Ascent of Mars Hill on 2013-07-20

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, July 20, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mars Hill
    Elevation:1748 ft / 532 m

Ascent Trip Report

From I-95 at Houlton, I headed ~25 miles N on US-1. Just after passing through the center of town, I branched off on US-1A which splits off of the R (E) side of US-1. Call this point mile 0.0. At mile 0.4 I turned R (E) on Boynton Rd, where a small sign indicates 2 miles to Bigrock Mountain with a ski glyph. At 1.8 miles the road ends at a T-intersection where I turned R (S) onto Country Club Rd. At 1.9 miles I turned L (E) on Graves Rd. At 2.3 miles I arrived at the ski area where I parked in the large empty lot.

I hiked past the buildings and headed E up a ski slope, initially near the chairlift, but I soon found the going to be better farther L, where a service road zigzagged upward and the ski run was wider and more clear of weeds and tall grass. I eventually reached the crest of the N-S trending summit ridge of Mars Hill, which is crowned by more than a dozen giant wind turbines. I turned R (S) on what appeared to be a service road for the turbines, eventually reaching the summit. The exact highest ground is occupied by a tapered concrete block about 2½ feet high. The concrete appears to have once harbored a BM that has since been stripped away. A shelter sits a few feet to the N. The best views are provided by a large flat clear area on the S and E sides of the summit.

The descent was navigationally eventful. I continued N on the wind-turbine service road until after passing the top of a chairlift, which I thought I had remembered seeing on the way up. I then started looking for the ski slope I had come up, but I never found it. Since the climb was L of a chairlift I knew I had to pass the top of the lift before starting downslope, and I was very bewildered to never find a slope that could possibly have been my way up. I finally decided to head down under the ski lift, but it was definitely not my way up. Only after nearing the nase of the mountain did I figure out what had happened. There are actually two ski lifts on the mountain. I had noticed only the S lift on my climb (and I climbed on its N side). However, only the N lift reaches the ridge on top of Mars Hill. Hence my descent was near the N lift, which I didn't know at first was different than the S lift which had been my climbing reference.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1098 ft / 334 m
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Route:ski slopes
    Trailhead:Bigrock Mountain  650 ft / 198 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:25 Minutes

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