Ascent of Mount Frissell on 2010-07-15

Climber: Alan Barber

Date:Thursday, July 15, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Frissell
    Elevation:2451 ft / 747 m

Ascent Trip Report

The day after going to Jerimoth Hill in Rhode Island, I felt ambitious and dedicated most of the day to summit the high points of both Connecticut and Massachusetts. I took the scenic route from Providence RI to Hartford via US Highway 6 and then from Hartford using both US 6 and US 41 to Salisbury. On the GPS it is called “Salisbury town” which caused some initial confusion. I actually got “lost” in the very small town of Salisbury and it took three tries before finding the correct road north out of town toward Massachusetts. This was in part because I was using the GPS in the car. Once I studied the great map I purchased at a gas station, I saw the mistake I was making and got on the right road.

Mt. Frissell’s southwest shoulder is the highest point in Connecticut at 2,380 feet. I decided to go up the trail from the east off what is called Washington road. The trail starts just on the Mass/CT line (at least there is a concrete pillar there suggesting the state borders). At this point the road is called East Street (in MA) and is called Washington Road in CT. There were several parking “glades” and I joined another car at the one just at the trail head. It was not hard to find.

Washington road is a gravel road with fairly good sized (sometimes fist sized) rocks on it. It is a slow process to wind around and I was initially behind two cars until they took a wrong turn up a spur near a good sized lake with a camp. In retrospect, the scenic aspect of this drive from Rhode Island was not all that great and I should have gone by the Mass Turnpike and dropped down from the north. That still provided plenty of scenery and would have been at least an hour faster and also would have avoided a very winding and slow gravel road!

There is a concrete pillar marking the Massachusetts Connecticut border. This is along with a road sign are just across the road from the trail head.

The hike started out as a gentle sloping uphill walk in the woods and then steepened a bit. The trail is very well marked with red “blazes” painted on the tree trunks and rocks and sometimes the trail itself. Once I saw the first red “blaze”, my confidence soared and I knew I was in the right place. The first phase of the hike is up Round Mt. This is a pretty steep climb in spots and I can only imagine how challenging it would be in the ice and snow (especially descending)! Flies were a constant pest and I was grateful that I had remembered to bring bug repellent. Nonetheless, the constant buzzing in my ears and around my face was a bit of a distraction.

I kept hydrated with 2 liters of water I carried and had downed a good amount of a third bottle before starting out. There was no cell reception at all on Washington road and for most of the climb, but just as I had negotiated a particularly difficult patch of rock near the top, my cell rang.

It took a little less than 2 hours to get all the way up but I did stop and enjoy the views (and take the phone call). At the top of Round MT. there is a pile of rocks to mark the site but no USGS marker in the stone.

After leaving the Round Mt. peak, the trail slopes down to the bottom of a saddle (col) and back up Mt. Frissell to the peak. Since the peak of Mt. Frissell is actually in Massachusetts, I walked on the south slope to be sure I got the high point in Connecticut. There was an old metal box (and a chrome plated tube on another branch for some reason) which held the log hanging in a tree in the woods to the northeast of the summit. The summit is wooded but there were some reasonable views on the eastern side. I signed the summit log took some photographs and headed back down. The round trip distance to the highpoint is listed as 2.6 miles, with roughly 1,000 feet of total elevation gain.

The down trip was a real quad buster but it went steadily without the need to take a break or nearly as much water consumption. I made the whole trip in about 2 ½ hours. Once back at the trailhead, I changed out of my drenched clothes (careful not to get any potential poison ivy sap on me – that stuff was everywhere along the trail… more ubiquitous than the flies!) into dry ones. I drove north on the road (Washington road) into Massachusetts and headed for my next highpoint: Mt. Greylock.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear

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