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Climbing Mt Tecumseh in February

Mt Tecumseh, White Mountain National Forest

I’m feeling pleasantly zonked and relaxed after climbing Mt Tecumseh (4,003 ft) this morning, number 48 on the White Mountain 4,000 footer list. It’s the first time I’ve gotten out in few weeks due to a sinus infection I picked up on a business trip and it felt good to blow a little plaque out of my arteries on the short but steep ascent.

The trail up Tecumseh is only 2.5 miles long but it ascends 2,200 feet in that distance with a very steep bit that climbs over 1,300 feet in one mile. The trail starts out easy, leaving from the parking lot of the Waterville Valley Ski Area, a small town ski operation, with runs on Tecumseh’s south face.

From the parking lot, the trail climbs through gently rolling woodland before crossing the Tecumseh Brook and climbing steeply up an old logging road to the summit ridge. From there, the last 0.3 miles were an easy ascent through rime covered trees and several inches of fresh powder.

Although the lower parts of the trail were fairly well packed out, I decided to wear crampons for the entire hike. They came handy on the very steep segment providing good purchase on the high angle slope. I hate bare booting in winter with all of its slipping and sliding.

Sandwich Range from Mt Tecumseh Summit

The summit was covered in cloud when I reached the cairn but started to break up, providing intermittent views of the Sandwich Range. I took a bunch of photos with my new Panasonic Lumix digital camera, trying different settings to see what impact they would make on the pictures. The controls and options on this camera are way outside my point-and-shoot comfort zone, but I plan on expanding my photography knowledge and skills this year and so far I am in awe of this new camera.

After a spell, I climbed down the peak, making excellent time back to my car, and buzzed back to Boston by 3 pm. While this was a good hike, it was rather short by my standards. But next weekend should provide another opportunity for a longer hike, and since it’s a big birthday for me, I hope to bag something memorable.

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  1. I was lucky enough to get a LX3 earlier this year. I love this camera. The High Dynamic setting allows some shots that are otherwise impossible. I'd prefer a little longer zoom, but…

  2. I'm feeling the same pain, but attributing it to being a better photographer. I'm telling myself that the good shots are the one's you are standing in front of, not the one's 20 miles away.

  3. Hi,

    My name is Ryan. I was one of the fellows you photographed on your trip down from Tucumseh. I was on a pair of skis and my friend was on snowshoes but had a snowboard on his back. I was wondering if I could get a copy of that photograph. Thank you! I love your site. It has a great cause and message. Ryan

  4. Ryan – Glad you found me. I'll send you the original when I get home tonight. The post featuring you both will appear tomorrow morning around 1am. :-)

  5. I was hoping you'd make a suggestion like that. This looks like good info. Plowing through documentation is not my thing.

  6. I agree, crampons are a must for this hike in the winter. My son (7years old) and I hiked last weekend (410/16) and the trail was extremely icy past the river and was consistently icy up to the summit. It was a great hike either way – met some good people also. Happy trails!

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