View Full Version : Trail conditions Pinkham Notch north to Maine

swamp dawg
04-25-2005, 22:34
We are heading out next week starting out from Pinkham Knotch going north for 18 days. I would like the input hikers in the New England area to give us Georgia hikers so idea of trail conditions on the AT from Pinkham Notch north. Being from extreme south Ga should we expect deep snow or ice on the trail ? Any input will help ........life is good on the trail, we just want to be prepared.
Swamp Dawg and Stinger

04-25-2005, 23:08
I would expect a decent amount of snow still. There is no snow at all here in vermont, though some may still be lingering in the mountains. A buddy of mine was in the Mahoosucs a couple weeks ago and said there was feet of snow and it was almost impassable around Goose Eye. I would definately be prepared for some, especially in and around the notch. There could definately still be some in the Carter-Moriah range as well. Have a blast, but be prepared. Cold nights will be a good possibility.

04-26-2005, 00:47
There is still some snow in the higher elevation in Maine. I know some people that are still snowmobling in the western part of Maine near the New Hampshire border.

04-26-2005, 08:26
I was in Crawford Notch over the weekend. While there is no snow in the Notch itself, it doesn't take too much climb before getting into the snow and ice. So, I would expect that going north from Pinkham you will have lots of snow and ice except at the low sections of the trail (like near road crossings), and mud where the trail is not covered by snow and ice.

Frankly, this is mud season. I'd discourage everyone from hiking at this time of year because of the damage that you do to trails while the ground is still soft.

04-26-2005, 09:04
If you are starting next week, you will need snowshoes and crampons.

There are still several FEET of snow above 3000 feet in elevation in many locations. On a warm day, you will need snowshoes to keep from postholing over your knee. On a cold day (or early morning) you will need crampons since the wet trails will be frozen.

Its a really mixed bag up there right now, so its better to be prepared for anything, especially when you are backpacking.

My friend just did the Kinsmans (in Franconia Notch) and he carried but didn't use his snowshoes since it was a cold (below 40) day in the mountains. He did, however, use crampons as there was plenty of ice to be found.

Just to make it more interesting, below 2500 feet, it is mostly bare, muddy ground. You will encounter just about every kind of condition on your trip. Have fun!

04-26-2005, 09:05
Still lots of snow in Maine in the Grafton Notch area. I hiked from Grafton Notch over Baldpate two weekends ago and found there was still about two to three feet of snow on the north side of the mountain (much less on the southside.) There were a lot of blowdowns too & the trail was hard to follow on the north side (apparently it is blazed on the rocks in that area and they are still covered with plenty of snow.) I would absolutely recommend bringing snowshoes or you will be in posthole hell.

-- Ivy

swamp dawg
04-26-2005, 16:49
Thanks to all you folks up in New England for the update on the trail. I have to admit it scares me but we are going to try to push on north, since the plane tickets are bought and its too late to cancel. We were caught in a heavy snow several years back in the Smokies and it was pretty hard going for a few days. We can always bail out or turn around if it get too bad, mabey finish the Long Trail....again thanks. Life is good on the trail, Swamp Dawg and Stinger

04-26-2005, 21:46
You definately have options if you decide against the snow in the north. With a couple (3) hitches you could pretty quickly be from Pinkham Notch to Glencliff, and head south from there. Not sure what sections you've covered already, but there would be much less snow south of the Whites, and you could always walk to Sherburne Pass and hop on the LT, though the higher peaks will still be very fragile with lots of mud.

04-26-2005, 22:48
Attempted to summit Tumbledown last weekend and was unable to due to the ice and snow (did not have crampons or axes to get up the Chimeny). This mountain is mid 3000' if I remember correctly and is somewhat in the Western Mountains of Maine. Like mentioned before, mountains above 4000' probably still have plenty of snow. Heck, I snowmobiled up Sugarloaft Mtn (4237') Friday, March 23rd. Headed out to due the bigalow range this weekend, snow should be all but gone around there (probably 100+ miles from the Mahoosucs (sp?) ).

04-26-2005, 23:30
Swamp Dawg and Stinger,

Today was clear, and we got our first view of the Whites in 4 or 5 days. We have lost a surprising amount of snow in the last week. The trail conditions you encounter will be quite variable, depending on temperature and the aspect of the slopes.

I did some scouting for you, after work, today. Here are some thoughts for you to consider:

Much of the snow around Pinkham Notch Visitors Center is gone, however you don't have to travel far on the Trail to find patches of snow. Southern-facing slopes are mostly melted, even at higher elevations. Snow remains in shaded/wooded areas. Even more snow remains on northern-facing slopes.

I didn't travel up Wildcat Ridge, but I suspect you will encounter everything from mud to ice. Some say this is the toughest climb on the AT. Conditions this time of year will make it even more challenging. If it is a warm day, you may be able to kick steps in the softened snow, otherwise you should have crampons. Descending from Wildcat into Carter Notch will almost certainly require crampons.

Temperatures this time of year are very unpredictable. Ranges from 25 F to 70 F are not uncommon in early May. This will yield wildly variable trail conditions.

Nineteen Mile Brook, Imp and Stony Brook Trails were heavily travelled all winter long, and can provide good escape routes, if needed.

There is no snow in Gorham. The grass on the Town Common is starting to turn green. Most of the usual services are open. You won't have a problem with re-supply, laundry, or finding lodging.

Once you leave Gorham, be advised that there are no easy escape routes. You are committed, until you reach Grafton Notch. The Mahoosuc Range map shows Success, Carlo Col, Goose Eye, Notch and Speck Pond Trails as viable routes off the ridge. However, all of these trails descend to Success Pond Road, which is now closed, due to mud season. In an emergency, the long road-walk, may be easier than pushing ahead on the Trail.

I have never explored Mahoosuc Notch this time of year, so I can only speculate what conditions will be like. Expect to see snow and ice and run-off. If the temperature is warm, you may need snowshoes. If the snow if frozen, crampons will be necessary.

A lot can change in the week before your arrival. If warm temperatures and rain prevail, most of our snow will be gone. If that happens, mud and spring run-off might be your greatest challenge.

Good luck with your hike. If I can assist you in any way, shoot me a PM.


04-27-2005, 00:24
I can see the White Mountains from my house on a clear day and today we could still see that it had a lot of snow still on it.