find the actual walk around and I went too far bushwhacking in the snow. This ended up being a good thing, since I avoided going down on that icy rocky section to the side of the chimney. I was briefly with snow to my chest but I was out of there quickly and didn't have much problem finding the trail again. I quickly descended to the car from there, doing some butt sliding along the way (yeah!)...

Back at the parking lot, I spent nearly half an hour clearing the snow off my car, and then a good deal of time drying some of my clothes off and eating some. I still had to do Tecumseh, from Waterville Valley, an hour's drive from there...

During the hike I met only 3 people: a trail runner early on (he zoomed past me both ways...) and 2 young men when I was close to the car.

Final tally for the Osceolas was this: 7.6 miles and 3,440 ft of elevation gain in 6 h 40 min.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2607 ft / 793 m
    Extra Gain:196 ft / 59 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Route:Greeley Ponds Tr - Osceola Tr
    Trailhead:Greeley Ponds TH  1941 ft / 591 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 32 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Osceolas

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Osceola-East Peak2016-12-222607 ft / 795 m
2Mount Osceola2016-12-223441 ft / 1049 m
Total Trip Gain: 6048 ft / 1844 m    Total Trip Loss: 6048 ft / 1844 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Michael Stonek
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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