“Spring” on Moosilauke

It's still winter in the Whites

The forecast for the weekend was a foot of snow and sleet and other non-springtime terrible, but we wanted some mountain time, so we chose our closest 4000 footer, Mt. Moosilauke, and our usual route and set out. In hindsight, we could have done a bigger day as the storm still hasn’t come a day later, but I’m glad we chose a hike that kept us below treeline for the most part because it sure was frigid up at the top.

Signs of spring were apparent at the start of Glencliff trail – little shoots of grass and only occasional spots of slippery ice and snow remained. But as we ascended through the shaded forest, winter re-appeared and we put our spikes on for the rest of the hike. The trail was totally packed down and easy to hike footing-wise (it was still steep) in just spikes without gaiters.

We had quite the sight when we got to the “tunnel of trees” (the section on the Carriage Rd between the South Peak spur and Moosilauke’s alpine zone). Though there were dense clouds above us, it was clear where we were, and the clouds moving in were making some interesting formations.

When we got above treeline, the wind we heard howling in the forest hit us head-on, and we were glad we didn’t plan a more exposed hike after all. It was a bitingly painful trod to the summit, made up for by the extreme beauty of Moosilauke on a clear, but inclement weather day. We tagged the summit, took some quick photos, then set out numb-legged on the trail of cairns down to the shelter of the trees.

We passed a handful of groups heading up on our way down, but we made it back to the car pretty quickly as we bounded down the trail. I made mental note to plan a visit to Moosilauke on a wind-less and warm day sometime.

Peaks

Moosilauke (4,803')

Trailhead

High St (aka Sanatorium Rd)

Trails

Glencliff Trail (AT), Moosilauke Carriage Road (AT)

Distance

7.6 miles, 3,396' elevation gain

Time

Start: 8:56am, 3:35 Round Trip

Weather

Low 30s temps, overcast but clouds above the mountain (high visibility). Super windy above treeline.

Trail Conditions

Icy trail lower, packed snow with some postholes higher, frozen slush above treeline.

Gear

Spikes

Partners in Crime

Cody, Rye

Download .gpx data

Gallery

Trails at the start still icy, but lots of melt

Snowy forest up higher

Still a lot of snow on the ridge

Really interesting cloud front

Still clear up on top

Rye heading toward the summit

Cody looking back toward South Peak

The summit sign coated in snow feathers

Looking out toward Mount Blue

Summit selfie with wind-swept cheeks

Heading back down toward the shelter of the trees

Last view before the descent