Ascent of North Twin on 2010-04-03

Climber: Gokul Gopal

Others in Party:Imran Alvi
Date:Saturday, April 3, 2010
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:North Twin
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4100 ft / 1249 m

Ascent Trip Report

Haystack Rd, leading from NH Rt.3 to the North Twin trailhead was closed for the winter, so we started from the end of Little River Rd (near Seven Dwarves) in Twin Mountain, NH and bushwhacked near the east bank of Little River to the trailhead. The recent warm weather had melted all the snow in this area and any tracks were lost - this roughly 1-mi bushwhack took us about 2 hrs.

We followed the trail from there, but only briefly, as we could not cross the river due to flooding conditions and high waters. So we decided to continue on the east bank and take only the third of three crossings over the same river. However, when we got to this third crossing, it looked very risky (this was the week that New England was suffering their worst floods in over a 100 years, and the rivers were just cresting over this weekend) so we continued bushwhacking along the east side, but had to now cross some tricky feeder streams. The hope was that the river would get smaller after we crossed a few more of these feeder streams, but the downside was that this would take us far from the trail, which turned away from the river at the last crossing. Over an hour later, we found a tricky but doable crossing with a fallen tree providing assistance for part of the distance. We used a rope to transfer gear across the river (using a midway rock outcropping as a stopping point) and to tie ourselves in for the crossing.

After crossing, we made the mistake of choosing not to head back along the river towards the trail, in order to avoid having to cross a big feeder stream between us and the trail, and decided instead tobushwhack up the east slope of the mountain, and maybe catch the trail near the top. The snow was very soft and deep, we were scrambling through very thick forest filled with spruce traps ... and ... Imran left his snowshoes in the car, so the post-holing and climbing out of chest deep traps was particularly unpleasant. After hours of very slow and painful bushwhacking, and finding ourselves ESE from the so-far-hidden peak (instead of ENE - we were navigating by map & compass, but were forced along a slightly south of westward direction by the gradients and regions of impassable vegetation to our right), we decided to abort the trip and follow our tracks back. We were probably about a mile from the summit, and about 600-700 ft below it.

We made it back to the river crossing after dark and found that more of the snowbank had been washed away, and that the tree that had been there seemed to have been dragged a little further downstream from the nearest accessible rock on the far bank. It would not be wise to attempt a crossing here at dark, so we decided to camp nearby and re-evaluate in the morning.

Having planned this as a day trip, we didn't have a tent or sleeping bags, so were going to have to manage with a bivy and assortment of other gear. We made a good fire, dug and patted out a sleeping area, and put on all our layers and used hand and foot warmers for additional heat. While the day was unusually warm and in the 60s, it was in the 30s by midnight.

After a cold night with intermittent sleep, we woke at dawn, stiff and cold, with our wet boots waiting to be put on. The river crossing looked at least as bad now as it appeared the previous night, and the waters were higher. So we bushwhacked along the west bank, hoping to meet the trail at the third river crossing, which we'd have to use now. After over an hour, we found the trail, and followed it to the crossing. The crossing was riskier than the one we used downstream, but proved reasonably doable after all (still using ropes).

From here we retraced to the trailhead and bushwhacked to our cars, about 30 hrs after we started out.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2800 ft / 853 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Snowshoes, Bivouac
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2800 ft / 853 m
    Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Route:bushwhack, North Twin Tr, bushwhack
    Trailhead:1300 ft / 396 m
Descent Statistics

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