Ascent of The Cannon Balls on 2014-02-03

Climber: Spencer Corcoran

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, February 3, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Cannon Balls
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3769 ft / 1148 m

Ascent Trip Report

As I drove toward Franconia Notch today with no definite hike idea in mind, I suddenly remembered Lonesome Lake and Northeast Cannonball, two places I hadn't been to before. I had some time before my night class, so I figured what the heck and drove over to Lafayette Place and got going on the Lonesome Lake Trail. Departure time: 9:45 AM.

I changed my plans around a bit while I was hiking, but I eventually did my full plan after some masterdebation.

The Lonesome Lake Trail started out easy, passing some closed campsites and crossing a few brooks early, soon meeting the High-Cannon Trail at 0.4 mile. After that, the LLT became more moderate and switched back up the mountainside. Near the lake, I saw who would be the last hiker I would see for the entire day. (I saw some people at the hut, but they were caretakers.)

I reached the junction with the Cascade Brook Trail and the Dodge Cutoff at 1.2 miles, but I opted to walk directly across the lake to the hut. I had to stare directly down at times to prevent snowblindness, but what I saw was amazing. Mountains, the lake, and the hut all in one scope.

Once at the end of the lake, I took some stairs to the hut, where I went in and ate some lunch. At this point, I had said to myself that I would only go as far as the hut, but when I asked two people there about the Lonesome Lake Trail to Northeast Cannonball, I said screw it and headed up that trail to the Kinsman Ridge Trail.

The portion of trail closest to the lake was very easy, but when I began ascending to Coppermine Col, it got steeper and icier- so much that I had to switch to microspikes. Near the floor of the col, the grade leveled, and then I briefly descended to the Kinsman Ridge Trail, which I took to the summit.

It may have been only 0.2 mile to the top, but it was very steep and rough, not to mention icy. I used any handhold I could find, and the worst part of all was a steep pitch that went in between a narrow rock space. (This would be pain to negotiate when I buttslid down this trail.) From this point to the summit, the trail was less broken out, which made traction extremely difficult in spots. I eventually made it, though. Elevation: 3,769 ft; total hiking time: 2 hours.

I didn't stay long, as it was wooded and viewless and there wasn't really anywhere to sit. I took some pics and then headed back down the way I came.

This was a very fun hike; I got to walk across a frozen lake, traverse some rough terrain, and the views, despite the cloudy skies, were great. Even the buttsliding was awesome! Total distance was 5.3 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain, with a personal book time of 3 hours 10 minutes, including my stop at the Lonesome Lake Hut.

Oh yeah, and for anyone interested in the New England 100 Highest list, Northeast Cannonball is #100 on it.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2000 ft / 609 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2000 ft / 609 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.3 mi / 8.5 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2000 ft / 609 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Route:Lonesome Lake Trail, lake walk, Around-the-Lake Tr
    Start Trailhead:Lafayette Campground  1769 ft / 539 m
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2000 ft / 609 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:Lonesome Lake Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail
    End Trailhead:Lafayette Campground  1769 ft / 539 m
    Time:1 Hours 10 Minutes

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