The trail was slightly muddy and covered with wet leaves in the lower elevations mainly at the start and end of the loop. Once you got above treeline most of the trail was covered in snow starting just before reaching Bondcliff and continuing till you dropped elevation to reach Galehead Hut. Mt Lincoln and Lafayette had the most snow with a good solid inch on the western slope of Lafayette. Ice covered the rocks though some of it was melting in the sun so it was sometimes hard to tell what was ice covered and what was just wet rock. There were a few downed trees in some sections but nothing that wasn’t passable.
Microspikes were needed on the peaks though there were plenty of people out there struggling without them and going very slowly. It made things much easier and allowed for quicker, less treacherous hiking up Bond, Lafayette and Lincoln. The wind was only strong enough to need a wind jacket up and down Lafayette and Lincoln, otherwise the weather remained perfect albeit cold. Multiple layers, gloves and hat made for a much more comfortable trek above treeline.
I highly recommend getting up to Bondcliff or Mount Bound for the sunrise – it is the best way to see it rising in the east but requires a very early start, especially at this time of year. Pushing three miles an hour it required a 3:30 am start from Lincoln Woods Trail to get to Bond in time. If you are attempting the Pemi Loop this time of year be prepared to only be able to run the very start and the very end of the loop and some in the middle near Galehead because of the ice and snow unless you are an expert at running with microspikes – I completed it in 15 hours running only about a collective 8 miles near the beginning and the end and using microspikes on nearly a third of the loop. Lots of people were up on Franconia ridge during the middle of the day and I met many doing the loop in 2 or 3 days overnight. This is a great strenuous all day adventure when the weather is good and skies are clear but make sure you have the proper gear with you, you will thank yourself later.