See the GaiaGPS track of this grueling hike by Richard and Fred on the shortest day of the year (winter solstice at 11:19 am).
This hike was a repeat from the 2018 Flume Slide hike with Scott and Steve. This time I made it to the top 15 minutes faster, but we still hiked in the dark at the end. Quite a slog in 9:40. The Flume Slide was again arduous. Getting to the close-over section gave me a little boost, but the final push was again difficult. Changing back to microspikes at the top of the slide, I had a pole malfunction and took almost a half hour getting one pole back together. Happily, I had the right tool. Coming down took almost 4 hours. The path down from Mt. Flume seems endless, and then the steep ascent to Mt Liberty is so grueling that I stopped a couple times. The snow wasn’t more than 8″ at the top, so I carried my snowshoes all the way. Richard kept his in the car—the superior choice. Breakfast at Flapjack’s was again a good idea, but I still wanted snacks and warm tea during the hike.
A few details on the Flume Slide ascent. We got to the steep section without issue, except the blue blazes stopped. I knew we were following last year’s path on the gaiaGPS app. As we did the changeover to crampons, two youngsters passed us. They were planning on doing the whole Franconia Ridge to Mt Lafayette. Wow! For me, the going was tough all the way to the top, which took over 2.5 hours. The speed was so slow that the gaiaGPS app called it stopped. The crossover bit is at 3600′. After that is still almost 500′ ascent, and I kept hoping to reach the top.
At the end, I concluded this was my last winter Flume Slide ascent, an indication of how tough it was. The next morning, I questioned that conclusion. We’ll see how I feel next year.
Summary: 9.6 miles and 3500′ ascent in 9:40, so it was an average of ~1 mile/hour. The Flume Slide was again grueling.