Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Signal Mountain, VT
Trails: Snowmobile corridor 302B, snowmobile corridor 302, snowmobile corridor 302C, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Thursday, February 8, 2024
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Gore Road to access Groton State Forest is unplowed, used the massive VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) parking lot - first car in the lot @ 6:30am, two trucks with sled trailers upon departure a few hours later 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Drifts 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All on the snowmobile corridors were bridged, N/A on the whack by the route I chose 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Tossed a few branches off the snomo corridor for the riders, other than that, A+ 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: I mean.. skiers had dogs, but I might not on snowmobile trails lol. Owner discretion, I suppose.  
Bugs: Nope, just lots of ice falling from overhead branches as the sun warmed the canopy 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Picked up some trash snowmobilers had dropped. Conveniently, I had pockets, so its all good.  
Comments: Residing in western NH, I have spotted these peaks (Knox, Butterfield, Signal) for years but never attempted until now.

Departed the VAST snowmobile lot off RT 302 (west side), groomed trails for the first couple miles made the going quiiiick.
Got to see the sunrise from a small clearing trailside, over Fuller Hill. Snowmobile trails gently rise before reaching a small tarn, which provided a beautiful glimpse to the frosted-tipped Butterfield landmass.

Looking upslope, at a sea of open hardwood, I tossed the snowshoes on and boogied into those woods - initially the snowpack was very supportive, taking the crampon (and ice axe) points very well when the pitch increased. Could locate old logging/skidder roads all through those woods, as I began an atypical bushwhack of Signal Mountain, opting to strike out toward the SE facing ridge (I wanted to see the sunshine from atop the ~2,700' ridgecrest) first. Glorious woods abound; I found obscenely dense hobblebush and young evergreen patches but all were easily navigated around.

Hit the exposed ledge band around 2700' while climbing loose, unconsolidated (freezing rain style), icy particles. Was able to easily pick a route between exposed rock but hit the awaiting spruce traps - the terrain is certainly steep when approaching head on, but the trash snow conditions made the climber expel enormous amounts of extra energy.
Above the cliff bands, I found stunning boreal woods - old moose tracks due south of the summit - fresh prints and beds more toward the north, which I encountered on the descent (only startled a deer).

Found the notorious red Nalgene bottle - since it was encrusted in ice, I did not even try to open or sign in. Happy enough reaching the wooded summit - beautiful day in the woods, but even by 8:15AM the canopy was absolutely dumping loads of ice clumps - descent was somewhat easier if one remembers to keep snowshoe noses up!

Opted to save Butterfield Mtn for better conditions - but the hillside looked so open and lovely, great woods around here - unfortunately the entire area has been subject to massive amounts of logging - not dissimilar to the Whites, I suppose.

As the mountainscape was extremely photogenic this morning, there is a brief write-up at the link provided. Enjoy!
Name: Erik Hamilton 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2024-02-08 
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