Ascent of Garfield Ridge West on 2019-08-31

Climber: Map Man

Date:Saturday, August 31, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Garfield Ridge West
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3667 ft / 1117 m

Ascent Trip Report

#73 and #74 on the NH Hundred Highest for East and West Garfield Ridge. We approached from the Gale River Trail to the Garfield Ridge Trail. I will not describe that route, since it is well known enough. The trail was fairly busy today, and the water crossings were no difficulty. At the end of the Gale River Trail, we turned right onto the Garfield Ridge Trail westbound. I expected the hiker traffic to decrease when we left the route to Galehead, but this trail was quite busy as well. It first climbed a tenth of a mile over the side of a small knob, then made a fairly steep drop to the col between East Garfield Ridge and Galehead in another tenth. Then the trail starts the brief ascent to East Garfield, first moderately through the forest, then steeply with some rock scrambles. Partway up, there is a nice viewpoint looking back at Galehead and South Twin. The height of land on the trail is reached about 0.15 miles from the col. The trail crosses an area of ledge, and continues straight ahead for a few yards, then turns right and descends. As the trail swings to the right, look for a herd path continuing straight ahead into the woods. We were able to follow this all the way to the summit. The total distance is a mere 250 feet or so. The path is very primitive, but can be followed with attention. The summit register is on a spruce tree at the top of a ledge with an excellent view of the Twin Range. If you walk around and down to the lower ledges, there is an even better view. The panorama stretches from North Twin across to Mt. Garfield, and there is a particularly fine view of the valleys below and around Owl's Head Mountain. The view was really much better than I had anticipated, so it was a nice surprise. It is much, much better than the view from 4000-footer Galehead, and this peak is far less crowded. Most people just pass it by without knowing it's even there. We took a lunch break on the lower ledges, then headed back to the Garfield Ridge Trail and continued west to get the next summit. The descent from East Garfield was surprisingly challenging. There were a lot of very steep, smooth, and wet rock slabs. The trail crosses a flat area around the col with some ups and downs, but reaches the true low point just under 1/4 mile from the height of land next to the peak. From there, it's up a sharp pitch in the forest, then up a more gradual incline to the height of land on the first of three summits on West Garfield Ridge, reached in just over 1/4 mile. Then there is a gentle drop to a low point, followed by a short incline to another height of land beside the second summit, after about 0.15 miles from the first. The third, and westernmost summit is the objective. The trail drops to another col in 0.1 miles, then starts to bypass the summit of West Garfield to the north. We continued along this trail, under the impression that there would be another herd path right to the high point, but we found nothing, and returned to the col to start our bushwhack. It was a simple and easy 450-foot whack through mostly open woods. The summit canister is a glass jar, and there is nothing in the way of views. West Peak is still significantly more effort than East Peak, though. East Garfield Ridge would appeal to hikers who are just passing by and would be interested in seeing the fantastic view it has. West Garfield is strictly for the Hundred Highest peakbaggers, since it has no appealing qualities on its own.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2827 ft / 860 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2827 ft / 860 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.8 mi / 17.4 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2467 ft / 751 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2067 ft / 630 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Loss on way in:400 ft / 121 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:Gale River Tr/Garfield Ridge Tr/bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Gale River Trailhead  1600 ft / 487 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2427 ft / 739 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2067 ft / 630 m; Extra: 360 ft / 109m
    Gain on way out:360 ft / 109 m
    Distance:5.3 mi / 8.5 km
    Route:bushwhack/Garfield Ridge Tr/Gale River Tr
    End Trailhead:Gale River Trailhead  1600 ft / 487 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Garfield Ridge

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Garfield Ridge East2019-08-31 a 
2Garfield Ridge West2019-08-31 b2827 ft / 862 m
Total Trip Gain: 2827 ft / 862 m    Total Trip Loss: 2827 ft / 862 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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