Waterville Valley Ski Area - Mount Tecumseh Trail
Distance: 4.92 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2169 ft.
Time: 2:56 (base to summit) 4:37 (back to car)
With the windy and cold forecast for today, I decided I should stay in the trees. Tecumseh made a great choice with cover the entire hike to shield me from some of the wind. Parking was a little crowded with me parking down in the start of lot 6, but it wasn't too bad. The trail head is across from lot 1 with the normal brown trail sign.
Start of the trail
The first brook crossing is only 30 feet up the trail. This was an easy and quick rock hope with a quick step over a few feet later. I started with Microspikes since the trail was well packed by snowshoes yesterday before the warm temps cooled and hardened things up. The trail is pretty straight and gradual in the beginning. After a little ways the trail turns 90 degrees to the left over another brook crossing and goes uphill some. This crossing was solidly bridged. The trail goes on gently following the side of the ravine before finally getting into the conifers.
Solid brook crossing
Shortly after this, the trail dips down into the raving to cross Tecumseh Brook again. There was water here, but it was bridged right next to it. After a short distance the view from the ski slope is on your left and the trail turns uphill to the right. The trail gets steeper and stays pretty straight for quite some time. Some ski and snowboard use was seen in here making it harder to tell if you were steping on the hard snowshoe pack. At this point, the wind was also drifting small amounts of snow onto the trail surface.
2nd brook crossing
Eventually to pass the narrow path the skiers/snowboarders take through the woods and the trail returns to mostly snowshoe tracks. It stays nice and wide though. Just after this I switched to the snowshoes since more snow was drifting in and I wanted to take advantage of the televators. The trail goes side to side a bit before heading straight up to the ridge. Just before the Sosman Trail junction, things level back out some. Snow was now blowing around much more and the track was filled in. Luckily it was only about 4-6 inches deep.
Wide and packed
Nearing the ridge
I headed along the ridge with some broken trail and some drifts. At the split in the trail I went left as I knew it wouldn't be as steep. After a slightly awkward duck under at a drifted area, the trail narrows right up along the side of the summit cone. Soon you pop out to the summit area which is a little more open with a small view east to the Tripyramids.
One of my favorite signs in the whites (for some reason)
I stayed here long enough to get some pictures of the limited view and have a group of college age kids show up. While I was packing up, they decided they would do their traditional summit photo with no shirts on. As they were getting ready, I got out the Kestral and saw it was 2 degrees with a -14 wind chill (in the trees mind you). That didn't stop them though. They quickly took a picture then rushed to get their clothes back on. I felt bad for one of them as their sleeve got stuck in the shirt and they couldn't get their arm into it. After I helped them out, they quickly finished getting dressed.
Off I went back the way I came, running into a few more hikers on the on the ridge. By the time I was back at the Sosman Trail junction, you couldn't even tell a dozen or so of us had been through with the drifting snow. The hike back down went smoothly. I left the snowshoes on for traction and because I didn't want to bother taking them off. I stopped at the view from the ski slope to check it out. It wasn't much different than the summit... cloudy and limited. The trek back to the car was quick and smooth.
On the ridge
Back at the base
On a side note... I find it entertaining to watch the people with ski boots try to walk along flat ground. The narrow contact patch on a stiff boots makes for some funny situations.
For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE