Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mt. Osceola, Mt. Osceola East Peak

East Osceola from Mt. Osceola
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Osceola, Mt. Osceola East Peak
ELEVATION: 4156 Ft. / 4340 Ft.
TRAIL: Greeley Ponds Trail, Mt. Osceola Trail
DISTANCE: 7.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1340 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 3 - 4 hours
SEASON: Late winter
DATE: March 7, 2010
WEATHER: Cold, clear

PARKING:

From Route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) park at the Greeley Ponds trailhead on the right.  There is room for 5 - 10 cars (strategically parked).

MAP: (Osceola) (East Osceola)



DESCRIPTION:

The Greeley Pond Trail parallels the South Fork river and ascends gradually through a hardwood forest.  I hiked the trail shortly after a severe winter storm and encountered dozens of downed trees making the progress slow and trail challenging to follow.  At 1.3 miles you reach the height of land and intersection with the Mt. Osceola Trail.  I would recommend the short side trip to Greeley Ponds.  Ascend the Mt. Osceola Trail under the impressive cliffs high above you following a moderate grade which soon becomes extremely steep climbing the Northeastern side of East Osceola.  The trail ascends steeply past a sloping rock face to your right reaching a rocky slide that the trail crosses diagonally.  The slide is a great resting point to soak in some great views. Once you've caught your breath continue the steep ascent soon reaching a shoulder of East Osceola.  The incline becomes moderate for a short distance then continues it's steep incline leveling out shortly before the East Osceola summit.  The summit is marked with a small cairn. 

Continue on the Mt. Osceola trail as it descends towards Mt. Osceola.  The trail descends steeply and has several impressive viewpoints towards Mt. Osceola as you progress to the col between the two peaks.  The col contains one of the most notorious locations in the White mountains which is short and steep chimney requiring careful balance to navigate.  The chimney is avoidable with a bushwhack detour to the north.  From the col Mt. Osceola is a steep half mile away.  The Mt. Osceola summit is breathtaking not only in terrain but also with it's views.  The summit is obvious with the cement footings of a former fore tower and granite cliff outlook. 

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Greeley Pond Trail - Mt. Osceola Trail = 1.3 Miles
Mt. Osceola Trail - East Osceola Summit = 1.5 Miles
East Osceola Summit - Mt. Osceola Summit = 1.0 Miles

HIKING TIMES:

Greeley Pond Trail - Mt. Osceola Trail = 45 minutes
Mt. Osceola Trail - East Osceola Summit = 1 hour
East Osceola Summit - Mt. Osceola Summit = 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 4340 Ft and 4156 Ft respectively, Mt. Osceola and East Osceola are the 24th and 34th highest peaks in New Hampshire. Mt. Osceola is one of my favorite hikes and offers spectacular views to the North from it's summit.  There is a significant col between the two peaks with a steep drop and very technical chimney requiring hand and foot holds to navigate. East Osceola is a viewless summit however if you ascend the Mt. Osceola Trail from it's northern terminus you'll ascend a slide which offers amazing views and an outlook which provides a great photo of Mt. Osceola.  I would recommend hiking from the Tripoli Rd side climbing Osceola and East Osceola as a loop descending the Mt. Osceola Trail to the Greeley Ponds Junction and returning past Greeley ponds via the Greeley Ponds trail to Tripoli Rd.

The junction of the Greeley Pond Trail and Mt. Osceola Trail where it begins a steep ascent to East Osceola.

Mt. Osceola as seen from East Osceola.

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