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Ascent of Mount Abraham on 2014-07-26

Climber: Michael Berger

Others in Party:Jocelyn Nokes
Date:Saturday, July 26, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Abraham
    Location:USA-Maine
    Elevation:4040 ft / 1231 m

Ascent Trip Report

My first three 4000'ers in Maine. It started out as a beautiful day with blue skies and mid-70s, got more cloudy as the day went on, but still nice the whole way. This climb was done as a traverse starting at the Fire Warden's Trail and finishing up at Sugarloaf Ski Area.

The road to the Rapid Stream trailhead - Rapid Stream Road - is dirt and has a lot of potholes, but is passable. I was able to get through without problems in a minivan. The parking (N44 57.982 W70 14.899) was farther than I expected, but I finally found it. The bridge that would normally take you to the trailhead looks like it has been gone for quite a while and won't be back any time soon. That leaves you with two water crossings right as you start. The water was running low and I was able to rock hop across both dry and no problems - as a matter of fact, I had stopped by the day before to check it out and made the crossings in sneakers and a beer in my hand. I stopped at one of the later water crossings to fill a 1 liter bottle as I was drinking a lot already and didn't know when I'd see water again. Then, it's a 6/10 mile road walk to the trailhead. The trail starts out fairly flat and goes on like that for about 2 1/2 miles. There are several water crossings along the way, but all were small, easy rock hops. Then, the trail got steep and stayed steep right to the top. About 1/2 mile from the summit, the trail came out into a talus field which makes up the entire top of Abraham. It's difficult climbing the talus field, but slow and careful got me through it with no mishaps. Finally, I spotted the tower that marks the summit and happily sat down for a rest although it was windy and chilly up top. The last two miles had taken a lot out of me and I was trying to get as much water and energy in as I could. I explored the stone shelter near the summit - pretty grim looking inside, but if you need to use it, then it's as good as a palace.

There were great 360 views from the top of Abraham and I could see all the mountains I'm planning to climb on this trip. Most notably, you can clearly see the rest of this traverse - Spaulding and Sugarloaf. They looked so far away with really big ups and downs between them. When hiking, you usually don't see your destination so clearly and it's really surprising to see the distances that you walk through the trees. Since I was already spent, I was wondering whether I was going to finish before dark. It was going to be a long day on the trail.

Nothing could be done about it so I continued on to Spaulding by descending the talus field again - this trail was much less steep than the trail up, so the descent was easier here. About half way to Spaulding, I came to the famous AT. The first wave of thru-hikers are coming through and I saw several of them on the trail flying by me and hiking even the roughest stuff as if they were out for an easy stroll. Those guys have honed their hiking skills quite well by this time. Amazing hikers.

I had to stop for water at the Spaulding campsite as I running running close to empty on water. On the way down to the campsite, I had a bad cramping in my leg and had to get more water and electolytes in me. Given how much I drank and I was only about half way through the hike, I decided to fill up all 3 liters I had with me. I ended up drinking 7 liters of water on this trip.

After the water stop, it was another steep hike up to the Spaulding summit. The summit is actually 150 yds. off the AT. Oddly, for a 4000'er, the summit sign for Spaulding says its height is 3988'. I jumped really high and I think my hand came close to 4000'. It was a wooded summit with no views. There was an overlook nearby, but I didn't bother; I was just going to see how far I had left to go.

Then, continued the hike on the AT to the junction of the trail that goes up to Sugarloaf. The walk between Spaulding and the trail was pretty easy with a gentle down then a little up. But the last 6/10 of a mile up to Sugarloaf was steep with lots of rocks. I was happy to make it to the top of Sugarloaf as I knew I had nothing but down left. The top was quite deserted and desolate with lots of ski lifts and antennas on a rocky top with no one around. I didn't spend much time there - it was cold and windy and I wanted to be done. I'm staying at a condo at the base of Sugarloaf, so it was a descent down ski slopes. Decided to take the more direct route down following some black diamond and blue square trails down. Probably not the best descision as the overgrown trails are difficult to navigate. Lots of wildflowers and berry patches made it a bit more pleasant though. If I were doing it again, I'd take the less direct green trails down.

Finally arrived back at the condo - a first and probably last for me; no driving from the end trailhead to your door. A very long day made even longer from being low on energy all day and trying to keep cramping at bay. But it's done.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Fire Warden Trail;
Descent Statistics
    Route:Abraham Side Trail
Ascent Part of Trip: Abraham-Spaulding-Sugarloaf

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Mount Abraham2014-07-26 
2Spaulding Mountain2014-07-26 
3Sugarloaf Mountain2014-07-26 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Michael Berger
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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