Ascent of Mount Starr King on 2012-10-20

Climber: Gabriel Couët

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, October 20, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Starr King
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3898 ft / 1188 m

Ascent Trip Report

This trip was planned quickly after Luiza and I decided to go in Eastman at her Family country home for a weekend. She was going to receive one of her friends and they'd spend their time together. I figured I could drive down to the Whites and bag a few four thousand footers over one night.

I looked at my options and chose for lesser peaks that would be less likely to entice friends from joining me in a future trip. That's when the Pliny and Pilot ranges got my attention. They are mostly wooded ridges with limited views and less traveled trails, difficult to do in loops. My original plan was to do a hike out and then back to my trailhead, spending the night at Cabot's firewarden cabin.

We left Québec around 6pm Friday night after picking up the rental car and headed to Eastman. The road was difficult and heavy rain poured most of the way. When we arrived, I left my already done pack in the trunk and we went to bed, around 22:00. At 05:30, I rose and ate quick breakfast before heading off south towards the border. The road was mostly empty, and passing customs wasn't a hassle although the agent seemed a bit judgmental about my solo hiking. It might not have helped on that front that after being asked about how there might not be room at the cabin, I answered that the route was lightly traveled. I chuckled about this afterwards.

The easiest route to get near Berlin, NH from the border is via VT 105, but I got a bad surprise in Island Pond: the road was blocked and I had to follow a detour on VT 114. I had no idea where it was leading me and it lengthened the trip by a lot. I went back up to the border and followed it to US 3 and then south all the way to Jefferson. Finding the trailhead on Starr King Rd was easy, the signs and indications are very explicit.

There, I saw two hikers leaving on the trail as I parked. I changed into my hiking clothes and donned the pack before heading out at 09:05. As usual, I started off on the trail a bit hastily, probably in a bid to catch up to those hikers. I had forgotten to fill one of my Nalgenes in Eastman, and upon spotting the brook in a gully to my left, I thought about stopping there but kept going. It took about 15 minutes before I saw the hikers in front taking a short break along the trail. I paused to chat a bit and learned they were only hiking up Mt. Waumbek and back down. Since our cars were the only ones in the trailhead, I figured I'd be alone from now on.

I left again along the trail leaving them behind. The going was steady but still easy. Vegetation was still damp from the past day's rain but there was very little mud. At one point, I spotted a sign at the trail's left further ahead. When I reached it, I saw it was a marker for a spring. I was in luck! I got the empty Nalgene from my pack, and filled it from the trickle down a slight mossy ledge. I treated it and put it back in the pack. Resuming my hike, I heard the guys in my back, who weren't far behind. From there, it wasn't 15 minutes before I got close to what looked like the obvious summit of Mt. Starr King.

After a short switchback and hopping over the summit ledge, I was at the USGS marker. It was now 10:25. I took a picture, was sad to not have a view, and left. Turning the corner, I stumbled on the cabin ruins and a view. I lingered there for pictures and started again. Going slightly downhill towards the col, there were occasional openings in the trees, but nothing spectacular. Soon, I hit the lowest point before going uphill again towards Mt. Waumbek.

Mt. Starr King trail is a very nice uphill.

Old cabin ruins on mt. Starr King.

Northern Presidentials seen from Mt. Starr King.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2371 ft / 723 m
    Elevation Loss:181 ft / 55 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Hut Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Overcast
Overcast, with occasional sun peeking through.
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2338 ft / 713 m
    Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route:Starr King Trail
    Trailhead:Starr King Trailhead  1560 ft / 475 m
    Time Up:1 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:181 ft / 55 m
    Extra Gain:33 ft / 10 m
    Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Route:Kilkenny Ridge trail
    Trailhead:Mt. Starr King key col  3750 ft / 1143 m
    Time Down:10 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Pliny/Pilot (oct. 2012) (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Starr King2012-10-20 a
2Mount Waumbek2012-10-20 b
3Mount Weeks-South Peak2012-10-20 c
4Middle Weeks2012-10-20 d
5Mount Weeks2012-10-20 e
6Terrace Mountain2012-10-20 f
7Terrace Mountain-Middle Peak2012-10-20 g
8Terrace Mountain-North Peak2012-10-20 h
9Mount Cabot-Southeast Knob2012-10-20 i
10Mount Cabot2012-10-20 j
11Mount Cabot-Southeast Knob2012-10-20 k
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Gabriel Couët
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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