Ascent of Hanging Hills on 2013-06-12

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Mike Saxton
Date:Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hanging Hills
    Elevation:1022 ft / 311 m

Ascent Trip Report

Finally a day of good weather and we did not have to hike in our raincoats! I can not even begin to tell you how we found our way out of the nearyby town of Meriden and crossed through all the one way streets under 691 and found the park but we did. The guide that describes a parking lot at the reservoir is outdated. Do not expect to find one anymore. There is no legal car paking along the route up the mountain other than at the top by the tower or down in the park on the other side of the highway which makes it a long drudge up and around the reservoir on a paved narrow road filled with traffic!

there are paths all the way down the mountain leading to possibly the lower parking lot that do not show up on the USGS. I would scout those out if you have time. We had to get to the airport that afternoon so we just drove out hoping to find the parking at the reservoir edge. None. We drove up the paved road a bit and found a turn out and parked. About a third the way up we saw signs covered by vegation saying if you park along the road you are breaking a city code and will get towed. Mike volunteered to let me continue up the paved road and he went back for the car to bring it to the upper parking lot at the tower.

I had started my trailhead thus, by tapping my toe in the water at the edge of the reservoir and now was jog-walking up the steep road. Mike met me at the intersection and told me to keep running to the tower parking on the left. You loose and regain going this way around 65 feet. Meeting Mike with our packs at the tower, we decided to go bag the true prominence peak of the county (and state HP prom peak)over by the radio tower BEFORE bagging the observation tower peak near us; so we jumped on the blue blaze trail and made a most interesting journey.

The blue blaze trail winds along the south side of the cliffs between the two paved roads between the radio tower and the rock observation tower. As such, the trail has many gains and regains and allows for ample rock cliff views to the south. Impressive and fun. This meandering rollercoaster trail was quite a pleasant surprise and I highly recommend it over hiking the paved roads.

Nearing the "Y" in the paved road the blue trail wants to take you up and back to the paved road and allow you the priveldege of hiking to the tower peak on ashpalt but that did not seem right. There is a very steep and rocky trail straight down a breach in the cliff wall here and we started heading down it. This downard trail is still blazed blue. We met a man who looked nearing 70 years old busting down the trial like his house was on fire and he told us we could take the blue "goat trail" up to the peak but we would have to descend several hundred feet first on the trail we were on in order to find it.

That was for us! But keeping up with this elderly mountian goat of a peakbagger prooved to be quite difficult. I am always impressed when I meet someone that is that fit at his age and moving like a mountain goat! An inspiration for me to keep at this for many more years. He refused to slow down to help us but he mumbled enough instructions passing us for me to get hte basic idea, and pointed in the approximate direction as I tried to stay on his heels. He was on a hiking mission and was not about to slow down for these 30 and 50 year old "youngsters" Ha!

He reached the level dirt jeep road about a third of the way down the mountain that is blazed red and turned left pointing for us to turn right and I looked for the "goat trail" blazed blue. Immediatly there it was on the right near the intersection of the blue blaze trail we had jsut descended on and the red jeep trail. Mike and I saw what he meant. This smaller, narrower trail was parallel to the blue blaze trail we came down but slid NW around and up another breach in the cliff walls but nearer to the radio tower. The trail is very steep like a goat trail and it eventually leads into a fun boulder ravine eroded in the walls of Hanging Hills. The goat trail regains the 200 feet or so that we lost near the "y"

Popping out onto the wide jeep tral to the paved road near the tower you are now close to the summit top. The overlooks at this county Prom Peak were not dissappointing. The very best of any of the small peaks we sampled in CT; and lots of fun basalt rock to scramble on all around! Many fun photo opportunties here.

We tagegd the summit, played on the rocks, visted the radio tower and then headed back using the paved roads to the parking lot by the observation tower to find aother trail to rehike to the observation tower for more excercise. Whereas, the observation peak and it's tower had people coming and going the entire time, we had the taller Prom Peak to ourselves the entire time. There is no comparison in views and geologic interest.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1138 ft / 346 m
    Total Elevation Loss:510 ft / 155 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.5 mi / 8.8 km
    Grade/Class:1,2 and minor 3
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Very Windy, Clear
68 F Beautiful Day but very windy on Peak
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:983 ft / 299 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 628 ft / 191 m; Extra: 355 ft / 108m
    Loss on way in:355 ft / 108 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:Paved road to Castle park; blue blaze down to red
    Start Trailhead:Reservoir   394 ft / 120 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:155 ft / 47 m
    Gain on way out:155 ft / 47 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Route:scramble then road then white blaze trail
    End Trailhead:saddle in paved road then hike over to white blaze  
Ascent Part of Trip: Hanging Hills

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Hanging Hills2013-06-12 a1138 ft / 347 m
2Hanging Hills-East Peak2013-06-12 b286 ft / 87 m
Total Trip Gain: 1424 ft / 434 m    Total Trip Loss: 1113 ft / 339 m

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