Ascent of North Kinsman Mountain on 2016-01-17

Climber: Cynthia Chan

Others in Party:Mountain & Outdoor Bound - Rumana Choudhary
John Rose
Sanjay Chandra
Lisa E
Date:Sunday, January 17, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:North Kinsman Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4293 ft / 1308 m

Ascent Trip Report

North Kinsman, South Kinsman in & out (~10 miles)

Gear Used: Hillsound micro spikes, hiking poles, base layer, down jacket, down vest, balaclava, headlamp

North Kinsman (4,293 ft) and South Kinsman (4,358 ft) which is 0.9 miles from the summit of North Kinsman.

North Kinsman Mountain is a 4,293' (1,309 m) mountain in the Kinsman Range in Franconia, NH, Grafton County. It is part of the Western White Mountains.

Both mountains are named after Nathan Kinsman, who was an early resident of Easton, NH. North Kinsman Mountain and South Kinsman Mountain, are both considered 4,000 footers because there is more than 200 feet of topographic prominence between the two.
There are spectacular 180 degree views off a huge boulder near the summit of North Kinsman Mountain looking over Cannon Mountain, South Kinsman Mountain and the Franconia Ridge.
South Kinsman Mountain is 0.9 miles from the summit of North Kinsman Mountain. Bald Peak is 2.2 miles from the summit of North Kinsman Mountain. Cannon Mountain is 3.8 miles from the summit of North Kinsman Mountain

South Kinsman Mountain is a 4,358' (683 m) mountain in the Kinsman Range in Franconia, NH, Grafton County. It is part of the Western White Mountains. Because it is the highest point between Franconia Notch and the Kinsman Notch, South Kinsman Mountain is the sixth most prominent mountain of the White Mountains.

There are no views to look at on the summit of South Kinsman Mountain because trees are in the way, but there was gorgeous white trees and white ground – everything looked like a winter wonderland!

After an epic hike on Saturday, bagging Willey, Field and Tom and experiencing the wonderful views on the journey, I was eager to get started on our 2nd day of NH4000’er winter peak bagging! Thankfully, we discussed the optional Cannon Mountain, and everyone concluded it was too aspirational and we were better off sticking to North Kinsman and South Kinsman, given the weather and trail conditions. The morning before, I had run into a good friend from the city, Gregory Frux – he was in New Hampshire for another set of rugged hiking with his hiking buddy, who also, by the way, had a big ass camera – I can imagine the photos!

Anyway, our group was slow to get started. After a hearty breakfast of boiled eggs, bread/toast, I was ready for the day’s challenge. I decided, though it was 10F colder than Saturday, and trail conditions may have become tougher overnight, to stick to my Hillsound micro-spikes. Many hikers I spoke to the night before advised the Kinsman trail was widely used and most likely packed down. Good thing I heeded their advice – my best gear for the day – Hillsound micro spikes, 1 base layer, my pink down jacket, orange down vest, and hand / foot warmers, and hiking poles, down mittens, balaclava and headlamp – made it a real comfortable hike all the way through. The balaclava came in very handy when I started descending North Kinsman hiking towards South Kinsman; the winds picked up a bit and it felt as though the temperature dropped a little.

Start Mount Kinsman Trail 10am
North Kinsman 1:40pm
South Kinsman 2:40pm
Finish 5:35pm

Cooler than Saturday by 10F. I started at the trailhead wearing full 2 base layers, down jacket, down vest, and the multi-color wool hat mom had knit for me years ago – my lucky hat. Through the hike though, 1 base layer, down jacket, down vest and hand/foot warmers and down mittens were quite sufficient, with use of the balaclava after summiting North Kinsman mountain. I hiked the last 30 mins with headlamps. Thankfully (God!) we finished all the ice patches before had to put on the headlamps. Cool, windier than the day before.
Luckily the group decided to drop Cannon Mountain the day before, so became an in & out along the Mount Kinsman Trail.

It took quite a while from the trailhead to the summit of North Kinsman Mountain. Supposedly, it is close to double the distance as the previous day’s hike, but much less steep, more moderate in nature. The entire hike was much more moderate, however, we were a tad tired from the previous day’s more strenuous hike.

There was ice. There was snow. There was water. There was scrambling. Snowy ladders on Osceo trail - snow covered / ice beneath ‘ladder’ of epic heights. Being scared of heights, I took a deep breath, and scrambled (using all 4) to ascend the ladder until finally reaching the top – which was close to the summit.

Upon reaching North Kinsman summit, we took a group photo then prepared to continue on! The descent towards South Kinsman was a tad steep and laden with ice patches. One of our group members, who was tuckered from yesterday’s hike, decided to skip South Kinsman upon seeing the ice patch (which likely required butt sliding) and head back down North Kinsman, making her own way back to the trailhead. The 4 remaining discussed options – Sanjay and I were very eager, given we had hiked all this way and driven all this way – to continue and pursue South Kinsman, which was less than 1 mile away! We talked Rumana and John into continuing. We dropped our backpacks neatly on the side, took a massive gulp of water, our headlamps, and a snack and headed off!

Phew! What a wonderful relief to hike with just poles and no backpack! I ran into a bunch of hikers descending South Kinsman as I was ascending, who encouraged me to continue on – the views were worth it, they cheered! And they were right! The summit was spectacular – a winter wonderland, all those trees covered fully in white snow as the ground. But it was windy! I could not find the cairns as I was too busy looking at the views. John went ahead and found the cairns and we headed over. One 4-person group shot, with my balaclava fully on, given the wind conditions. A few memorable photos and we were off the mountain, headed back to North Kinsman to head out.

I quickly descended South Kinsman and looked to ascending the little to ascend to re-summit North Kinsman. I recalled an icy patch that was sketchy when I summited North Kinsman from the other side and wanted to pass that area before it got dark. And I did! I ran into Lisa, our 5th person, relaxing near the ice patch spot, picked her up and we continued hiking back, hauling ass, to the trailhead. I quickly was able to pass the ice patch, which was not as dicey coming back than going up, and was on relatively flat ground by 5pm sunset. Out came the headlamps and Lisa and I made our way back to the car. Sanjay had passed us about 30 minutes ahead and had his car warmed up for our return. We waited for John and Rumana, who came down about 60 minutes later – some troubles on the trail, blisters and such.

We headed back to the Notch Hostel again to take off my socks and boots, and take a nice hot, hot shower. Dinner would be Lisa’s home-made lentil soup / paste. Another wonderful day conquering New Hampshire’s 4000-footers!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: Winter - North Kinsman, South Kinsman (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1North Kinsman Mountain2016-01-17 
2South Kinsman Mountain2016-01-17 

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