Ascent of Zealand Mountain on 2012-09-02

Climber: Matthew Nelson

Others in Party:Matt Schweitzer
Date:Sunday, September 2, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Zealand Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4240 ft / 1292 m

Ascent Trip Report

We headed up North about 2PM on Sunday with the plan to hike as far up as we could with all our gear that night, set up hammocks in the trees near the trail, then in the morning, cache most of our gear and set out for the peaks light. We stopped briefly at Zealand Falls for a little photo-op.

Zealand Falls



We didn't get as far up as I'd expected, just getting maybe a mile past the hut.

The trees along the Zealand Trail.

It was after dark and we realized that the trees were getting smaller, and we were getting more into the spruces, so we decided we needed to stop before the trees became too small and dense to let us hammock.

We set up our hammocks a few hundred feet off the trail, and cooked some freeze-dried fajitas. I hung our food up in a bag, and we went to sleep around 10PM or so. I usually don't sleep well in the hammock as I have trouble getting flat, but I actually slept straight until about 2AM. I tossed and turned a bit until about an hour before sunrise, then we got up and tore down camp and hit the trail again. We pretty quickly reached the Zeacliff viewpoint where we met a guy wearing a kilt that had spent the night at the viewpoint. We chatted a bit, had some breakfast, and watched the clouds in the valley slowly pass by as the sun rose over the presidentials.



After eating, we continued on along the ridge. We took the spur trail down to Zeacliff Pond. On the way down, we heard what sounded like people swimming, but it turned out to be a moose tip-toeing through the pond

We continued on a bit longer before deciding to cache our camping gear. We cached right before the ladder, whcih was at pretty much the only steep section of the entire day. I was not feeling great and my stomach got bad at this point. I blame the manager's special sandwich I ate for lunch the day before. I usually very much enjoy the gas station cheeseburger on the way up, and have been fine each time, but this time I was not so lucky. Anyway, we pressed on with lightened loads and quickly made our way to Zealand Mountain. Zealand Mountain is a nothing summit, with just a cairn in the middle of the woods; no views.

We continued on to Mt Guyot, which was also fairly un-impressive, but at least had some views. We noticed that South Guyot was very close and appeared to have better views, so we went there for our next break. South Guyot had some great views and was a great breaking point, and we chatted with a couple that came from Garfield that we would see several times that day. South Guyot had the nicest cairn I have ever seen, and featured a huge, pure white rock as a cap that seemed like a lighthouse beacon. What made it extra delux though was that the caretaker of the Guyot campsite that made the cairn made a chair out of rocks on the south side. It leaned a bit to the right, but was actually quite comfortable (great job caretaker, whoever you are). A quick snack and drink and we continued on to Bond, going by the Guyot campsite. The summit of Bond was very nice, with more great views.

Looking down on the Bondcliffs

We cached our bags entirely and headed down to the Bondcliffs with nothing on our backs; we felt like we were floating.

It was a fast and easy hike to Bondcliff, and we passed quite a few groups that had also camped on the ridge. The summit of Bondcliff was great, with some fantastic spots to stand on the edge and watch the world spin beneath you. Schweitzer and I took turns taking our picture from the ledge that provides a great picture spot.



We were soon joined by a group of 4 that brought a game of Yahzee up so they could play there on the summit. We chatted with them a bit and took their picture before leaving them to their game of Yahzee and heading back to Bond, where we picked up our bags and headed back north to the West Bond spur. We again cached our bags on the junction and hiked out to West Bond. The West Bond summit is great, with fantastic views of the entire Pemi loop.

Looking back SE to Bond


Looking over Owl's Head to the back side of Franconia Ridge

That's Franconia in the middle, and Garfield to the right.

We stayed just a few minutes before heading back to our bags again. I wish we would have spent more time there, but we had just spent a good amount of time on Bond chatting with other hikers and eating, so we kind of spent our break time on less spectacular peaks. As we started heading back towards our start, we stopped by the Guyot campsite to refill our water bottles. The water source appeared to be a spring, but the sign recommended treating it. I have never had a problem with not treating spring water, and it is always so cold and delicious, but with the sign saying what it said, I had a deep and emotional internal debate on whether to ruin it with the iodine tablets I brought, or risk it and fully enjoy the cool, crisp, delicious refreshment. I dropped the tablets in, shed a tear, and continued back up the trail.

The way back was pretty uneventful, and as always seemed way longer than it did on the way out. Back on Zealand ridge my stomach started hurting again. Anyway, we got back to our cache and found everything still there, so we packed everything back up and headed down with full weight. We pressed through to the Zealand falls hut and stopped for our last break of the day. We chatted with the caretaker a bit, finished off our food, dumped the nasty yellow iodine water and filled up with good water, and pressed on to the finish. The last 2.5 miles of flat was actually quite nice on the way out. It is nice terrain and very flat, so a very easy walk. It was pretty long though and we were very happy to get back to the car around 6PM.

These were some great mountains. They are remote, but the route to get there from Zealand is pretty easy. Most of the ascending is low grade gradual slopes, so not exhausting like the steep climbs. Amazing views. For most of it, you can't really see any sign of humanity (other than Loon's ski trails and some town way for to the north). I was very pleasantly surprised by the high quality views, especially the low fog that morning.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2200 ft / 671 m
    Elevation Loss:165 ft / 50 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2200 ft / 671 m
    Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Route:Zealand Tr/Twinway
    Trailhead:Zealand Road  2040 ft / 621 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:165 ft / 50 m
    Trailhead:4075 ft / 1242 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Bonds - 9/4/2012 (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
 Mount Guyot-South Peak2012-09-02 c
1Zealand Mountain2012-09-02 a
2Mount Guyot2012-09-02 b
4Mount Bond2012-09-02 d
5Bondcliffs2012-09-02 e
6Mount Bond2012-09-02 f
7West Bond2012-09-02 g
8Mount Guyot-South Peak2012-09-02 h
9Mount Guyot2012-09-02 i
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Matthew Nelson
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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