Ascent of Katahdin on 2009-07-11

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen
and Daniel Musser; Andrew Welton
Date:Saturday, July 11, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:5268 ft / 1605 m

Ascent Trip Report

Elevation of TH, gain, and mileage from Baxter State Park guides and info at Kiosk.

Began hike at campground (spent night in park) and began around 7:45 AM in intense fog. Previous weather claimed 80% day of rain. downgraded to 60% that morning. Entire trip up was in fog with no views. Beautiful Katahdin Stream along tail with nice pools and waterfall at 1.2 miles. Hike was very steep in sections. Above tree line still no views because of thick fog. Last 2.5 miles began class three scrambles over large granite boulders along the ridge line between the "Owl" and Mount Katahdin Ridge. At around 4,000 feet we finally had some peek-a-boo views when the wind would give a few seconds of clearing through the fog and low clouds - but no threatening rain clouds were seen so we ventured higher.

Reaching the tabletop at 4,600, with few and far between views (because of cloud cover), we approached Thoreau Spring where the main trails all junction at the base of the final ascent. Because of the clouds there was still no view of Baxter Peak or South Peak although we would later find that they should have been in obvious view without the fog. Amazingly, as David and I summitted, a last blast of wind came and blew the remaining fog low cloud cover away and like opening the curtains to a sunny suddenly we were treated without warning to entire views in all directions. Incredible views of cirques and ridges. Knife Edge was amazing!. Trip down was sunny with no fog, no cloud, no weather problems. We enjoyed the rest of the day hiking down from the summit seeing all of the views that were not entitled to in the morning!

Trip up and down were very slow paced because of number of hikers in our group and the varying ability levels. Ascent was 4.25 hours and then we enjoyed 45 miles on the peaks. Entire trip took 9 hours primarily because Karen's legs wore out and took a very cautious and slow descent. David and I estimate that we would could have completed round trip in approximately 5 hours.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4189 ft / 1276 m
    Total Elevation Loss:98 ft / 29 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.4 mi / 8.7 km
    Grade/Class:1, 1+, 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
up= white out fog; summit and down - clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4189 ft / 1276 m
    Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route:Katahdin Stream- Hunt Trail
    Start Trailhead:Campground at Katahdin Stream  1079 ft / 328 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:98 ft / 29 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    End Trailhead:saddle between peaks  5170 ft / 1575 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Katahdin Summit

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Katahdin2009-07-11 a4189 ft / 1277 m
2Katahdin-South Peak2009-07-11 b70 ft / 21 m
3Katahdin2009-07-11 c98 ft / 30 m
Total Trip Gain: 4357 ft / 1328 m    Total Trip Loss: 4357 ft / 1328 m

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