Ascent of Mount Cardigan on 2021-09-19

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Katrina
Date:Sunday, September 19, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Cardigan
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3123 ft / 951 m

Ascent Trip Report

We chose the perfect day to hike Cardigan: clear skies, some fall colors, moderate temperatures, light wind, and with friends. We met Boege and Jordan at the Cardigan Lodge which had half of the lot open when we arrived at 9am.

We began up the main trail at the end of the lot and stayed on the main route, going straight even when the sign said the Holt Trail and nature trail were to the left. At the Grand Junction we chose the Holt Trail and we read the menacing sign describing how hard the trail is, not to mention the handwritten comments at the bottom saying it's even hard than posted. We then hiked through the woods, steadily gaining elevation, passing some streams, and waiting for it to get hard. I was leading at the moment when we saw the first crack. It was a wide overlap of rock, and the four of us all successfully tried different techniques to get up it. My preferred way was to lean back off the crack, putting most of the weight on my arms. This did cause me to slip off the wet rock and bonk my heel on the one behind it, but I was ok. The Chacos were in for their most intense scramble yet. Soon after, we weren't sure where the trail went, but the answer was that it follows the rocky gut until you find blazes taking you elsewhere. We were gaining elevation fast, and soon got onto smooth bedrock and were rewarded with expansive views to the east. This caused some delay as we kept pausing to see the view grow a little bit every few feet we went up. The bedrock persists for longer than you'd expect in New England, and crescendos near the top with the trickiest section, yet. There's two more wide cracks which require some decent hand holds. Although the exposure isn't severe, Katrina called this call 4 since there were several moves that required a healthy majority of your weight to be supported by your arms and/or knees or other body parts. I agreed, that having to make nearly no-footed moves made this a class 4 and notably harder than the Knife's Edge on Katahdin which we hiked last month in the wet. We sure wouldn't want to be on Holt in rain or on ice. We all made it up successfully, including Jordan who pushed aside any fears of heights. We hadn't seen anyone on the hike until the summit, other than a tussock moth caterpillar. The summit was next to the tower, and the tower itself was locked and only had a portly two flights of stairs. It didn't matter, there were views from Washington to Camel's Hump to Monadnock from ground level.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1753 ft / 534 m
    Grade/Class:Class 4
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1753 ft / 534 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:Holt Trail
    Start Trailhead:Cardigan Lodge  1370 ft / 417 m
    Time:2 Hours 2 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Cardigan

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Cardigan2021-09-19 a1753 ft / 534 m
2Firescrew2021-09-19 b140 ft / 43 m
Total Trip Gain: 1893 ft / 577 m    Total Trip Loss: 1893 ft / 577 m

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