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Ascent of Little Attitash Mountain on 2019-05-11

Climber: Map Man

Date:Saturday, May 11, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Little Attitash Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:2504 ft / 763 m

Ascent Trip Report

#82 on the NH Fire Tower list. We started at the main parking for Attitash Ski Area and passed through the pedestrian tunnel to get to the main lodge area. Attitash was closed for skiing but not yet open for summer activities, so no one was there and a sign indicated hiking was allowed at own risk. Having skied here twice, we chose the route to skier's right, as that seemed like the most gradual route to the top. We walked under the "mountain coaster" and started up the Lower Cathedral Trail. There was some snow still on the trail, but the mud wasn't bad. We briefly detoured on the Lower Highway Trail, then continued up Lower Cathedral. There were some steep spots as we climbed past the trailside condos, which end at 1100'. After passing the bottom of Upper Cathedral, we arrived at the junction of three trails and forked left onto Ammonoosuc. Good views open up quickly at this point. This trail swings wide to avoid the steeps on the discouragingly-named "Idiot's Option" ski trail, and from this point on, it isn't really bad walking up the ski trails. At the top of this trail, we chose to go up the "Chicken's Option". Up on Lower Saco, which has excellent open views, the snow pack was much larger and harder to avoid; we walked up over some of it. We continued to stay to the far left as we climbed up Upper Saco, which was much easier walking. There were more large patches of snow up here.

Upon reaching the top of the summit chairlift, we walked behind the ski patrol hut to search for the abandoned trail mentioned in other online reports. After a quick inspection, we did not see anything, and decided to head straight to the first ledge on the ridge on a compass bearing. The woods started out open and we quickly ran into a faint herd path with a faded red blaze. We attempted to follow the trail, but lost it quickly. After sinking into a pocket of deep snow, we decided to put on our gaiters, which was a wise decision, as we later encountered snow that was up to 3 feet deep. The woods thickened considerably as we went on. It was mostly short spruce trees, not terribly hard to push through, but not pleasant walking either. The steep slopes with deep snow made travel difficult. We picked up the old trail again and followed it up to the first ledge, where it seems to end. We set another compass bearing toward the summit and continued. It was much flatter from here, but still pretty thick. There was less snow up here, but some wet areas instead. There are several false summits around the ledges with good views to the southeast of Moat Mountain. The actual summit is on top of a very steep rock and is marked with a canister. We continued on past the summit and found some better open ledges with views to the west and north. On the second ledge we visited, we found a pile of rusted wires and nails next to a cairn, clearly put in a pile by a previous hiker. These were the only artifacts of the fire tower we could find. Our path back to the ski area was very close to our ascent path, and we found a bit more of the abandoned trail. We stopped briefly at the top to climb the observation tower and enjoy the views before heading down the way we came.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1894 ft / 577 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1894 ft / 577 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.9 mi / 7.9 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1894 ft / 577 m
    Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route:ski trails/abandoned trail/bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Attitash Ski Area  610 ft / 185 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1894 ft / 577 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:bushwhack/abandoned trail/ski trails
    End Trailhead:Attitash Ski Area  610 ft / 185 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Map Man
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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