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Ascent of Katahdin on 2011-10-15

Climber: Justin Crews

Others in Party:Marcus Crews
Elijah Ansart
Ian Fulache
Date:Saturday, October 15, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Katahdin
    Location:USA-Maine
    Elevation:5268 ft / 1605 m

Ascent Trip Report

Four hikers in the party left for the summit of Mt. Katahdin at 7:45 a.m. after a night of driving rain spent in a small lean-to shelter but under surprisingly mild conditions at the base (60s). Each of us carried a light day pack as we started from the Abol Trail Head of Baxter. The first hour of the hike was a deceptively gradual ascent through a wooded forest filled with slippery rocks and flowing water. Fallen yellow and brightly colored leaves lined the trail as well. As we made our way toward the tree line we encountered many wet boulders that were unavoidably placed in our path. As we reached tree line, we turned and the view below was of the surrounding forest and many rapidly changing leaves... This was astounding! The real challenging ascent began after the tree line mainly due to the fact that the trail became essentially a loose rock bed facing straight up the side of Katahdin. Many large boulders were interspersed with the loose rocks and we managed to scale the boulders by squeezing in between, over and under in all bodily forms. Above the tree line we could hear no sound at all. The only sense we had was that we were alone. We were at cloud level now and all we could see below was a grey cold fog. We continued our ascent at a minimum 50% grade straight up the side of the mountain. We finally reached the top and noticed this was only the first of several false peaks. We could not have known due to the lack of visibility up or down the mountain at this point. We walked to the intersection of Hunt Trail and it began to hail as the wind began to gust relentlessly. Each of us had our own thoughts but the most prevelant feeling was "why did we do this today? but we must keep going!" The air temperature dropped drastically and the cold could be felt fiercely in all extremities. As we continued we still had another mile to reach the summit. Each man was now clearly and profoundly separated. Each of us was walking at his own pace. At this point, brotherly and friendship bonds could help little. This was personal. Each of us had our own reasons for doing this and each of us had his own pace. Each man finally summitted one by one in driving rain and hail and 50mph gusts of wind. Our rain gear was almost worthless in those conditions. Two of us descended the mountain by Abol Trail and two of us split off onto Hunt Trail. Fortunately we packed the gas burner and made coffee for the descent. It was also critical to remove the wet layers of clothes- both wet from the perspiration of the climb and the driving precipitation. It was critical to pack dry clothes and a lightweight burner as well as high calorie snacks and water. We reached the base of Abol Trail again at 14:30. We did it.

"This was what you might call a bran-new country; the only roads were of Nature's making, and the few houses were camps. Here, then, one could no longer accuse institutions and society, but must front the true source of evil."-Thoreau

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Hut Camp
    Weather:Raining, Cold, Extremely Windy, White-out



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