Ascent of Mount Lethe on 2021-04-25

Climber: Jason Rossman

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, April 25, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bicycle
Peak:Mount Lethe
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4584 ft / 1397 m

Ascent Trip Report

Note to self: Don't plan a long day of hiking (especially in the snow) the day after doing trail work.

I spent the day before doing trail work with the Trailwrights towards my completion of their list. Today I had two goals: (1) hike the section of the AT from Rt 2 in Gorham to North Carter Trail closing the gap of the AT in the Wildcat/Carter range in which I had not covered yet and (2) summit Mt Lethe.

I dropped my pack in the woods at the Rattle River trail head, then drove back to the trailhead for Imp Trail North. I then rode my bike 8.5 miles back to Rattle River. It was mostly downhill to Gorham, and then a few small uphills on Rt 2 to the trail head.

No snow at the trail head. A little more than a mile in to the trail, a gentleman was coming down and said he had to turn around because he wasn't prepared for the 2'-3' of snow near the top and that I wasn't carrying extra weight with my snowshoes. That made me feel good. I did pretty much the same thing as him in my early hiking days.

I put the snowshoes on at around 2500'. This was my first time hiking in snowshoes. There was a set of tracks that I followed up to the ridge, though at one point they split off and I briefly went off trail before turning around and correcting my mistake.

At the junction with Kenduskeag Trail, the tracks I had been following went left, but I wanted to go right. The trail to the right was untouched so this would be my first trail breaking experience. I figured it would be easy since the AT is well marked. Not so. 3 times I had to stop, backtrack to the last white blaze and correct my direction. A couple times I thought about turning back because I wasn't really sure which way to go. I think it had been quite a while since anyone had been on this trail. The next person to come up behind me is going to get confused.

Finally made it to just below the summit of Moriah and decided to continue on and not officially summit the mountain. No reason to bag it and I was already worried about time after getting lost and the snow shoeing taking longer than anticipated.

From Moriah to Stoney Brook trail was well trodden and the snow was soft so I kept the snowshoes on to start. I removed them once I reached a long area of exposed rock and didn't put them back on until the intersection with Stoney Brook Trail. After Stoney Brook is where I expected the trail to be untouched, but to my pleasant surprise there were a couple sets of snow shoe prints that had come up from the south. Now I was less worried about getting lost again, but would still would keep my eyes open. The ascent up North Carter was the toughest part of this hike by far. Normally a scramble in the summer, the slippery snow made for tough going. Once I crested the summit area, I knew he worst was behind me. The trail was well worn from the North Carter summit onward. Goal #1 was complete.

After a quick break at the North Carter Trail junction, I continued on about 0.2 miles where there is an opening in the scrub on the left. I thought this was the beginning of a herd path to the summit of Lethe. After a quick left turn, the "path" disappeared and it became a true bushwhack. Amazingly, there were also snow shoe prints here as well which I was not expecting. I decided to drop my pack and remove my snow shoes and bare boot it to the summit with my GPS. I briefly followed the snow show tracks, but then found my own way to the flat summit area. The summit area is slightly more than 200' from the trail. On the way back to retrieve my snow shoes and pack, I post-holed almost up to my waist with one leg, and then did nearly the same with the other and for a brief second thought I might get stuck. Thankfully I didn't and returned to the trail without further issues.

I put the snow shoes back on and finally began my descent. They stayed on the entire portion of the North Carter Trail and then took them off for good at about 3200' on Imp Trail North. This was my 4th time on Imp Trail North and hopefully my last. This trail needs a lot of TLC in places. I returned to my car exhausted, but happy with what I accomplished today. Also happy that the forecasted rain held off until just as I returned to my car.

START - 8:57am
END - 6:41pm
14.33 miles

Lethe - #65/Trailwrights72

Side note: I did bring microspikes, but never used them. Only saw 5 people the entire day.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3807 ft / 1160 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3315 ft / 1010 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.3 mi / 23.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3807 ft / 1160 m
    Distance:9.8 mi / 15.8 km
    Route:Rattle River, Kenduskeak, Carter-Moriah, bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Rattle River  777 ft / 236 m
    Time:5 Hours 49 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3315 ft / 1010 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:bushwhack, Carter-Moriah, North Carter, Imp Tr Nor
    End Trailhead:Imp Trail North  1269 ft / 386 m
    Time:1 Hours 55 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jason Rossman
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

This page has been served 117 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2023 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service