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Ascent of The Horns on 2019-03-09

Climber: Ryan Aschbrenner

Date:Saturday, March 9, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Horns
    Location:USA-Maine
    Elevation:3805 ft / 1159 m

Ascent Trip Report

I parked on Stratton Brook Pond Rd, which was’t plowed beyond the houses. I continued on snowshoes, seeing lots of tracks from walkers and snowmobiles.

I met up with the AT after about a mile, and followed it northbound. The trail initially made a steep drop down to the Stratton Brook bridge crossing, and then there was some easy hiking over gently rolling terrain, passing by a sign marking the AT 2000-mile mark. After a while, the steep climbing began. The trail was nicely broken out until near the boggy area east of Cranberry Pond.

I reached the trail junction just before Cranberry Pond, continuing on the AT up the ridge toward my goal of The Horns South. This is where the going became difficult at times. I had trouble getting enough traction with my snowshoes on the steep slopes, often sliding backwards. Elevation gain was hard-earned. There were older, barely visible snowshoe tracks in the snow, but I stopped seeing them after some point. The route-finding turned out to be fairly easy.

Just before The Horns Pond, there is a short side trail leading to a ledgy overlook with a great view of the pond and The Horns rising high above it. It was my first really good look at the peak, and I could see that the climb would not be easy. I followed the trail down to the pond, passing by the lean-tos, and even taking the short trail to the edge of the pond. But that was just delaying the big climb. I set out on the trail to the summit, first making ok time, but then slowing on a long, straight, steep section of trail on the upper slopes. The grade became easier after the col between the north and south Horn peaks, and then I reached the summit, stopping for ten minutes to enjoy the view on this crystal-clear day.

It was a very fast and fun descent back to the pond, and then I continued making good time retracing my steps back to my starting point.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2705 ft / 824 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2705 ft / 824 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2625 ft / 800 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2545 ft / 775 m; Extra: 80 ft / 24m
    Loss on way in:80 ft / 24 m
    Route:Road, AT
    Start Trailhead:Stratton Brook Pond Rd  1260 ft / 384 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2625 ft / 800 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2545 ft / 775 m; Extra: 80 ft / 24m
    Gain on way out:80 ft / 24 m
    Route:AT, Road
    End Trailhead:Stratton Brook Pond Rd  1260 ft / 384 m



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