Ascent of Mount Lowell on 2020-11-07

Climber: Map Man

Date:Saturday, November 7, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lowell
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3720 ft / 1133 m

Ascent Trip Report

#89 on the NH Hundred Highest. We climbed this tough peak on an unusually warm and sunny November Saturday. We started our hike on the Signal Ridge Trail, which was quite busy today. The first 2 miles of the trail were familiar, as we had hiked this section twice before. The majority of the crowd was headed to Carrigain though, so we were quickly alone when we turned up Carrigain Notch Trail. The footway was covered with leaves and clearly hadn't been used much at all. We had also been up here once to get to Vose Spur, but that was earlier in the year back in 2018. We went about a mile up this trail to the second major brook crossing, which like the first was just a rocky brookbed. We started our bushwhack here, following a compass bearing toward the crest of the long southeast ridge on the mountain. We wandered through the flat, open woods, crossing a smaller dry brook before we reached the incline. We clamored up the sharp slope, gaining elevation quickly. The forest remained fairly open for a while, but we ran into some conifer patches closer to the ridgetop. It was still strenuous climbing. It was mostly conifers as we stopped for a break the moment we crested the ridge. As soon as we started up the ridge, we hit a much worse spruce thicket. It took a few minutes to free ourselves and make it to the other side. We found a nice clearing that lasted a short while, but then it was back to mixed spruce. Most of the time, it was easier to stay to the north side of the ridge, but there were a few rough spots that were just unavoidable. The further up we climbed, the more steep pitches we found, some having tricky ledge bands. After much effort, we reached a small plateau on the ridge where we could look up to the summit. We passed through an area of scenic stunted fir trees, then crossed the remainder of the plateau to the final steep pitch to the summit, which was the most difficult. We worked our way up the mountainside, climbing with our hands up the near-vertical slope of loose dirt and rock. The ground abruptly flattened out near the top, and we wandered over to the summit register. After signing in, we took another compass bearing toward the open meadow area on the north side. We crashed through a patch of stiff krummholz and emerged in the large clearing of small bushes. We found a magnificent view over the Eastern Pemi, similar to the one from Mt. Anderson. We could see from the Presidential Range across the Willey Range, toward the Twin Range and over the valley of the East Branch. One of the most interesting parts of the view was the looming Mt. Carrigain right next to us and the view over the northern half of Carrigain Notch, with all of the talus patches on Vose Spur visible. We had lunch on a small ledge in the middle of the clearing and enjoyed the view for quite a while. This was one of the better views from a bushwhack peak that we had ever seen. We returned on mostly the same route; for a while on the descent, we headed down the wrong slope (my fault for walking too long without checking my compass) and had to correct course by contouring back over to the ridge. We decided to shortcut our original route up to the ridge by dropping off earlier and heading more directly back to the trail. This wasn't optimal, though, because we ended up closer to the slides and encountered some loose boulders. We slabbed over to our original route, crossed it, and continued down the steep slope to rejoin the trail for the long walk out, where we were once again in crowded territory.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2480 ft / 755 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2480 ft / 755 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.3 mi / 13.4 km
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2380 ft / 725 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2340 ft / 713 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Loss on way in:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:4.3 mi / 6.9 km
    Route:Signal Ridge Tr/Carrigain Notch Tr/bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Signal Ridge Trailhead  1380 ft / 420 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2440 ft / 743 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2340 ft / 713 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:bushwhack/Carrigain Notch Tr/Signal Ridge Tr
    End Trailhead:Signal Ridge Trailhead  1380 ft / 420 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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