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  1. #1
    beer thief
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    Peak bagging in NH

    I've not contributed to this forum much in a while, so here's an attempt. In the White Mountains of NH we've had been a long spell with no new snow (until today), which means the popular hiking trails were pounded out solid. A couple friends mentioned it would be a perfect time to grab a couple. The prime view out my window is Kearsarge North, an ideal candidate:



    The first half mile or so was rideable on the way up, then it was a lot of pushing. Eventually I popped out of the trees and onto the summit, where a warm fire tower awaits:



    Unusual to see wooden fire towers, this one was so weathered it looked like driftwood.



    My friends John & Michael came up shortly after. Franconia Ridge in the far distance:



    Gorgeous views all around. The view to the southwest shows Whitehorse and Cathedral Ledges, the Moat Range behind them, and Mt. Chocorua in the distance at left:



    Mt. Washington and Presidential Range through the windows of the tower:



    The boys ready to roll:



    We stopped for only a few shots. The snowpack was so deep that all of the steep sketchy spots were fully rideable. STIL







    Yesterday we decided Mt. Chocorua would be the target and after a little debate decided on the Champney Falls trail. The first 1.3 miles or so was easily rideable on the way up, then back to pushing the beasts. We got to within .3 miles or so of the summit but decided to drop the bikes as much of the remainder was not rideable. Hike-a-bike is one thing, but hiking down with bike is another. The boys approach the top:



    View of the summit ridge, Presidential range in view:



    Great flow in places







    John rolls an ice bulge:



    We took the loop trail to Pitcher Falls on the way down





    And finally a view back to the NE, Kearsarge at top left:


  2. #2
    Des(s)ert Rat
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    Thanks! This is a great shot!


  3. #3
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    Awesome.

    I recall seeing pitchers of that area in summer. Looks a bit more exciting with snow-pack.

  4. #4
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    Great looking ride, Thanks for posting.

  5. #5
    Shinobi-Wan Kenobi Moderator
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    Nice pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  6. #6
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    Ruler!!
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  7. #7
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    that pic of the frozen falls is awesome.

  8. #8
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Nice stuff!

    Ugh. You have less snow there (or so it appears in the pics) then we did down here.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  9. #9
    Mountain Man Dan
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    My grandfathers house was right near those. One of the white mtns was in his backyard, you could see it quite well from his living room. He since moved to Wolfeboro to a retirement home. I believe he climbed that mountain at the age of 66 or something...brought his dog along.

  10. #10
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    right coast rulz

  11. #11
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    Were you guys climbing in spd's? Those are pretty strenuous climbs without bikes and bike shoes. I'm guessing any hikers you saw were a bit surprised. Good job and nice pics.

  12. #12
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    Great pics! I've actually hiked both of those; never on MTb though. Several years ago I went to a bachelor party on Kearsarge. We had about eight guys and two kegs of beer packed into that fire tower for the night!

  13. #13
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    Cool stuff, Rob! Brings back memories of all the great riding we did with you folks back in September. Sure is a different landscape with all the snow and ice, though. I guess NH missed out on some of the storms that have plowed through the more southern parts of the New England states this winter. I hope the local ski areas are getting by.

    Best regards to you, Michael and John from me and Tracy. Hope to make it back out to your neck of the woods in the not-too-distant future.

  14. #14
    beer thief
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    Thanks everybody. We caught it just right, yesterday it dumped all day and today was a fine powder day. Life is good

    Quote Originally Posted by screampint
    Thanks! This is a great shot!
    Thanks Sarah, being a climber I thought you would like that one!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O
    Were you guys climbing in spd's? Those are pretty strenuous climbs without bikes and bike shoes. I'm guessing any hikers you saw were a bit surprised. Good job and nice pics.
    Michael & I had oversize hightop clipless shoes, John wore boots & flats. I wore micro-spikes for Kearsarge and the top of Chocorua, the other guys had various forms of creepers also.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Grey Pug
    Great pics! I've actually hiked both of those; never on MTb though. Several years ago I went to a bachelor party on Kearsarge. We had about eight guys and two kegs of beer packed into that fire tower for the night!
    It is a perfect little party cabin. People leave it quite clean for the most part.
    Quote Originally Posted by JimN
    Cool stuff, Rob! Brings back memories of all the great riding we did with you folks back in September. Sure is a different landscape with all the snow and ice, though. I guess NH missed out on some of the storms that have plowed through the more southern parts of the New England states this winter. I hope the local ski areas are getting by.

    Best regards to you, Michael and John from me and Tracy. Hope to make it back out to your neck of the woods in the not-too-distant future.
    Hey Jim, nice to hear from you! It was great to ride with you guys, I wish I could have joined you for VT. My house is done for the most part so I have more time to play these days. Best wishes to Tracy too

  15. #15
    ride more
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    great pics, thanks for sharing.

  16. #16
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    crazy wow! - the frozen falls pic belongs on the wall

    how much elevation gain was involved and how long did all this take.... and how do bikes handle in the snow??? And how do you know where the trail is when you ride down on fresh powder? So many questions but we dont have snow here in CA

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by screampint
    Thanks! This is a great shot!

    That is the money shot for sure.

    Moody, ominous, cold = not your average MTB photo.

  18. #18
    up n over
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    10 years in Florida and now in Minot ND, I MISS NH!
    Hopefully life reunites us again. Nice pics guys, super jealous.
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  19. #19
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    Super cool adventure trip! Coupla questions (I'm from the West, forgive my naivete): is the Kearsarge in question the same as Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Nevada? (Guessing so, but who knows?) Also, I'm surprised there aren't ice climbers at Pitcher- looks like prime top-rope territory- any thoughts?

    Props for getting out in those conditions- badass!

    Regards,

    jb

  20. #20
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    Mt. Kearsarge; thanks for.............

    ...........the memories. I am a native NH son, growing up in Milford and being around when hang gliding was just taking off (pardon the pun) and we had a designer/manufacturer in the next town - Sky Sports, headed up by a backyard genius named Terry McSweeney. This was back in the day when hang-gliding was more affordable ($600 to $1000 got you into the sport) and foot launching was more forgiving in terms of having more of a directional parachute than a real airfoil, we used to fly off Kearsarge all the time. Fun times, but the landing was barely a postage stamp and many landings ended up in trees. Still, thanks for the reminder of happier, more carefree days - 1976.
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  21. #21
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by surftime
    crazy wow! - the frozen falls pic belongs on the wall

    how much elevation gain was involved and how long did all this take.... and how do bikes handle in the snow??? And how do you know where the trail is when you ride down on fresh powder? So many questions but we dont have snow here in CA
    Both of these peaks had 2600' - 2700' elevation gain and were about 3 to 3.5 miles each way.

    The snow was like styrofoam and traction was incredible. Didn't really need studs but we already had them mounted. The trail was ~18" wide snowshoe rut. If you went off you were hub deep and instantly OTB. That definitely made the high speed sections way interesting and dictated the line through the steeps. The other issue was posthole footprints in some sections made riding like operating a jackhammer.

    Both days we were done before noon. Great way to start the day

  22. #22
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve47co1
    ...........the memories. I am a native NH son, growing up in Milford and being around when hang gliding was just taking off (pardon the pun) and we had a designer/manufacturer in the next town - Sky Sports, headed up by a backyard genius named Terry McSweeney. This was back in the day when hang-gliding was more affordable ($600 to $1000 got you into the sport) and foot launching was more forgiving in terms of having more of a directional parachute than a real airfoil, we used to fly off Kearsarge all the time. Fun times, but the landing was barely a postage stamp and many landings ended up in trees. Still, thanks for the reminder of happier, more carefree days - 1976.
    The Kearsarge you speak of is in Warner, NH and is an equally impressive mountain. I've been there a few times and seen the glider launch spots. Looks insane!

    This peak is Kearsarge North, located in Bartlett, near North Conway

  23. #23
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by verve825
    Super cool adventure trip! Coupla questions (I'm from the West, forgive my naivete): is the Kearsarge in question the same as Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Nevada? (Guessing so, but who knows?) Also, I'm surprised there aren't ice climbers at Pitcher- looks like prime top-rope territory- any thoughts?
    Not sure about the name. Kearsarge is a common indian name in these parts, maybe the same?

    Pitcher is a popular ice climbing spot (this was a weekday and neither peak would be good to ride on a weekend). I wanted to hit the bottom of the flow as a hip but the base was littered with ice chunks.

    I once soloed an ice route just left of the flows in the pic. As I topped out I punctured an ice damn and cut loose a garden hose of water flow. It soaked one glove & arm and kept flowing for 5 or 10 minutes after I climbed around it. Pretty wild

  24. #24
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    I remember going to the white mountains this fall, It's beautiful there, I might go back late spring to do a backpacking trip.

  25. #25
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    Ahh....

    ...........I wondered about that......I didn't recall seeing the White Mountains that close, but age dims the memory. Also, we used to to fly off Mt. Ascutney near Claremont, NH.

    Quote Originally Posted by radair
    The Kearsarge you speak of is in Warner, NH and is an equally impressive mountain. I've been there a few times and seen the glider launch spots. Looks insane!

    This peak is Kearsarge North, located in Bartlett, near North Conway
    The reason dogs have so many friends is that they wag their tail instead of their tongues.

  26. #26
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    Im orignally from NH. My folks still live there and I ride with my dad all the time up there. If you have reason to be in Concord, check out the trail system behind the hospital. Getting pretty nice.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair
    The snow was like styrofoam and traction was incredible. Didn't really need studs but we already had them mounted. The trail was ~18" wide snowshoe rut.
    Good stuff. Riding on that kind of packed snow is fun. Thanks for sharing.

    +++1 on the Waterfall pic. Way cool.

    We need more snowshoers around here. We have a small, mostly lazy population which equals no 18" snow shoe rut to ride in in the winter. Even the quadtards and snow machines have been only straying a half-mile or so out into the hills this year for some reason.
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  28. #28
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Just curious, as I just got back from the Adirondacks, I'll assume that was all legal? No idea about the Whites. Okay in Summer too then? When the conditions are as they were, it's such a sweet way to get in and out, as you well know. Sadly, it's illegal in the 'Daks.

    I guess there's some folks out in Yellowstone agitating to allow snow bikes on the trails, as they are not legal currently. No trail damage etc, it'd be interesting to see how that plays out,and whether the argument could be made in the East....

    Great pics, thanks for sharing, you're making me jealous.
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