Ascent of McGaffey Mountain on 2010-07-02

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Daniel Musser
Date:Friday, July 2, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:McGaffey Mountain
    Elevation:1310 ft / 399 m

Ascent Trip Report

5th Peak on my highpoint of Maine lists by county. This one seemed easier than it was. Was pressed for time having just climbed Mount Abraham with my son and had to get to airport to pick up my sister in law 3 hours away. On the way there we saw that the HP of Kennebec County was nearby in Vienna. We only had an hour to burn so we found Mountain View Rd off of SR 41 and drove to "Rugged Hill Rd"....hmm now there is a road properly named. Although it has 2 perhaps 3 houses on the road it was a very steep 4WD route of bumpy cobble stones. USGS shows it as 4WD. It certainly needs HWV and/or 4WD. Parked at intersection at EL 613 (as shown on USGS)and then climbed up the very rugged and steep ascent.

Near top, road ends in a large clearing with NO VIEWS. The best views all day were from Rugged Hill Rd itself. From there it was a bushwhack. Pressed for time, we descided to run up the hill with out water or supplies just a compass. Big mistake. Thought the clearing was near the top. Learned later the bushwhack starts at around elevation 1060 so there was still another 250 feet or so and it was burried deep in the woods.THe bearing to the top was south by southeast.

Following the terrain to a HP no problem and we found it with no problem - no views just a small slab. We saw a few tied pink survey tape near the summit. Coming down we followed the pink tape expecting it to take us to the clearing in a NW bearing but it actually headed NE and got us on the wrong side of the ridge. Knowing we had to be down in 1 hour we bushwhacked due west then realized we were lost and heading either down the wrong ridge but if we went due west now to correct the course we would certainly miss our Rugged Hill Road.

Went back up found the flags again and then carefully followed them NW down and realized there were 2 pink flagged trails one going NE and one going NW back to the clearing. Having lost precious time, once we found Rugged Hill road we ran full speed all the way down the mountain and reached the car in 59 minutes! Dehydrated and a bit smarter. Never underestimate "a simple hike without a map"

One final note - if you want to make it more vertical - you can leave from the junction of SR 41 and Mountain View RD and the EL is 376 by USGS. Then you can earn a 1000 foot workout.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:817 ft / 248 m
    Total Elevation Loss:120 ft / 36 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Grade/Class:1 and 1+
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:697 ft / 212 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Route:Rugged Hill 4WD to bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Rugged Hill Road and Mtn View Rd  613 ft / 186 m
    Time:30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:120 ft / 36 m
    Gain on way out:120 ft / 36 m
    Distance:2.1 mi / 3.4 km
    Route:pink flags, bushwhack to Rugged Hill
    End Trailhead:same  
    Time:30 Minutes

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