Ascent of Sankaty Head on 2011-09-30

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Rose
Date:Friday, September 30, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Taxicab
Peak:Sankaty Head
    Elevation:111 ft / 33 m

Ascent Trip Report

An expensive Highpoint to one of the pretty places in the Northeast .... 244$ for ferry, parking, taxi and tips.

After overnighting at Nickerson State Park Campground west of Orleans, we drove to Haynnis Port and got on the 9h10 hour Hy-Line Gray Lady Hi-Speed Ferry to Nantucket, the 1 hour cruise cost us 77$ per person return, plus 10$ car-parking for the day.

We opted to take a taxi, we chose our taxi because of the long-white-bearded driver, Kevin, a 68 year old vietnam vet, who moved to the Island over 40 years ago "because the people were nice to me".
He gave us his business card "K-Mans Kab, 1-508-292-4494", saying "This card is worth money, I suggest you put it on EBay, and don't take less than 75$". He gave us a price of 54$ return for the approx 10 mile distance to Sankaty Head.

"I'll take you to Sankaty Head but you should know that the highpoint of the Island is Altar Rock by the Navagation Beacon, the Lighthouse was moved a few years ago because of the eroding sand bluff, even some of the house will have to be removed, anyway I don't understand why they allow people to build on that bluff." Kevin was full of information and opinions.
Kevin took the Polpis Road eastbound, on the way out took the short 1 mile detour to Altar Rock ...... a bump with a number with a number of rocks, one of witch has a memorial plaque for Henry Coffin, the navagation beacon is 100 yards away. I chose my HP spot at GPS 41.28153,-70.02490.
I should note that later in the day we went to the Tourist Office in Nantucket and the 2 people we talked-to without hesitation said Altar Rock is the highpoint, So it looks as if all locals see Altar Rock as "the" HP.

The access road to the Lighthouse dead ends at a Parking Turnaround south on the Lighthouse, the bluff is to the right. A number of Informative Plaques confirm Kevin's information. The 1850 Sankaty Head Lighthouse was moved in 2007, 405 feet northwest of its original location because of the eroding bluff. A security fence has been installed close to the bluff, on the drive in I saw a number of homes boarded up and will have to be removed. No question the life of this bluff is dated.

I walked the length of the bluff plus going back on the road checking out the ground around the homes ( the first 3 were closed) hopefully touching the HP. To the right of the Parking Turnaround is the highground of the remaining sand bluff beyond the last house. I chose my spot here at 41.28345,-69.96495.
One has to question what is natural around the houses, in my opinion "nothing", the house are built on sand (?) very close together.
Also I think its a question of time before this location will lose its highpoint status.

We spent a lot of time walking the streets of Nantucket .... a very pretty/quaint place. We took the 14h30 hour Ferry back to Hyannis Port, drove to Woods Hole to check out tomorrow's Ferry and parking for Martha's Vineyard and then to Shawme-Crowell State Park Campground for the night.

NB: After our Martha's Vineyard experience I believe it would be best to rent a car rather than take a taxi ..... probably the same cost but more bang-for-the-buck.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:16 ft / 4 m
    Total Elevation Loss:16 ft / 4 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:16 ft / 4 m
    Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Route:taxicab/walk on sand dune bluff
    Start Trailhead:parking turnaround at sankaty head  95 ft / 28 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:16 ft / 4 m
    Route:walk on sand dune bluff
    End Trailhead:parking turnaround at sankaty head  95 ft / 28 m

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