Ascent of Whitcomb Fire Tower Peak on 2019-07-13

Climber: Map Man

Date:Saturday, July 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Whitcomb Fire Tower Peak
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:2500 ft / 762 m

Ascent Trip Report

#92 on the NH Fire Tower list. This little peak was one of my favorites, for its remoteness and the quality of the fire tower. Not the easiest navigation to get to it, but it isn't a bushwhack. Coming from the south, you will need to drive about five and a half miles past Rt. 110B on Rt. 16 and turn left onto the dirt Dummer Ponds Road. This road was a relief for us after driving to Cambridge Black earlier in the day. The road was wide and had very few rocks sticking up. At 2.0 miles, bear right to stay on the main road. At 3.0 miles, bear left to stay on the main road. At 3.6 miles, bear left again, staying on Dummer Ponds Road at a more ambiguous but signed junction. At 5.0 miles, you will drive past the power station for the large wind farm up on Dixville Peak. At 5.8 miles, Paris Road comes in on the left. Stay right on Dummer Ponds Road. At 6.4 miles, turn left onto Trio Ponds Road at a junction with a street sign that is buried in vegetation and is easy to miss. Trio Ponds Road is a much rougher road, with some downed branches and more rocks. Depending on the kind of vehicle you have, it might be worth it to walk the last segment on the road. Just over 0.2 miles down the road, you must cross a very sketchy-looking bridge over Philips Brook. We got out and inspected it before driving over. The steel supports seem solid, but the wood on top is very soft and coming apart. After the bridge, it is 1.0 mile to the trailhead. You will know you have reached it when you see a curve to the left in a clearing where a lesser road forks sharply to the right.

From the trailhead, with Trio Ponds Road on your left and the lesser road on your right, ignore both of the obvious options and instead head between them onto a beaten path through the grass. This quickly enters the woods and becomes an old road which parallels the lesser road from the clearing. Head uphill on this for 0.3 miles and you will reach a clearing. The road swings left here and continues climbing. In another 0.3 miles, you will cross another clearing, heading straight through. In about 0.17 miles past the end of this clearing, turn right onto an ATV trail which heads straight uphill. Follow this for just 0.1 miles to a grassy four-way intersection. Turn right here, proceed 120 feet, then turn left as you join an older road and head back uphill. Continue less than 0.1 miles to another grassy clearing, where you will find the most confusing intersection of the route. In the woods just to the right, you will find an overgrown old road. Follow this until it becomes a clearer path. It may also be possible to skip this segment and continue on the more obvious grassy road, but we did not attempt this route. On the old woods road, you will soon come to another grassy opening where it turns right and heads slightly down. Continue to follow it past the clearing and back into the woods. You will soon intersect a more obvious woods road, which can be followed about a quarter mile to the summit.

The tower is in surprisingly good shape; it must be kept up by someone. All the steps and railings are intact and solid. The frame has been equipped with a solar panel and some sort of wind/weather measuring device. The cab was in poorer condition, as there were some holes and loose boards in the floor. We stayed on the top flight of stairs to enjoy the view. The view was really cool, wild, and remote. The higher Whitcomb peaks loom high above on the west, while there is a far-reaching view out to the east, including the Mahoosucs and Presidentials.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:830 ft / 252 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Route:woods roads
    Trailhead:Trio Ponds Road  1670 ft / 509 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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