Trip Report: Mt. Tecumseh (Waterville Valley, NH)

I had originally planned to hike my first winter 4,000 footer on Friday February 17th. I posted questions on a few Facebook threads asking about general conditions in the WMNF, what trail I should hike as my first winter 4,000 footer, etc. There were some concerns about a very windy system moving into the area, so I decided to delay my hike until Monday, February 20. Around 4 AM on February 19th, my youngest son woke up with a fever. This meant no hiking on Monday (we wouldn’t send him to the babysitter within 24 hours of having a fever). Since my wife was home for the day and could take care of him, I hurriedly packed up my stuff and headed out the door.

I arrived at the trailhead about two hours later than what I had originally planned … on a 3 day, holiday weekend to boot. I also had wrongly assumed that the ski area opened at 9 am, when in fact it opened at 8. Instead of parking in Parking Lot 1, which is near the trailhead, I struggled to find a place to park on the road near Lot 7. Stepping out of the car, it was immediately apparent that I had packed for much cooler temperatures than needed. At 8:30 am, it was already 46 degrees and very sunny! I stripped down and put the extra clothing into my pack – I’m always reluctant to leave gear behind, especially during the winter.

Hitting the trail, I found it to be packed down very well. As I ran into other hikers, I realized that only 1/3 of them were using snowshoes. Most were using just microSPIKES and it appeared that postholing was not an issue unless they stepped off of the trail. I was a little surprised that more were not using or carrying snowshoes. If the snow had been soft enough to posthole, the nicely packed trail would be destroyed in no time. I moved fairly quickly until I reached the ‘view’ sign, which leads to a ski run that has a nice view of the Tripyramids. From this point, until you reach the saddle just below the summit of Mt. Tecumseh, it is a steady climb covering approximately 1 mile. 


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As I reached the saddle, it got very windy and large water drops and clumps of snow were falling from the trees. I put on my TREW jacket, which did a great job of keeping me dry and protecting me from the wind. Climbing up from the saddle, many of the trees were blanketed in snow. It really made me wish that Friday’s predicted conditions had been predicted to be nicer or that I had been able to hike Saturday. Within a few minutes, I quickly hit the summit and a great view.

After 20 mins, I headed back to the car. I moved quickly, butt-sledding for what was likely close to a mile total. After less than an hour, I was sitting in my car and driving home.This was only my second ‘real’ hike since October. Even though I realized I am out of shape (no gym time in nearly a year either), I was still somewhat surprised how tiring the climb was. I’m looking forward to getting out again soon and have the motivation I need to get back into the gym for some HIIT Training.  

Geek Stats

Mt. Tecumseh, via Mt. Tecumseh & Sosman Trails  || Distance: 5.2 miles || Duration: 3.5 hours (135 min ascent, 20 min break, 55 min descent || Gain/Loss: ±2402 || Net Elevation Gain (at Max Elevation): +2,215′ || Max Elevation: 4,003′ || Difficulty: Moderate

  • Notes:
    • 4000-Footers of New Hampshire – 2 of 48
    • Winter 4000-Footers of New Hampshire – 1 of 48

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With the recent rescues and body recoveries in California, I’ve spent some time thinking about the things I do to reduce my risk and hopefully stay safe. Before leaving for my hike, I posted a link to my trip plan and Delorme inReach tracking page on Facebook and shared it with several groups. During the hike, my location was updated several times and I posted my normal status updates (ie on the summit, starting my descent, off the trail safely and headed home). Below is an explanation of what was seen before, during and after my hike, as well as some of the settings I used on my Delorme to get these results.

Here’s look of what my share page looked like before I started my hike. The triangle that says next to it is where I parked the car. The red line represents my intended route to the summit of Mt. Tecumseh. The purple line is a section of Sosman Trail, which I though I might hike as a side trip if time allowed.

Here’s a look a what my Delorme page looked like just as I finished my hike. As I hiked, the blue dots were added approximately every 20 minutes during my ascent and every 10 minutes during my descent. These are called ‘Tracking Intervals/Points’ by Delorme. Since I knew people were watching my progress, I set these intervals to lower numbers than I typically would. The blue squares that look like notepads represent status messages that were sent during my hike. In addition to being sent to the Delorme page, they can also be sent via text, email, or social media (Facebook, Twitter). The messages also include latitude and longitude. The messages used on this hike are the preset (free) messages on my account.

This is what my Delorme page looked like after I had finished my hike and had synced my Delorme with my computer. The blue dots/track represent my track as I hiked. This was stored locally on the Delorme. I prefer a detailed track for stats purposes, so this interval (called Logging Interval/Points by Delorme) was set to once per minute. In this image, I’ve hidden the tracking points/intervals and messages. You can see that my actual route (blue) closely followed the GPX file I created on Caltopo(red).