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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Whiteface, East Sleeper
Albany, NH, Sandwich, NH, Waterville Valley, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking up the Blueberry Ledge Trail
Looking up the Blueberry Ledge Trail

Route: Blueberry Ledge Trail, Rollins Trail, (Mt. Whiteface), Rollins Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail, spur trail, (East Sleeper), spur trail, Kate Sleeper Trail, Rollins Trail, Blueberry Ledge Trail, Blueberry Ledge Cutoff, Blueberry Ledge Trail

While I was hoping to hike a bit further north, my estimation from the weather forecasts was that the Sandwich Range would perhaps be the best place north of the lake to hike. Though I was up and ready to go early, I decided to stay in for awhile while some clouds worked their way through. Once I saw blue sky, I headed over to Ferncroft.

My plan was to just do Mt. Whiteface with East Sleeper as a possibility if I needed to kill time while clouds lifted. On the way over, Whiteface looked to be in the clouds.

As to be expected with basically two months of rain, the trails were a bit wet. The portion of the Blueberry Ledge Trail that seems to pool water was, again as expected, pooled water. Since this is a somewhat normal occurrence, there are herd paths that navigate around the commonly flooded areas.

Beyond that area, the initial ledges were a bit slick (and the blueberries a bit tart). The trail was in decent shape above there, and fortunately the upper scramble ledges were mostly dry (though wet shoes from the wet trail made them a little bit challenging).

Arriving at the south summit ledges, I was surprised to have some blue sky and good views - not far away on the Route 16 corridor, it was raining. Since I had a feeling this luck wouldn't last, I decided to eat lunch and visit with some other hikers, rather than go direct to the true summit as I normally do. After a bit more than half an hour, I headed to the true summit, then doubled back to the Kate Sleeper Trail trailhead. I wasn't feeling at all fatigued, but my main hesitation in heading over to East Sleeper was the possibility of an absolutely swampy trail. Since I was hesitating a bit, I decided to just do it, and headed down the Kate Sleeper Trail.

The trail gradually steepens as it heads into the col - a few parts of it were covered in running water due to the rains. Surprisingly, reaching the col, things weren't too mucky. The brook crossing at the Downes Brook Trail junction was a bit tricky, due to somewhat high water and slippery rocks. Beyond there, it was pretty easy going, as the Kate Sleeper Trail was flat for a bit, before steepening up for its ascent of East Sleeper. At the height of land, I followed the sign pointing to the summit of East Sleeper.

The summit of East Sleeper has zero views and no real redeeming quality. One thing I can say about this area is that it's very remote and likely not heavily visited.

On the way back I did some trail maintenance, as the recent storms had knocked down some trees and branches. As I headed back toward the Rollins Trail, some light rain started - a dry morning, but some rain in the afternoon - the opposite of the weather forecasts once again!

Back on the southern ledges of Whiteface, I hung out for a few minutes, then quickly departed as some more sprinkles moved in - I had no interest in heading down the upper ledges when wet! Fortunately the rain never picked up, so the descent was no big deal.

Back at the top of the Blueberry Ledges, I decided to see what this 'Cutoff' stuff was all about. In my previous 4 trails to Whiteface, I had never tried this trail. By the looks of it, it's not has heavily travelled as the main trail.

The upper portion of the Cutoff heads down some not-as-open ledges, which were pretty slippery. From there, it followed a creek (which was flowing down the trail). At one point I thought I had lost the trail by following the creek too far, only to look up and see perhaps the world's smallest arrow trail sign.

After that, the trail dropped steeply again, crossing a brook, then working its way to the Wonalancet River. While I considered taking the footbridge over to Dicey's Mill Trail, I instead continued along the Cutoff Trail to see what the rest of it was like. Following the river, the trail soon had a tricky brook crossing (due to high waters), then climbed a bit up to the main trail.

Regardless of the sprinkles, it was nice to finally have some halfway decent weather. After two months of mostly rain and clouds, pretty much any day in which there's some blue sky is a good one!

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

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Saturday, August 9, 2008
Hike Commenced: 9:24 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,140'
Destination: Mt. Whiteface
Ascent Commenced: 9:24 AM
Summit Reached: 12:09 PM
Time Elapsed: 02:45
Trailhead Elevation: 1,140'
Summit Elevation: 4,020'
Distance: 4.2 miles
Vertical Gain: 3,055'
Destination: East Sleeper
Ascent Commenced: 12:09 PM
Summit Reached: 1:02 PM
Time Elapsed: 00:53
Trailhead Elevation: 4,020'
Summit Elevation: 3,850'
Distance: 1.8 miles
Vertical Gain: 470'
Hike Ended: 4:12 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 06:48
Hike Distance: 11.6 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 4,160'

The Blueberry Ledge Trail trailhead at Ferncroft
The Blueberry Ledge Trail trailhead at Ferncroft

Looking at Red Hill, Squam Lake, and Mt. Israel from the southern ledges of Mt. Whiteface - Click to enlarge
Looking at Red Hill, Squam Lake, and Mt. Israel from the southern ledges of Mt. Whiteface

The Kate Sleeper Trail
The Kate Sleeper Trail

The viewless East Sleeper summit - Click to enlarge
The viewless East Sleeper summit

Pale Corydalis along the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff trail
Pale Corydalis along the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff trail

Topographic map of Mt. Whiteface, East Sleeper - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 113A to Wonalancet, then take Ferncroft Road. The trailhead (the road) and parking lot are both on the right next to the pasture.

Back to Mt. Whiteface Profile
Back to East Sleeper Profile

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