Ascent of Galehead Mountain on 2008-07-20

Climber: Michael Blair

Others in Party:Monica
Andrew B
Bill (w Zoe)
Diane B
and Paul B.
Date:Sunday, July 20, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Galehead Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4024 ft / 1226 m

Ascent Trip Report

Monica and I started hiking with the Random Group on July 21 on a climb to Jennings and Sandwich. Less than one year later (and only seven months of actual hiking) we climbed to the summit of our 48th and final AMC NH 4,000 foot summit. While I had set my goal to get them done by July 27 (first 4K summit - Jefferson) there were many experiences along the way and several times when I didn't think that I would make it by my target date. Cannon - I felt like a lazy slob that Sunday and forced myself to go out and hike. I worked in the barn all morning and by the time I got to the trailhead it was about 95 degrees with what felt like 100% humidity. Being alone there was no one to set the pace (other than me) and there was no reason to go slow or to take breaks, so I just kept going. It wasn't until I finally reached the summit (after a realizing that the first "summit" that I reached wasn't where I needed to be) that I realized that I kept about a 3 MPH pace for the entire climb up. No wonder I was tired. North Twin - Part of a Bond/Twin backpacking trip. The summits were not a problem, it was the trail on the way out that was miserable. We missed a river crossing and ended up following a "bushwhack" trail that is used when the water level of the river is to high to cross. At times the "trail" wasn't even wide enough for my boot. Not the way you want to end a trip - I had already demonstrated my hiking abilities on the ridge, no need to keep testing me when I am almost back to my car. East Osceola - Walked right past a group that was standing in front of the cairn used to mark the trail and didn't realize it until we we started descending on the backside of the mountain. The Kinsmans - Took my second-worst fall here rushing back to the group because one of the members had "signaled" that they needed help. I caught my boot on a rock or root and flew through the air like Superman, only to land at the feet of the "hiker in distress". Not in distress at all. The Hancocks - Only two days after my Kinsmans' fall I had my best fall of the season. I wasn't paying attention to the person in front of me as we were hopping from log-to-log as we crossed this mud bog, the person in front of me stopped, and I had no place to step so I ended up taking a header into the most nasty, foul-smelling mud that any human had (or will ever) encounter. I smelled like I had been dead and rotting in the sun for weeks. Liberty and Flume - Had to skip these two on a backpacking trip because there was a snow and ice storm overnight that made it to dangerous for the group to continue. Passaconaway, Whiteface, and the Tripyramids - An absolutely miserble backpacking experience. Cold. Rain that came at you sideways at times. An overnight freeze that solidified all of the wet things. A climb up the slide that while fun was totally exhausting. There were many times that I contemplated just tossing my 60+ pound pack in the woods and coming back to get it another time. Isolation - A late start, Monica fell in the river and got soaked, and snow on the ground made finding the trail difficult so we turned back. Moriah the very next day was also a bit of a challange. Not sure why, but I was as slow as I had ever been and reached my Forrest Gump moment ("I'm pretty tired...I think I'll go home now.") about 100 yards short of the summit (couldn't see the summit though since it was a winding trail and the trees were covered with snow. Isolation/Liberty/FLume - Otherwise known as the lost weekend. Had to turn back from Isolation attempt #2 because the river was swollen making the crossings almost impossible. We made it further than we did on #1, but still no where near the summit. Then the very next day had Liberty/Flume attempt #2 thwarted by a member of the group that was sick. Only went a couple of miles before turning back. Finally got Isolation on a "trail run" on Friday the 13th. Liberty/Flume almost was missed on attempt #3 because a member of the group was not physicallly capable to completing the hike - ended up splitting up and she stayed at the Liberty Springs Campsite with the Caretaker while we went up and got the two summits. Cabot/Waumbek - Not a particulalry difficult backpack on paper, but reality doesn't always live up to expectations. The Kilkenny Ridge Trail to Cabot and from Waumbek was what you would expect in the White Mountains. Not so for the section of the trail between these two summits. Obviously only used by true peakbagers as they climb to Terrace (NH 100 Highest). Overgrown. Not marked at all. One blowdown after another. Miserable. Did I mention that it rained. Did I mention that on EVERY backpack except the Bond/Twin trip it has poured when I am carrying my house and my bed on may back. Not to change things up it poured on the "Two Heads are Better Than One" backpacking trip that got us Owls Head and Galehead.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Hut Camp

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