Arrow Slide & the Hancocks

August 6, 2022

We have hiked the Hancocks many times while working on the GRID and had always noticed the large rockslide on the left of Hancock Loop. After talking about it for years, today was the day we were finally going to climb Arrow Slide.

View of Arrow Slide from South Hancock

We met our friends Dave, Erik and Jenni at the Hancock Notch Trailhead at 9:30 and were lucky enough to get spots just off the entrance. We hiked the usual Hancock Notch, Cedar Brook, Hancock Loop to where the loop splits, which is about 3.6 miles of easy hiking. At the split, you can go left for Hancock or right for South Hancock. To reach arrow slide, we started up towards Hancock and then when the trail goes sharply right we bushwhacked to the left to reach the beginning of the slide. It was a very short whack but very dense. Dave, Mel and I headed for the slide while Erik and Jenni continued up the trail planning to meet us at the summit of Hancock.

The highlighted area is where we veered of the regular trail and made our way through dense trees over to the slide.
Mel making her way out of the woods and onto the slide

The slide started out at a relatively gentle ascent over boulders. At the beginning we were thinking the slide was easier than the regular trail, but that changed quickly as it grew steeper with more unstable talus and scree. We gave each other plenty of space to avoid kicking loose rock down on one another. Then we got to a point where there were slabs of smooth wet rock.

Mel on the talus
Wet slabs. We stayed to the left at this point on the dry loose rock.
Mel navigating her way up a steep section

Eventually we reached a point where there was no choice but to go up steep slab. Luckily part of it was dry and the footing wasn’t horrible. Dave was having trouble getting a grip with his boots so opted to go off the slide to the left into the dense woods and bushwhack his way up. Tough going but safer for him.

Mel at the top of the steep slab
John looking back down at the steepest section
Dave exiting the woods back onto the slide after the steep slab

At the top of the steep slabs, there was an impressive cairn. From here, the slide split into two. We had read that going right would connect back to the main trail and going left would lead to the view point on the summit so we opted left. It was another steep patch of unstable talus and scree before ending on some more solid rock and a dense, tough bushwhack to the summit view. Hikers at the view point were very surprise to see us stumble out of the woods below them.

Cairn marking the split in the slide
Getting near the top on loose rock
Top of the slide!

Overall the slide was a great adventure and a fun new way to get to Hancock. With the especially unstable talus, scree and steep slabs we rate it as harder than North Tripyramid slide; it would be pretty impossible and dangerous if wet. We are already thinking about next slides to tackle, like Lincoln or Passaconaway. We finished up the hike by following the trail to South and back out the way we came.

The gang on South Hancock

We cooled down after with a visit to Otter Rocks right down the Kanc, a great little swim hole.

Jenni, Erik, and Mel at Otter Rocks
Dave brought Tree House for post-hike beverages. This Green Machine, a mix of Green and Juice Machine, was absolutely fantastic, one of my new favorites!

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