Ascent of Wachusett Mountain on 2011-05-08
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Sunday, May 8, 2011|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Train|
| Elevation:||1998 ft / 608 m|
Ascent Trip ReportA generally nice bicycling to the summit.
It was very cloudy early in the morning, clearing up later. I took MBTA Commuter Rail Fitchburg Line #2405 train to Fitchburg (10:08 am) and started cycling from there. 10+ bikes were on the train, mostly heading for Concord / Walden Pond.
I planned to take Mass Rte 31 and cross over to Mountain Rd via Rocky Pond Rd and Pine Hill Rd. Mass Rte 31 was closed for road work past Cody Rd so I took a detour following directions (Cody Rd -> Notown Rd -> Narrows Rd -> E Rd) to Wachusett Lake junction. A long detour. Then I took Mile Hill Rd to Mountain Rd to the trailhead near the col (elev. 1,385ft) between Wachusett and Pine Hill.
The roads have generally gentle (2-5%) ascent before I got close to Wachusett ski area. Roads past that becomes 9-15% steep ascent (11:02 am). This section was very exhausting and the weather became warm (~70°F) and humid. Also buggy too. There was a crowd at the trailhead (11:16 am). Parking lot was more than full.
The auto road to the summit was closed to motor vehicles, but okay for hikers and bicyclists. The first stretch of the auto road is a gentle descent, then comes 10%+ steep climb. The road was resurfaced recently and was very well paved, except for some dirt at ski slope crossings. There was some snow on the ski slopes, but not on the road. The last stretch is 25% grade. I spent 25 min on the Auto Road. (11:41 am)
The summit is a 200-ft diameter space with a pond, several radio towers, a fire tower, a ski lift shack, and several picnic tables. There is a brass compass on the highest spot, but no sign saying "Wachusett." About 20 people were on the summit. The weather was a mix of sun and clouds. Monadnock and Wapack Range were seen clearly. Mount Grace and Worcester can be vaguely seen. It was not clear enough to see Greylock and Boston skyline (according to a climber, Boston skyline was easily spotted on the previous Sunday).
I stayed on the summit for about 1 hr (11:41 am-12:37 pm) and headed back down. There were great expansive views of Monadnock and Wapack Range at the ski slope crossings, even better than that on the summit (there are trees partially blocking the view).
After a brief visit to the visitor center, it became very cloudy and I cycled back to Fitchburg (13:43 pm) in a hurry, including a 35-mph free glide down Mile Hill Rd (thanks to continuous downhill slope past Mass Rte 2) to avoid T-storms. I took the most straightforward route (Mass Rte 140 then 2A) to Fitchburg. It drizzled a bit on the middle of the way, and started raining hard half an hour after I got back to Fitchburg.
I took Commuter Rail train #2410 back to Boston.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1807 ft / 549 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||1807 ft / 550 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||26.6 mi / 42.8 km|
| Quality:||5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Snow on Ground|
| Gear Used:||Bicycle|
| Nights Spent:||0 nights away from roads|
| Weather:||Drizzle, Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy|
mix of sun and cloud and rain
| Gain on way in:||1709 ft / 520 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 1571 ft / 478 m; Extra: 138 ft / 42m|
| Loss on way in:||138 ft / 42 m|
| Distance:||13.6 mi / 21.8 km|
| Route:||River St-Route 31-Mile Hill Rd-Wachusett Auto Rd|
| Start Trailhead:||Fitchburg MBTA Station 427 ft / 130 m|
| Time:||0 Days 1 Hours 32 Minutes|
| Loss on way out:||1669 ft / 508 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 1571 ft / 478 m; Extra: 98 ft / 29m|
| Gain on way out:||98 ft / 29 m|
| Distance:||13 mi / 21 km|
| Route:||Wachusett Auto Rd-Mile Hill Rd-Hager Park Rd-Route|
| End Trailhead:||Fitchburg MBTA Station 427 ft / 130 m|
| Time:||0 Days 0 Hours 57 Minutes|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Yu-Pu Wang
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