Ascent of Crystal Mountain-North Peak on 2019-07-28

Climber: Map Man

Date:Sunday, July 28, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Crystal Mountain-North Peak
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3220 ft / 981 m

Ascent Trip Report

#97 on the NH Fire Tower list and easily the worst fire tower site yet. It's a miserable bushwhack and it is only a proposed tower site! To cut down on logging road driving, we decided to avoid the usual route from the sketchy roads way over on the remote east side of the mountain and try for a sure thing parking at the base of a road on the west side. From Pittsburg, we took Rt. 145 south for 0.2 miles and turned left onto Cedar Stream Road. To find our trailhead, you will want to drive 8+ miles down this road. At the very beginning, stay left as a local road diverges on the right. At 1.2 miles from the start, the road bears left as Deadwater Loop goes right, becomes paved for a short stretch to cross a bridge, then bears left again. Past this point, the road starts to follow along the south side of Lake Francis. There are many lake houses and camps here; avoid all the driveways and private roads and stay straight. In 1.6 miles from the bridge, you will pass a nice clearing with a view over the lake. Continue 3.4 miles straight beyond this and bear right at a fork, where a rougher road carries the Cohos Trail to the left. In 0.3 miles beyond this, you will reach the other end of Deadwater Loop at a triangle junction. Take the left to stay on Cedar Stream Road, crossing a bridge. Continue 1.6 miles and turn right at a kiosk, just before a warning sign for a bridge ahead. We were not sure if the logging roads beyond this point were currently maintained, so we had planned to park here and walk in. However, we took the right and the road was easily drivable in any vehicle, so we kept going. To get to our trailhead, you will want to continue 0.6 miles and take the left fork. If you encounter the same conditions we did, you will want to find a parking space shortly after this junction. We found what appeared to be a washout above a culvert that was repaired very poorly. It looked like someone had just dumped a load of dirt over it and drove off. We attempted to cross it in our jeep and succeeded in making it over the ruts, but not without bumping the underside. At 1.8 miles from the junction, we encountered a similar situation and decided not to press our luck again. This was in the middle of a large clearing from logging. We parked and continued up the road on foot. About half a mile from the clearing, we turned left and went straight uphill on a more overgrown logging road that would never be drivable. It was a total of 0.8 miles up this road, which had some decent views and ended at a small clearing. We went directly into the woods from the clearing, which were immediately very thick and difficult to walk through. On our direct compass bearing to the summit, we soon encountered older logged areas, which were overgrown with hobblebush, ferns, thorn bushes, and various other delights. As we climbed up toward a knob between us and the summit, we went back into the woods, which started out ok, but soon became very thick. It was awful going up and over this. After we crossed the top, we reached open woods at last. We descended to the col through more ferns and hobblebush. We desperately tried to stick to the clearings as we ascended NW Crystal, but they eventually ended and we ran into the worst spruce forest we had ever seen. There was everything one could hope for in a bushwhack. Dead, sharp, interlocking spruce branches. Steep slopes. Pointy needles in your face. Plenty of blowdowns underfoot to climb over when you can't see your feet. There were also random clearings of a few square feet to give false hope that we had found open woods. It got progressively worse the closer we got to the summit. There was not much of an opening at the top, but we could see some views through the fir waves. We found the canister without too much difficulty, signed in, and headed promptly back down. Highlights: minor views, wildflowers, a deer skull. Lowlights: everything else. This is a peak I can say with certainty I will never return to in my life.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1170 ft / 355 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1170 ft / 355 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1030 ft / 313 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 890 ft / 271 m; Extra: 140 ft / 42m
    Loss on way in:140 ft / 42 m
    Distance:2.3 mi / 3.7 km
    Route:logging roads/bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:logging road  2330 ft / 710 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1030 ft / 313 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 890 ft / 271 m; Extra: 140 ft / 42m
    Gain on way out:140 ft / 42 m
    Distance:2.3 mi / 3.7 km
    Route:bushwhack/logging roads
    End Trailhead:logging road  2330 ft / 710 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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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