Ascent of Mount Flume on 2021-11-11

Climber: Map Man

Date:Thursday, November 11, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Flume
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4328 ft / 1319 m

Ascent Trip Report

For our holiday hike, we decided to try the infamous abandoned Osseo Trail route up the south side of Mt. Flume. It turned out to be an adventurous and exciting way to climb a 4000-footer. To find the trailhead, you drive 0.9 miles past the entrance to Loon Mountain on the Kanc and take the third left into the Clearbrook Condos. 0.1 miles in, turn left at the fork, then continue 0.4 miles. When you drive past building #97, look for a row of seven boulders on a curve. Park in one of the spots on the left marked 'V' for visitor just past this. The trail starts downhill from the middle of the boulders toward a yellow WMNF boundary post. It quickly joins an old road and crosses Clear Brook in 0.1 miles. This crossing can be difficult in moderate to high flow conditions. On the day we went, we crossed using a log, but everything was icy, so we searched around for a better spot on our way out. Bear right on the other side and follow the path, blazed frequently in yellow, as it parallels the brook, crossing a sidehill that we found muddy. In a quarter mile, the trail crosses a smaller tributary brook and arrives at a four-way junction marked by a cairn. Take the middle fork (slight left and then a right), as the other two paths are alternate options for arriving at this point. The trail meanders uphill through the bright open forest for half a mile between the brooks, then bears right and crosses the main brook again. This one is a bit easier than the first crossing, but is still difficult. The trail ascends at an angle across the slope above the brook for 0.2 miles, then swings right into a conifer grove, crossing another smaller brook. The trail winds through a section that we found to be very muddy, then comes back out into the open hardwoods and begins climbing, passing some boulders. The trail quickly becomes very steep. Slippery leaves and gravel made it even more difficult for us, but we saw some nice views through the bare trees. At the top of one of the steepest pitches, half a mile from the last brook crossing, the trail swings right onto the first of many switchbacks. The brunt of the climb up to this point is an impressive 700' in 0.35 miles. After the switchback, the trail become much easier and cuts across the sharp slope, still climbing a bit, into evergreens, dropping to cross the track of a slide after 0.15 miles. In another 0.1, the trail swings uphill steeply and heads toward the col between the upper and lower Whaleback Mountains. The trail now begins a series of switchbacks swinging around the east side of the mountain to slide up through a slot in the cliffs. The path first angles to the left, then cuts back to the right, passing through some nice glades. In 0.4 miles, the switchbacks grow ever steeper and shorter, turning into zigzags up through the gnarled trees. A faint spur path on the right leads out to the edge of a steep rock slab (not much standing room), where there is a nice view out over the eastern Pemi and the Bonds, also including the Presidentials, Carrigain, and the Hancocks. You can also see over to the right where the new Osseo Trail runs from this unique vista. Just a bit further up, another, shorter spur path leads left to a grand view over the Kancamagus Highway. You can look down at the condos where you started, across the way to Loon Mountain, and down the highway toward the Tripyramids. The trail continues steeply upward, passing beneath a cliff face, before a third and final spur leads left to an opening that grants an interesting and unusual view over the valley between Whaleback and Big Coolidge. You can also see over downtown Lincoln from here. The trail crosses the minor summit of Upper Whaleback in less than 0.1 miles, passes a camp clearing with a restricted view to the east, and descends gently off the knob. In 0.2 miles, the trail makes an exaggerated dog-leg turn out to the left, then way back to the right. Presumably, this must have been to avoid a blowdown patch or something, but it seems very odd and unneccesary. The trail crosses the flat and dense col, then climbs easily, reaching the top of Hardwood Ridge after half a mile. The trail slides across the right edge of this very flat and long ridge, with some minor ups and downs. It continues across the huge plateau for 0.65 miles, then intersects the new route of the Osseo Trail. The trail continues to run flat for a short distance, then climbs steeply up the spine of the summit, junctioning with Flume Slide Trail after 0.4 miles. The open summit is 0.1 miles ahead. This was my fourth visit to the top. There were three other groups when we arrived, one of which was a group of veterans with a flag for Veterans Day. They soon left and the summit was pretty quiet. It was chilly but sunny. We took our lunch break up here and stayed for a while. It was a quicker descent. We stopped at all three viewpoints on Whaleback again to look through binoculars. The steep section in the hardwoods was challenging with the carpet of leaves.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3468 ft / 1056 m
    Extra Gain:160 ft / 48 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9 mi / 14.5 km
    Route:Abandoned Osseo Trail
    Trailhead:Clearbrook Condos  1180 ft / 359 m
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: Old Osseo

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Whaleback Mountain2021-11-11 a 
2Mount Flume2021-11-11 b3468 ft / 1057 m
Total Trip Gain: 3468 ft / 1057 m    Total Trip Loss: 3468 ft / 1057 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Map Man
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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