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Ascent of The Horns on 2021-05-08

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, May 8, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:The Horns
    Location:USA-Maine
    Elevation:3805 ft / 1159 m

Ascent Trip Report

I made an ambitious goal of hiking Bigelow, Sugarloaf, Saddleback, and Elephant Mountain all in one weekend. It began with a drive on Friday night to camp near Rangeley, and a short drive Saturday morning to Stratton Brook Pond Road to begin hiking. When I turned off the highway, there was a sign that said the road was closed for mud season, however there was no barrier. I continued on, but found that where the road crossed Stratton Brook, the roadbed was washing out around the culvert, and that's where the road was specifically closed. This changed my plans from doing the Horn Pond/Fire Warden loop. I decided instead to do the longer, but hopefully more scenic AT to the summit, and Fire Warden Trail down.

I had to start by walking the road, which really wasn't annoying, then turned on the AT. I passed over a bridge named after someone named Dick. Later, I got to a campsite to use the privy and got to read about Dick since his obituary was on the wall. I also saw a number of bird species, the 2,000 mile marker for the AT, and red trillium along the flatter section. Next the trail got steeper and I ascended to the ridgeline. There were a couple spurs on the bedrock to beautiful overlooks. I saw that Sugarloaf had plenty of trails with snow on them still, and I had a decent view of Flagstaff Lake. I looked along the ridge and thought North Horn might be West Peak. After looking at the global topo, I saw that I had to go OVER that first. This was turning into a big hike to start out the weekend. I saw my first snow at 2100', but it wasn't a factor until I dropped down to a saddle and got closer to Horn Pond on the ridgeline. Then there was a chance of post holing the rest of the way to the top. Thankfully, the steepest sections on the way to the Horn were mostly dry. I opted to skip the North Horn as it looked like I would get decent views off the higher South Horn, and eventually West Peak. The South Horn summit is right on the trail, but mostly had views to the south and east. Going to North Horn would have added ~0.8 miles and some gain, but that summit did have a panoramic view.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3025 ft / 922 m
    Total Elevation Loss:450 ft / 137 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3025 ft / 922 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2575 ft / 785 m; Extra: 450 ft / 137m
    Loss on way in:450 ft / 137 m
    Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Route:AT
    Start Trailhead:Stratton Brook Pond Rd  1230 ft / 374 m
    Time:3 Hours 3 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Bigelow

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1The Horns2021-05-08 a3025 ft / 922 m
2Bigelow Mountain2021-05-08 b1040 ft / 317 m
Total Trip Gain: 4065 ft / 1239 m    Total Trip Loss: 4065 ft / 1239 m



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