Welch and Dickey Mountain Loop – Central New Hampshire

Ledges on the Welch-Dickey Mountain Loop
Ledges on the Welch-Dickey Mountain Loop

On Sunday I climbed Welch Mountain (2,605 ft) and Dickey Mountain (2,734 ft), both on the 52-with-a-View List, with a meetup.com group called the New England Hiking and Adventurer’s Group. This is a very active group of hikers, climbers and peakbaggers that do a lot of trips in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Looking down on the ledges from the summit
Looking down on the ledges from the summit

Crampons Required

Five of us climbed these two mountains today, which have a reputation for being challenging in wet conditions or in winter. The chief source of difficulty are large open slaps that hikers encounter on the ascent that are covered with ice and snow. These can be quite treacherous and are impassible without crampons or extra traction.

Ice covered ledge on the Welch-Dickey Mountain Loop
Ice covered ledge on the Welch-Dickey Mountain Loop

Today’s weather was spectacular with bright sunshine, temperatures in the mid 20’s, and moderate wind. We had great views and could pick out the Tripyramids (below), Mt Cardigan, Mt Sunapee, Mt Lafayette, and Mt Moosilauke among many other peaks.

I wore mountaineering boots boots and crampons on this hike and carried a 20 pound pack including food and water. One of my companions Hubert, a much more experienced winter hiker and climber, brought along rope and ice axes, but we were lucky and didn’t need them.

On today’s hike, we took a counter clockwise route on the loop trail, climbing Welsh first and then Dickey after a short descent between the peaks. We maintained a casual pace with lots of breaks for food, water, pees and layer changes that were short enough that we didn’t get cold. Having a small group definitely helped facilitate this and even though none of us had ever met before, we were remarkably synchronized as a group, starting together and stopping for each other without having to say a word. It was great – and I look forward to more hikes with this group.

Welch Dickey Mountain Loop (Click for Downloadable PDF)
Welch Dickey Mountain Loop (Click for Downloadable PDF)

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