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Ascent of South Kinsman Mountain on 2018-12-29

Climber: Michael Stonek

Date:Saturday, December 29, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:South Kinsman Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4358 ft / 1328 m

Ascent Trip Report

Kinsmans + Cannon - We met at 9:00 AM at the tramway parking lot ('Hikers Parking') of the Cannon Mountain Ski Area where we left 2 cars and drove in one (we were 4 hikers) to the start of the hike at the Mt Kinsman trailhead, off Rt 116. There were just a couple of cars at the parking area.

I already had done the traditional route for the Kinsmans-Cannon, so I wanted to try something different. We started up on Mt Kinsman trail, we some snow on the ground, but well broken up. Fairly easy climb with a couple of river crossings where we had to be careful because of broken ice. On one the ice gave in and I got my foot deep in water (bad luck!), so I had to change socks; but overall not too bad.

The ascent on Mt Kinsman trail to the ridge was pretty long, from 1,000 ft to 3,700 ft, but not too hard. There was snow but not too deep to require snowshoes; microspikes were fine. After 2.1 miles on Mt Kinsman trail we reached the spur to Bald Peak, which we took, to admire the views there (there were none that day; very foggy...). After another 1.6 miles we reached the Kinsman Ridge trail where we would stay for the rest of the hike.

We went soouth on the ridge for 0.4 miles to reach the top of North Kinsman Mountain and the continued for another 0.9 miles to the South Peak. Before reaching this one we met with a hiker coming back that warned us not to stop at the viewpoint at the top; that's not the true top! We had to continue another 0.1 miles to reach the official top. After the mandatory pics we retraced to the North Peak and continued on the ridge back to the intersection with the Kinsman Trail where we had started. We continued on the ridge for another 0.2 miles to the intersection with the Fishin' Jimmy and Kinsman Pond trails. There we reconvened (we had split briefly coming down) and had lunch. We met other hikers that were getting together there as well. They were doing the loop from Lafayette Place and they were continuing on Fishin' Jimmy (they weren't doing Cannon).

We continued on the ridge going north to do the gruelling Cannon Balls (there are 4 of them); so it was constant up and downs in snow that got heavier. We debated about changing to snowshoes but we decided against it because there were still some rocky sections better handled with spikes. After 2.4 miles from the intersection with the other trails we made it to the Lonesome Lake trail. We continued on the ridge for the toughest part of the hike: the 0.6 miles to the intersection with the Hi-Cannon trail. It was already dark and the ascent was rocky and icy. I was behind the group at that point, huffing and puffing, but I made it. The final 0.4 mile climb to the top of Mount Cannon was easy. It was very windy at the top. There's a fire tower there that I went around but I didn't climb other than a few steps.

The descent on the ridge was a little tricky because some sections were closed because they were trying to keep separated the hikers from the skiers. So a few sections were roped off. I was glad that the other guys had decided to wait for me, if not I might have gone the wrong way early on. Eventually, the trail became clear and easy to follow. The descent on the Kinsman Ridge trail wasn't steep but it was relentless; 2.2 miles of a constant downhill (much easier with skis!!). The best part was on the dark descent towards the ski lodge we were rewarded with a beautiful long set of fireworks!! Like they were celebrating our safely finish!! (Actually, it was the holidays...)

We made it to the parking lot at around 7 PM. The final tally was: 11.7 miles, 5,900 ft of elevation gain in 9 hours and 40 minutes. I'm at 22 of the winter's NH-48.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Mt Kinsman - Kinsman Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Mt Kinsman  
Descent Statistics
    Route:Kinsman Ridge
Ascent Part of Trip: Kinsmans-Cannon

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Bald Peak2018-12-291489 ft / 454 m
2North Kinsman Mountain2018-12-293515 ft / 1071 m
3South Kinsman Mountain2018-12-29 
4North Kinsman Mountain-Northeast Peak2018-12-292758 ft / 841 m
5Cannon Balls-West Peak2018-12-29 
6Cannon Balls-Middle Peak2018-12-29 
7The Cannon Balls2018-12-29 
8Cannon Mountain-East Peak2018-12-29 
Total Trip Gain: 7762 ft / 2366 m    Total Trip Loss: 1051 ft / 320 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Michael Stonek
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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