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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Success
Success, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Success Trail later in the day
Looking down the Success Trail later in the day

Route: Success Trail, Mahoosuc Trail, (Mt. Success), Mahoosuc Trail, herd path, Appalachian Trail boundary cut, (Douglas DC-3 Plane Crash), Appalachian Trail boundary cut, herd path, Mahoosuc Trail, (Mt. Success), Mahoosuc Trail, Success Trail, Outlook Loop, Success Trail

This one actually felt like a winter hike.

Snowpack was 6" starting at the parking lot - most of that a frozen granular with an inch or two of powder on top. We put on snowshoes from the get-go.

Success Trail was very good snowshoeing - the crust generally supported a snowshoe (and when it didn't, you only sank an inch or so...barebooting would have been much slower). There were some ice bulges in the vicinity of the Outlook Loop junctions, as well as near the boundary swath. Some were still soft enough to get purchase. Others we avoided via careful stepping. Never felt the need for crampons in this section.

Snowpack increased to perhaps 8" in places on the Mahoosuc Trail. Snowshoes were ideal, except in the scrambles. One scramble in particular (descending southbound into the col just before Success) would certainly cause many to hesitate, as it was filled in with blue ice. We carefully descended via some treeholds. Had we remembered to bring rope, we would have tied off a 30 or so foot length for descent and grabbed it on the way out. The other scramble areas could either be avoided or carefully travelled.

The summit was in the clouds with blowing snow, so we headed south to the DC3 plane wreck to try to run out the clock a bit. While there were some bare ledges, as well as some areas of ice, snowshoes were generally good for the Mahoosuc stretch. The herdpath was fine with snowshoes (though the initial chute from the ledges to it was icy).

The overhead skies cleared briefly on our return trip to the summit, but the clouds generally still remained (winds were still enough to blow over our tracks in the open areas). We opted to go to the Outlook Loop during the descent to get some views. We were forced to bushwhack around the cliff portion of the loop, as the cliff was coated in ice with an inch of powder hiding it.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Moderate
Destination: Mt. Success
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Very Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Friday, December 27, 2013
Parking Elevation: 1,635'
Destination: Mt. Success
Time Elapsed: 01:43
Trailhead Elevation: 1,720'
Summit Elevation: 3,565'
Vertical Gain: 1,925'
Hike Time Elapsed: 04:26
Hike Vertical Gain: 2,365'

The Success Trail trailhead at the end of the logging road
The Success Trail trailhead at the end of the logging road

The clouds almost part on Mt. Success - Click to enlarge
The clouds almost part on Mt. Success

The remains of Northeast Airlines Flight 792 near the summit of Mt. Success
The remains of Northeast Airlines Flight 792 near the summit of Mt. Success

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 16 North from Gorham, NH. Take a right onto Route 16 Truck Route (Unity Street). This will become Coos Street, then Hutchins Street. Take a right onto a road with a brown OHRV sign (Success Pond Road). Head up this dirt road for around 5.4 miles (if Alder Brook Road is seen on the left, you've gone too far). A small sign will be on the right for Success Trail, a logging road at this point. In late December of 2013, with 4WD one could park a minute or two up this road at the fork on the right (trail goes right), or at the end of the logging road portion of the trail in a big field (a minute or two beyond the fork). This side road was not plowed (Success Pond Road was plowed, however). The Success Trail proper starts at the back end of this field.

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