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Ascent of Pliny Mountain on 2020-08-08

Climber: Map Man

Date:Saturday, August 8, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pliny Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3606 ft / 1099 m

Ascent Trip Report

#84 on the NH Hundred Highest. With questionable weather for the day, we decided to head for one of the less exciting hundred highest peaks. As we headed north, it looked like it would turn out to be a sunny day, but we chose to continue with our initial plans. We parked at the traditional starting point for this peak, the abandoned Priscilla Brook Trail, which is reached as follows. From the junction of Rt. 115 and Rt. 2, head northwest on Rt. 2 for 0.4 miles and take a right (northeast) onto Ingerson Road across from Six Gun City. Drive one mile to a fork with Pond of Safety Road and bear left to stay on Ingerson Road. Continue 1.3 miles (passing some houses with excellent views) and park at a small pulloff on the right, just before a bridge and left bend in the road, where the Priscilla Brook Trail climbs into the woods. The abandoned trail was obvious to start, clearly following the bed of an old road. We started up and soon encountered an overgrown section, but this quickly gave way to more easy walking along the road. However, this did not last long, as the Priscilla Brook Trail slowly morphed into the mud monster that other trip reports had described. Walking was quite tedious as we tried to skirt along the edges of the road, stepping on rocks, to avoid the mud pit in the center. This was in mid-summer, during a drought. Based on this experience, I would recommend ascending this peak in winter only, so the snow can take care of the footing problem. Occasional blowdowns crossed the trail as well, but they weren't as big a deal. Barring the mud, the trail was easy to follow up along the brook for about 1.4 miles. Things got dicey when the trail swung right at the confluence of two major forks of the brook and dumped us out into a massive blowdown patch. There was no discernible trail corridor as we crawled over and under enormous downed trees, all the while trying to avoid the marshy ground underneath it all. Progress slowed down significantly here, as the trail was gone, not to be found again. We continued up through the woods, following the now-smaller brook at a distance. Eventually the blowdown devastation subsided, and the forest transitioned into the realm of hobblebush. We tried to stay near the brook, our original plan being to follow the trail to the col north of the summit, but the brook had died out and we zigzagged uphill. Soon we encountered a clear path that led across the slope. Since the ascent through the hobblebush was arduous, we decided to find out where the path led. It angled up across the slope toward the col on the west side of the summit, but petered out before reaching it. We then took a direct course toward the summit. The bushwhack was finally much easier, as the woods were open and there were not many obstacles. We found the highpoint in a small clearing with a few blowdowns. There were no views to enjoy (even from the top of an uprooted tree), so we didn't stay long. We signed into the glass jar register and headed toward the western col. It was a quick and easy descent through more open woods. We found some nice open glades in the col. Our next destination was the western knob, which looked like it might have some viewpoints. As we started the short climb up, we merged into a moose path that led all the way to the top. The forest mixed with intermittent clearings, and the clearings took over as we approached the top. We found some scattered views through the trees back toward the summit, but nothing really exciting. One small opening offered a view to the south. Looking for better views, we wandered through the clearings across the top and started descending due south. Eventually, we found the best clearing, looking through barren birch trees, at about 3120'. We stopped for our lunch break here and enjoyed the views of the Franconias and Twins, with glimpses over to the Presidentials on the left and Vermont on the right. I can't say this view was worth the effort of climbing this mountain, but it was nice. The descent brought more irritation. We started descending the sharp slope back toward the Priscilla Brook Trail, but found ourselves having to cross constant overgrown logging roads and clearings. Thorns, tall brush, and dense hobblebush impeded the way as we fought across what seemed like dozens of logged areas. Eventually we hit the old road and enjoyed the comparatively easy stroll out through the mud. There were some nice features of this peak, but I'm sure we will never visit it again.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2022 ft / 616 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2022 ft / 616 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1884 ft / 574 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1864 ft / 569 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Loss on way in:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Route:Priscilla Brook Tr/bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Ingerson Road  1742 ft / 530 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2002 ft / 610 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1864 ft / 569 m; Extra: 138 ft / 42m
    Gain on way out:138 ft / 42 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:bushwhack/Priscilla Brook Tr
    End Trailhead:Ingerson Road  1742 ft / 530 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Pliny Mtn

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Pliny Mountain2020-08-08 a2022 ft / 616 m
2West Pliny Mountain2020-08-08 b 
Total Trip Gain: 2022 ft / 616 m    Total Trip Loss: 2022 ft / 616 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


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