On Sunday I climbed Welch Mountain (2,605 ft) and Dickey Mountain (2,734 ft), both on the 52-with-a-View List, with a meetup.com group called the New England Hiking and Adventurer’s Group. This is a very active group of hikers, climbers and peakbaggers that do a lot of trips in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
Five of us climbed these two mountains today, which have a reputation for being challenging in wet conditions or in winter. The chief source of difficulty are large open slaps that hikers encounter on the ascent that are covered with ice and snow. These can be quite treacherous and are impassible without crampons or extra traction.
Today’s weather was spectacular with bright sunshine, temperatures in the mid 20’s, and moderate wind. We had great views and could pick out the Tripyramids (below), Mt Cardigan, Mt Sunapee, Mt Lafayette, and Mt Moosilauke among many other peaks.
I wore mountaineering boots boots and crampons on this hike and carried a 20 pound pack including food and water. One of my companions Hubert, a much more experienced winter hiker and climber, brought along rope and ice axes, but we were lucky and didn’t need them.
On today’s hike, we took a counter clockwise route on the loop trail, climbing Welsh first and then Dickey after a short descent between the peaks. We maintained a casual pace with lots of breaks for food, water, pees and layer changes that were short enough that we didn’t get cold. Having a small group definitely helped facilitate this and even though none of us had ever met before, we were remarkably synchronized as a group, starting together and stopping for each other without having to say a word. It was great – and I look forward to more hikes with this group.
Sounds like you had a super day in the company of some like minded souls – doesn't get much better than that. Those slabs look absolutely treacherous, though!
This is a good group – I'll be leading some trips with them later in the year.
The slabs here on WD were pretty awesome. I'll be climbing Mt.Monadnock (2nd most climbed peak east of the Mississippi)this weekend in western NH which also has a lot of slabs. Winter hiking/climbing has turned out to be a great way to miss the crowds that otherwise swarm these peaks the rest of the year, and that have kept me away.
Did this loop this weekend with my wife and should have read-up on your description of this hike! Although we successfully completed the route with Microspikes, the difficulty of the traverses across the open slabs of rock that you describe should not be underestimated in Winter — if there was more ice I think we would have certainly needed full fledged crampons as you suggest. If anything, my wife would have appreciated your accurate description and pictures of the cliffs and how they drop away from the trail. It took us a little under 3 hours to complete the loop and we had a beautiful day!