We have a great day for a hike last week – given the lateness of the season, the fact that we got all the way to West Baldpate without any traction aid is pretty remarkable! But given the icy conditions – see the monorail on the trail in the photo above – it probably would have taken crampons to get to the next peak.
The day started out a bit cloudy and chilly, but everybody was in their best hunter orange and bundled up enough to start shedding layers. The A.T. heading east out of Grafton Notch is not very steep and we progressed rapidly up the slope of the Baldpate massif. Somehow everybody in the group missed the junction point with the Baldpate shelter spur trail, which is seen as the point at which you start really ascending.
The trail began to get icier and we encountered a group heading back down the mountain. They did not have traction aids and had to turn back.
We reached the summit of West Baldpate, and knowing that the trail was going to be fully-iced over, and that we had a limited amount of daylight to work with, we decided to turn back.
We enjoyed the view before heading down. The additional time we had allowed us to stop at the Baldpate shelter on the way back to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the sunshine. It was a great day and a perfect hike leading into Thanksgiving!