Ascent of Owls Head on 2015-03-07

Climber: Alan Bernier

Date:Saturday, March 7, 2015
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Owls Head
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3100 ft / 944 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started at Lincoln Woods at 8:30AM and took the Wilderness and Osseo trails up to Franconia Ridge, traversed all the way from Flume to Lafayette, then backtracked to just north of Truman. From there, we snowshoed over to Lincoln Slide and dropped all the way to the bottom. Matt did well with crampons, especially on the steep upper slope. I was only in Microspikes, and this wasn't as safe and slowed me down a fair bit. Once we reached the base of the slide and it was just a narrow stream bed, we cut left and into the woods, where it was a very open bushwhack all the way to Lincoln Brook. We followed the frozen brook down to where the Owls Head slide starts up, but it was completely unbroken and knee to thigh deep for the first 300 vertical feet. The next 200' was more open and windswept, but it was back into the deep powder above this. At this point, we had 1.5 hours of daylight left, and we decided to call it a day rather than risk coming out so long after dark. We bushwhacked back down to the Lincoln Brook trail, and after 0.3 miles we came to a broken out superhighway, going up a route that I had never seen before. We wouldn't have even needed snowshoes, it was so packed. Alas, we didn't have the time or energy to make a go of it, especially with a 6.5 mile walk back to the car ahead. Luckily, the Black Pond bushwhack was well tracked out, and we were back to the cars at 6:40, 35 minutes after dark. Probably about a 21 mile day.

In hindsight, I should have brought crampons and ice axe for the slide, and we should have bushwhacked straight up Owl's Head from the bottom of Lincoln slide. Although we had no way of knowing the OH slide wasn't packed out, we wouldn't have wasted 30 minutes of following Lincoln Brook downhill, wasting time looking for the trail and losing 300' in elevation.
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