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Bushwhacking Fisher Mountain in Winter

Climbing the western ledges on Fisher Mountain
Climbing the western ledges on Fisher Mountain

“Fisher Mountain is the best little peak that no one’s ever heard of” said my friend Ken. West of famous Welch-Dickey Mountain Loop, Fisher Mountain is an easy bushwhack up the old Dickey Notch Trail, now renamed and signed as a mountain biking route. A favorite of Ken’s, we attempted to ski through the notch (a mountain pass) on backcountry skis, but conditions were really icy and we gave up quickly, proceeding the rest of the way with light traction.

While Fisher is an easy bushwhack, it is girdled by open ice-covered ledge which can be dangerous to walk on without some sort of crampons or microspikes. The slope angle is such that it’s also susceptible to slab avalanches in the right conditions. I managed just fine with my Hillsound Trail Crampons, but there were plenty of places where I needed them.

The southwest slide on Fisher Mountain is a great place to pract ice axe arrests but you really wouldn't want an uncontrolled slide here
The southwest slide on Fisher Mountain is a great place to practice axe arrests but you really wouldn’t want an uncontrolled slide here.

We hiked up the notch to the base of Fisher and then followed the slope angle to the eastern ledges, before vectoring northwest and looping around the summit cone. Seeking sunlight and some warmth, we sat in the sun on the west face and had a brief lunch, before climbing the remaining ledges to the summit and its views.

Fisher has an interesting position relative to other Waterville Valley peaks and provided us with excellent views of the seldom seen, western cliffs on Mount Tecumseh, Hogback Mountain, and Green Mountain, which has a reputation as a formidable and thick bushwhack. This should prove an interesting area to explore further on future hikes.

While Fisher is a relatively short mountain, the ledges along its flanks more than make up for its lack of stature. The best views in the Whites often come from peaks below 4000′, something to keep in mind if you hike for views, which many of us do.

Written 2017.

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  1. I was wondering if you guys were going to hit the bootleg trail and it looks like you did by your map. And yes, that one giant, open slab would not be a place to slip. It would be a very long slide down!

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