Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Round Pond, Mt. Klem (attempt), Mt. Suncook, Belknap Mountain (attempt), Suncook Sheer Cliff, Belknap Talus Field , NH
Trails: Round Pond Fire Road, Round Pond Trail, Piper Round Pond Link, Boulder Trail, Suncook herd paths, bushwhacks, unmarked fire road
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: In winter the regular lot at the end of Wood Road is not plowed and there is a sign indicating no parking on Wood Road. Parking is on the shoulder of Bickford Road at the intersection with Wood Road. Take care not to block the road. There have been issues in previous years with people blocking residents in winter, so please show respect so we can continue to access this area. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Ice - Blue, Snow - Unpacked Powder 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction, Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes:  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: See coyotes encounter comments below when deciding whether or not to let you beloved pup wander around off leash in the area. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Route up to Round Pond was not touched yet when I started at 8:30. 3-4 inches of powder. Could have used snowshoes since it wasn't too rocky underneath, but still there is not much total depth.

At Round Pond I saw a coyote walking out on the ice. Beautiful creature. A raven was playing with him. I watched for 5 minutes. Felt like a wolf in Yellowstone documentary. Was intending to head to Klem, but the coyote got off the ice and was hanging around on the trail on the other side and not really going anywhere. Decided not to press my luck being solo as always given my history with coyotes in the Belknaps ( )

Decided to head east towards Belknap instead and see what the talus field on the boulder trail up Belknap looked like in winter. Crossed paths with a hiker who had just descended it, saying it was sketchy (ice under the powder). The talus field require extreme caution in winter, as there are many large holes in the talus to be aware of that are covered by thin snow bridges that could swallow and snap your whole leg.

On the way out I had discovered the flagged herd path to the Mt. Suncook area. It might be tricky following those paths when stuff is grown in during the summer, but it was ok today. First I followed the herd path maybe .6 miles out to highest sheer cliff face in the Belknap Range. This is marked as "SC" on the old Dave Roberts map. Found it! But couldn't get to the edge because of sketchy angle and ice. The herd path out this way does seem to pass through a swampy area, as many of my step cracked a breakable ice plunging me into water. Maybe 100 ish feet high. Then on the way back I found the where the herd path split and took it to the summit of Suncook, which has a sign in place.

For descent I found the flagged connector down to the unmarked and unmaintained section of the Fire Road (bearing left when I hit it) which eventually led back to the junction with the bridge at the fire road, round pond junction.

All trail unbroken, with 3-5 inches of powder on top of ice, but the Saturdays freezing rain then snow added some much need moisture so it was not annoying anymore and light traction provided adequate grip for the day. Snowshoes could be used, but many of the trails still have too many rocks and roots sticking up and you could destroy an ankle (as I did once for 4 months) if you get the snowshoe crampons caught.

Great wilderness feel between the coyote on the pond in the morning light and the middle of no where exploratory sense during the suncook adventure. Great things happen away from "lists" sometimes!  
Name: John in NH 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-01-18 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

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