Ascent of Katahdin on 2012-07-10

Climber: Brian Friedrich

Others in Party:Laura Friedrich
Date:Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:5268 ft / 1605 m

Ascent Trip Report

We drove down from Montreal to Millinocket for a few hours sleep before heading off on the trailhead shortly before 6AM. The weather was absolutely perfect with the wind keeping the temperatures down and the bugs away. The nicest parts of the trail, to us anyway, were the lower section along the brook and then the short scrambling piece at the beginning of the Knife Edge. When you're reading other accounts of this route, in our opinion anything suggesting class 4 is patently incorrect unless the writer was off-route or simply very inexperienced on rock. There are about 15m of class 2+ to descend when dropping from Pamola to the gap with Chimney and then about 20m to ascend back out of the gap (this gap is the hardest part and there is very little scrambling or exposure thereafter). Provided you have some scrambling experience and/or reasonable coordination and balance (and don't have an insane fear of heights), you won't find this particularly tough. It is, however, fun and would be classic if the whole ridge stayed this way. Although there are some sections of the route that are a bit narrower - and you clearly need to be attentive - it's not "perilous". If you do something silly and fall off though, you'd still be looking at a 20+ footer in sections (and needless to say that'll hurt!). Note that the rock is good and the holds plentiful and positive in all of these sections. A wet day would, however, change things significantly.

All in all, a very pleasant hike with a bit of scrambling to spice it up. Wonderful views once you're higher on the ridge and crossing between Pamola and the main summit. We descended the same route to maximize our scrambling time. The cross from Pamola to summit was 29 minutes and 23 minutes on the return. If you're just relaxing and finding your way - or are doing this sort of thing for one of the first times - you should allow about 60-90 minutes to traverse the ridge. Have fun!
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3790 ft / 1155 m
    Distance:8.6 mi / 13.8 km
    Route:Helon Taylor - Knife Edge
    Trailhead:Roaring Brook Campground  1478 ft / 450 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:2 Hours 42 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 15 Minutes

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