Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Orange Mountain, Rimrock, Mt. Cardigan (South Peak), NH
Trails: Manning Trail, Holt Trail, Vistamont Trail, Skyland Trail, South Ridge Trail, Hurricane Gap Trail, Clark Trail, Holt-Clark Cutoff
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, February 22, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: It's mud season already on Shem Valley Road; warm temperatures and sun on some sections are causing a bit mud and ruts later in the day. (Might be interesting going uphill on parts of this road late in the day.) Plenty of parking at the AMC Cardigan Lodge. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Ice - Black, Ice - Blue, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Not an issue. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Very small (but annoying) duck-under blowdown on Vistamont Trail (we'll return in a few days to take care of this). 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: In spite of the recent warm temperatures, there's still pretty good coverage on most of the trails except on higher elevation ledges, where there are quite a few bare patches on southern-facing slopes. We suspect this will still be the case even after the rain forecast on Wednesday.

Vistamont Trail was broken by a single set of now-frozen bareboot postholes. Snow was still pretty firm and crusty, so our snowshoes got a ride and we just stepped in the existing track and used light traction. On Skyland there was some snowshoe-able snow, but only short sections interspersed with sections of thick ice covered by powder, so we continued with light traction.

All other trails were ice, granular, hardpack -- again, snowshoes rode on the pack.

Regarding recommended traction: we used Hillsound Trail Crampons, and these worked well on the numerous patches of blue ice. Microspikes would have been insufficient, especially on the blue ice. Crampons would have been tedious for the other 99 percent of the trails we used today, especially on some of the bare rock.

However, on two occasions during the day we could have used crampons to get up/down some fine blue ice bulges, but were able to work around these sections with care with the Hillsounds.

Other than those couple of sections, the trails were nicely filled in and fast-moving.

Parking lot had all of four or five cars in it all day. We saw just a few people, and then only on Clark and Manning. We had the rest of the trails to ourselves.

Name: Pancks and Tesco Heaney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-02-23 
Link: http:// 
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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