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Old 07-17-2010, 12:19 PM   #1
T46pks
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Epic Adventures Part 2 (Vertigo Challenge)

This report will include three hikes, one in the ADKS, 2 elsewhere in the northeast. I included a list at the top and titled each hike so you can pick and choose which (if any) reports you care to read. This is a continuation of a post from a week or so ago entitled Epic Adventures Part 1. Originally we had planned to hike some of the fire towers in the Catskills however the record heat and crappy air quality held us at bay. Anyway, this is the report, pictures of these hikes will be posted shortly after!

Trip List:

T-Lake Falls
Mt. Katahdin
Mt. Washington


T-Lake Falls:


We had heard many stories about the tallest waterfall in the ADKS and wanted to check it out while we still had the chance. It looked like a relatively easy bushwhack along a stream, and we had researched enough to know to be very careful around the top of the falls so we wouldn’t fall off, we even brought some climbing rope and gear to help us down if we needed it. Hiked in from Piseco towards T-Lake, in the afternoon under good weather. The trail was well trodden, with steady elevation gain along the shoulder of T-Lake Mountain. We took a brief break at T-Lake and got out the map and compass and took a bearing. We didn’t really need to, but we did so anyway for a little extra confidence. We headed out along the old trail paralleling the stream, a few times we lost the trail, but we never felt lost and always found the trail shortly after losing it. By the time we reached the falls we were under a heavy convective shower and the rocks along the stream looked extremely slippery, and knowing that a slip and fall near the top of the falls was almost certain to be fatal, we stayed within the protection of the woods. We took a long and difficult bushwhack down through the woods to the base of the falls, and took a food break. A very spooky area indeed, knowing the history of T-Lake Falls, but also very beautiful and remote. The bushwhack back up the falls was much easier as we were able to stick better to the old trail. The weather had cleared up by this point and we started the bushwhack back out to T-Lake. Upon reaching the lean-to we took another quick break and threw ourselves into auto-pilot and hiked out to the sound of distant thunder. Upon reaching the trailhead around 8pm, there was a friendly ranger waiting there for us and a couple of other groups signed in for the falls (which strangely enough we never saw) to sign out.


Mt. Katahdin (via, Cathedral Ridge, and the Knifes Edge):

After months of preparation, planning and research, we finally headed out to hike the highest summit in Maine. Unfortunately the weather threatened to derail the entire trip. But we had made our reservations and we were going to hope for the best. Sure enough the storms moved in overnight Tuesday, and we slept to the sound of rain on our tents all night. Wednesday morning when we drove into the park we were under gray skies and drizzle. My forecast was for the weather to clear up around midday, so we still held out hope! The ranger at the trailhead entrance warned against hiking along the Knifes Edge and offered several different routes for us to choose instead. After thanking him for his advice and agreeing to make good decisions we headed up the trail. It rained most of the way up to Basin Pond, but surprisingly enough the summits were not fogged over (probably due to the calm winds). The weather slowly started to improve and we signed in to do the Knifes Edge at Chimney Pond. We continued up the Cathedral Ridge trail which was very steep and exposed, and really an exhilarating climb (solid class 3 climbing for a full mile). The clouds started to rise shortly after we saw our first glimpse of the sun and we were in the fog. We slowly navigated the remainder of the ridge until we joined with the main trail to the summit, from there it was just an easy walk to the summit. We ran into a few people on the summit including a solo hiker who asked to join us across the Knifes Edge. We were happy to have the company. Clouds sporadically cleared, and after one last check of the weather, we decided that the rocks were dry and the winds were calm...we were going for it. Wonderful hike across the Knifes Edge, in and out of the fog, the whole way, adding a new element of excitement to the trip. The crux of the climb is easily the notch between Chimney peak and Pamola, with a trick down climb and then subsequent climb up after that. Darker fog and some rain started to make me a bit nervous about lightning, but non ever came. Shortly after starting down the ridge from Pamola, we got under the cloud layer and we were treated to a beautiful partly sunny day for the remainder of the hike. We could see some showers and storms around in the distance but nothing that threatened our hike. Signed out around 4pm and headed back into town for a post hike beer.

Mt. Washington (Via Huntingtons Ravine):


Since we were already in the area driving home from Mt. Katahdin we figured “What the hell, lets hike this one too!” We stayed the night at Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, got packed up for the hike and had a good nights sleep on a mattress. The forecast called for severe storms in the afternoon, so we got an early start. After eating a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs at the visitors center we started up the trail. It was foggy at first but as we gained in elevation we left the fog below us and the skies cleared up and looked beautiful. We got to the ravine and started up “The Fan” (a large scree slope before the ravine headwall). I must say that I was somewhat disappointed by SummitPosts underrated description of the trail claiming “It's not very hard at all - for most people it will simply be a lot of fun.” This is actually very misleading the headwall is a very steep and exposed climb, with several little cruxes the whole way up. It is solid to difficult class 3 hiking (with perhaps even some light class 4) full of friction slabs, cracks and near vertical chimneys that must be negotiated very carefully to avoid bad falls. During my research I had been led to believe that the hardest part of the climb was the first 30 feet of the headwall up a slab, for everyone’s future reference this is not the case. However the harder the ascent the more rewarding it is, if you are comfortable with heights and have a basic understand of rock climbing skills, you will greatly enjoy this trail, it was beautiful and exhilarating, and it certainly earns its reputation as “The most difficult and exposed trail in the Whites.” From the big carin at the top of the headwall it was an easy push to the summit, where were ate some food, said hi to the weather obs crew, took a few pictures and headed back down into the Tuckermans Ravine. The weather started to close in a little as we reached the top of the Ravine, and we ran into several people on the way up dressed only in sneakers and blue jeans without packs...it is always disconcerting to see under-prepared people adamantly pushing a summit in obviously bad weather....the rain started falling steadily once we reached hermit lake and we cruised the final 2 miles back to the car with big smiles on our faces for completing a most excellent hike!


Stay Tuned for Pictures!
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:37 PM   #2
T46pks
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Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/11steph.and.ted16

Albums: Mount Washington, Katahdin!, T-Lake Falls
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:32 PM   #3
starzero
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Three great reports in one. I really enjoyed the pictures as well. A few brief questions if you have time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T46pks View Post

T-Lake Falls:


We headed out along the old trail paralleling the stream, a few times we lost the trail, but we never felt lost and always found the trail shortly after losing it.
Looking over your pictures I noted that one of the trail signs displas the trail to T-Lake Falls as closed. Is this the old trail that you mention above?


Quote:
Originally Posted by T46pks View Post
[B][U]
A very spooky area indeed, knowing the history of T-Lake Falls, but also very beautiful and remote.
Interesting quote. Where can I learn more about this history and can you give a brief description of it?
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:16 PM   #4
T46pks
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I sure do have some time to answer your questions.

The first question: Yes we followed the old trail, it is quite grown but you generally know when you are on or off the trail depending on how hard it is to walk, also there are a few orange ribbons along the way. Again you just follow the trail up to T-lake, and then follow the stream west until you hit the falls.

Question 2:

The trail to T-Lake falls is closed because it is very dangerous and several people have fallen off the top to their deaths over the years. And upon looking at the nature of the slab that the falls follows, you can understand how people fall, which is why it was kind of spooky, but it is a very beautiful place, so far removed from anything really...

As to where more history can be found the only answer I have for you there is google. If you are planning to visit it, please do be careful, there are warning signs and a memorial at the top of the falls, so you will know when you have to watch your movements.

Hope that answered some questions!
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
starzero
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Hope that answered some questions!
Yes and thanks. I've added another hike to my to do list.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:29 PM   #6
Bucknut
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One helluva road trip
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"Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake" -John Denver
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