Ascent of Big Spencer Mountain on 2011-07-08

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:David Musser
Karen Musser
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, July 8, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Big Spencer Mountain
    Elevation:3206 ft / 977 m

Ascent Trip Report

Karen David and I decided to take on the other Spencer. Little Spencer is condsidered to be the more difficult hike but I don't see it. Big Spencer has far better views at the top and plenty of steep moves in the last 800 feet or so. I would say it reminds me a lot of Kineo on the Indian Trail but with more gain, better long views, lesser spectactular cliff views, and some longer stepping-scrambling.

The hike starts mellow following the Fire Warden's trail and is easily marked. Seemed like we were hiking up a limestone bottom. We eventualy reach the Fire Warden's house and storage area and it is not as trashed as so many others we have seen on other hikes. What a lonely lifestyle. The house reminded me a bit of Big Moose excpet the house had nicer furnishings it appeared.

After the house the trail begins climbing through the hemlock and balsam fir and becomes steeper class 2 to lower 3. There are ladders provided by the state to overcome some of the steeper ledges that the trail bisects although the scrambling through them would not be difficult without them (other than right after a rain when the roots and rocks are wet and slippery). The trail tops off in an area of typical Kineo Rhyolite but the stunted area near the crown does not have the Krummholtz feel of other more exposed tops like Boundary Bald which is around 500 feet taller.

The summit has thick peat bogs that are spongy between the rocks and trees. There is an observation deck and a lot of equipment at the top including wind turbines and other wires and towers. Views were outstanding. Could see Kineo and Little Spencer from the nearby tower. the best view was of Baxter Peak (the state HP) and its nearby peaks in Baxter SP.

I scouted around for a bushwhack trail to the other peak on the far side of the mountain and elected not to try it. The trees are tiny but packed next to each other and the bushwhack would be miserable.

Climbed it with wife and son in 1 hour 15 minutes, hung at summit for 30 minutes and was down in 1 hour. Be careful not to bottom out your car on the logging roads back to Greenville area.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1890 ft / 575 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1890 ft / 575 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
75F sunny and clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1865 ft / 568 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1850 ft / 564 m; Extra: 15 ft / 4m
    Loss on way in:15 ft / 4 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    Route:Standard Big Spencer Trail
    Start Trailhead:TH from State Lands  1356 ft / 413 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1875 ft / 571 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1850 ft / 564 m; Extra: 25 ft / 7m
    Gain on way out:25 ft / 7 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    End Trailhead:same  1356 ft / 413 m
    Time:1 Hours 

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