Ascent of Katahdin in 1990

Climber: Dan Lewis

Others in Party:Rob Pandolfo
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:5268 ft / 1605 m

Ascent Trip Report

We parked at Roaring Brook Campground, and started on the Helon Taylor Trail at around 8 AM. The trail ascends for 2 miles before reaching treeline. As the grade steepened and treeline came into view, Rob and I misjudged the altitude. We thought we were approaching 4500-4800 feet, based on our prior experience of treeline in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We expended a fair amount of energy as we rushed up to where the trees gave way to rocks; however, we were dismayed to learn that -because of the higher latitude - treeline on Katadhin is 1200 feet lower (3300-3400 feet).

After recovering our misspent energy, we went up and over Pamola and Chimney Peak, then proceeded across the infamous 'Knife Edge.' It was spectacular and narrow, but wide enough that I never felt in imminent danger of falling.

Made the summit of Katahdin around Noon, and observed the wide sweep of land visible from the peak. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. The surrounding terrain was considerably lower. The summit had a fair amount of people on it for such a remote peak.

We departed and made our way toward the Saddle Trail, but in a fit of youthful impatience, decided to exit the ridge via the first available trail - the Cathedral Trail. Our 19 year-old knees were able to handle it, but I admit the trail was not meant to be descended. No. It was punishment. One mile and 2000 vertical feet of sliding, lowering, crabbing, and jumping brought us to moderate terrain and the natural beauty of Chimney Pond. After admiring the scenery, we followed the Chimney Pond Trail for 3 miles back to the Roaring Brook parking area, finishing our sojourn in the well into the afternoon. Weather was sunny and mild throughout the day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3762 ft / 1146 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3762 ft / 1146 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3762 ft / 1146 m
    Route:Helon Taylor Trail, Knifes Edge
    Start Trailhead:Roaring Brook Campground  1506 ft / 459 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3762 ft / 1146 m
    Route:Saddle Trail, Cathedrial Trail, Chimney Pond Trail
    End Trailhead:Roaring Brook Campground  1506 ft / 459 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Kathadin

Complete Trip Sequence:
4Katahdin19903762 ft / 1147 m
Total Trip Gain: 3762 ft / 1147 m    Total Trip Loss: 3762 ft / 1147 m

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