Ascent of Mount Cardigan on 2013-10-25

Climber: Spencer Corcoran

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, October 25, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Cardigan
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3123 ft / 951 m

Ascent Trip Report

I hiked Mt. Cardigan for #13 on the NH Fire Towers list.

I started from the west at the AMC Cardigan Lodge. There were a few vehicles in the lot, but I would have the entire ascent to myself.

I started out on the Holt Trail, which went past some campsites on an old woods road early on. It crossed Bailey Brook on a wooden footbridge near Grand Junction. At the junction, I veered right onto the Cathedral Forest Trail.

The trail from there had an easy to moderate grade, crossing a small stream and winding around a big, old blowdown. At 1.7 mi, I reached the junction with the Vistamont Trail and the Clark Trail; I continued on the latter.

The Clark Trail had an easy grade in the early going. At this point, I began to see traces of snow, which was an indicator of the changing seasons. There was one particularly wet and muddy spot, but it wasn't a big deal. At 2.1 miles, I reached the outlook known as P.J. Ledge, which had a good view to the east.

From there, I ascended on some ledges to the boarded-up firewarden's cabin at 2.4 miles. After that, I walked up steep, exposed ledges to the summit. Snow and ice became more prevalent, and the temperature dropped below freezing, and the wind chill into the 20s. Once I reached the summit, the wind was whipping, there was rime on the tower and the trail signs, water was frozen, and it was frigid. I quickly tagged the fire tower, got a summit snapshot, then went to back to the cabin to take a break in peace. After that, I headed back down the way I came.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1750 ft / 533 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route:Holt Trail, Cathedral Forest Trail, Clark Trail
    Trailhead:Cardigan Lodge  1373 ft / 418 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Frigid, Very Windy, Overcast

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