Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Blue Mountain (Northwest, Northeast, and main peaks - Chocorua) AKA the Little Brothers , NH
Trails: Bushwhack, Middle Sister Trail, Carter Ledge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, November 21, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: We spotted a car outside of the gate to White Ledge campground, then drive 20-25min to FR550 just beyond the Rocky Gorge if you’re coming from Conway.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All rock hopable though one on Middle Sister Trail involved stepping on some very wet, mossy, slick rock that was slab. Luckily it was pretty flat though so fairly easy.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Middle Sister Trail is blazed in yellow. The trail seemed narrow and obscure at times, especially with the leaves on the ground but the blazing seemed pretty good and we had no trouble following it. I don’t recall if Carter Ledge Trail was blazed or not but we had no issues following it. No blowdowns that I recall on either trail.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: None seen but dogs should be fine on these parts of Middle Sister and Carter Ledge trails.  
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: Day 21, Peaks 19, 20, and 21.

We walked along FR550 to the clearing as others have, then took a bearing toward our first peak (Blue - northwest peak) which equates to turning right into the woods. As others have noted, you go through a stick forest at first which isn’t terribly pleasant but not too bad either. Mostly flat at first, with some up and down. Headed east/southeast at first. As things began to go up and it was easier to stick to a bearing, we headed more southeast. At this point we were out of the stick forest and into hardwoods.

It may be worth noting that just upon looking at a map, I had figured that we’d go up the north/northwest ridge but upon reading trail reports I saw that no one did this. I then realized that the reason was that this added some mileage. So, starting where we did, it was shorter, however rather than following a ridge, we basically just slabbed the whole way up the mountain. Along the way, we crossed many old roads, always going roughly perpendicular to our bearing so we never used them. At one point, I saw what looked like a footpath/trail off one of them; I didn’t go over to check it out but I’ve since learned that there’s an abandoned trail around there so I will have to look into that! Grades became steep as we made the final approach to the summit plateau. The summit area was very cool as many are. We signed in and found a Mylar balloon nearby and packed it out. We also got caught in some snow showers/mild snow squall on our way up. Beyond this snow, the ground was mostly bare though.

From the summit, we continued on our southeast bearing along a ridge to the pond in the col. It looked as if we might get cliffed out but we found a way down easily enough though it was steep and a bit of caution was exercised. Looking at Gaia afterward, we actually swung south off of the ridge to where the contour lines seemed the closest…

The pond had a thin layer of ice over most of it. We made our way along the south side of it, then swung more east to ascend up the northeast peak. At first, we went through a lot of hobblebush. Then, better woods to the summit. Grades were moderate/steep coming up from the pond, then became more gradual as we approached the summit. The jar was not hard to find but the lid was cockeyed and thus we could not unscrew it :( First time I haven’t been able to sign into one.

Thus far, all the summit areas, and the area surrounding them were softwoods/mixed forest. We made our way down (southwest) off of Blue - northeast in spruce but soon found ourselves in a solid hardwood forest which we remained in until most of the way to the main peak. Going between northeast and main peak is a little weird as the col is a rather odd shape. There are two little bumps north of the main peak; one that is north and one that is more northeast. Although my bearing was south of it, I basically wound up taking us just south of the highest contour of this bump. This wasted a bit of elevation as we ascended slightly, then descended and wasted some distance. The idea was to aim for the northern summit ridge of the main peak on one bearing, then ascend south up it to the peak. This would avoid the cliffs on the northeast to southeast side of the mountain. I just didn’t do this quite right.

Anyway, from just below this little northeast knob, I took another bearing, and we turned left (almost perpendicular to the direction we were headed) and began heading southwest up the peak, basically steeply slabbing such that we intersected the true summit ridge at 2400ft which we then followed to the summit. This ascent was steep and over ferny rocks. We signed into our final canister of the day, then took a bearing and headed over to Middle Sister Trail where it makes a sharp turn at the col between Middle Sister and Blue. I got us slightly below, on the south side of the ridge unfortunately. It once again looked like we might get cliffed out but we turned out okay. We went from softwood to hardwood once again and intersected Middle Sister Trail in quick order though it wasn’t patently obvious with all the leaves down over it.

We took a lunch break, then headed down Middle Sister Trail. I hadn’t been in Middle Sister Trail in a few years, so it was nice to revisit :) Felt like a long walk out but enjoyed some nice woods along the way.

344 more days and peaks to go…  
Name: Liam Cooney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-11-25 
Link: http:// 
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