Ascent of Mount Coe on 2014-09-28

Climber: Dan Quinlan

Others in Party:Gudi Quinlan
Date:Sunday, September 28, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Coe
    Elevation:3795 ft / 1156 m

Ascent Trip Report

September 28, 2014
N. Brother, Fort, S. Brother, Coe
Clear skies, slight breeze, temps in low 60’s
7:05 am
It is a beautiful morning and the weather is predicted to be nice and even reach the lower 80’s on this late September day. Gudrun and I set out on the Marston trail with the plan of making a loop over four peaks along the Marston and Mt. Coe trails.
7:45 am
We reached the junction of the Mt. Coe trail. So far the trail has not been steep at all, but the temperature is already rising so the sweat is dripping. We went left at the junction toward N. Brother. This section of the trail had some pretty steep parts, followed by a semi-flat part so we could take a nice rest.
9:10 am
We reached the upper junction of the Mt. Coe trail. We had some great views of Doubletop Mtn. I have added that to my list of peaks to visit. From the junction we headed toward North Brother. This trail was pretty tricky, parts of it were really deep from being washed out. At times the trail was hip deep. Other times there is a lot of large boulders to get around / hop over. It got very steep and had open scrambles about 200 meters from the summit. Gudrun had reached the end of her comfort level and decided to stop there.
10:15 am
I reached the summit of N. Brother. The views are wonderful, there is a steady 20 – 25 mph wind, but the temperature is quite warm so it actually feels good to have the sweat blown dry. I took a short break to take pictures and have a snack.
10:25 am
Left the summit of N. Brother and headed toward Fort Mtn. This trail is no longer a ‘maintained’ trail so the trees along the sides are taking over. They are mostly young evergreens, but you need to push through them constantly. You can still see the ‘dirt’ trail, but you need to look down constantly so you don’t loose it. This is kind of like bushwhacking because of all the growth taking over the trail, but it is a lot quicker because you can see the trail so it makes it easy to follow. There were a few turns that I missed, but you will quickly realize you are no longer on the trail and a little back tracking was needed for me to find my mistake.
11:00 am
I reached the summit of Fort Mountain. Again the views were fantastic in all directions! I’m kinda in a hurry so I can get back to Gudrun. I headed along the summit ridge to see if I can locate the C-54 crash site. I picked up a herd path that was just tearing my legs apart. I needed to stop and put my ‘legs’ back on my hiking pants – the low scrub brush was brutal. I found the site and found the tail section, the engine, and pieces of the fuselage. This is certainly a sad area. This plane really hit the side of the mountain hard. I’ve heard of more debris, but I am more interested in getting back to Gudrun so after taking a few pictures I head back to the summit of Fort Mt.
11:45 am
Back on the summit of Fort. That was quite a little adventure to see the crash site, but its kinda eerie by myself. I don’t stop and head toward N. Brother. I did hear from Gudrun on the walkie-talkie that she is at the jct of Marston / Coe trails and headed toward S. Brother. The wind is still pretty strong on the summit of N. Brother as I pass over and head down the other side.
1:00 pm
Reached the S. Brother Spur. Gudrun has already headed up the spur so hopefully I will catch up with her soon. The spur trail is also very steep but it does not have the deep washed out ruts that the N. Brother trail had. Once again the trail becomes very steep and there are some rather large boulders to hop from. Gudrun again feels safer waiting a just a couple hundred meters from the summit.
1:35 pm
Third peak of the day S. Brother, wow what wonderful views! The lighting has changed and I can see Mt. Katahdin massif. The jagged knife edge is clear to see. The trail is indeed pretty steep and has some good open scrambles but it is fun. I spend some time enjoying the views and taking some pictures before heading off the summit at 1:45pm
Back on the Mt. Coe trail and headed to our final summit of the day, Mt. Coe itself. Although Gudrun has yet to reach a peak today, she is having a great day. She does love hiking, she just knows when she is out of her comfort zone she would rather stay in the not so tricky parts of the trail. I am hoping that the trail to the summit of Mt. Coe is not too tricky because this is the planned way to get home!
We have BOTH made the summit of Mt. Coe and it is GORGEOUS! The best part is Gudrun loves being at the peak and seeing the wonderful views! We can see both S. and N. Brother and Mt. Katahdin. The wind is calm and the temperature is warm. We have as snack, take lots of pictures and just relax for a while. If it weren’t so last we would stay longer but we have been warned of the slide that is coming up and we need to make sure we are off that before dark.
We left the summit of Coe and are headed for the slide. I didn’t realize that there was a slide involved with this loop, but throughout the day we have been warned by other hikers who have come up the slide. We have been on several other slides and so I am trying to keep Gudi from worrying too much, at least until we get there!

4:00 pm
Whoa, we are down the steepest part of the slide. When I first saw it from the top, it took my breath away. Before Gudi got a look at it, I told her not to freak out and that we will find a safe way down. The problem with this slide it that the large open slabs of rock are covered with loose sand / stones making it VERY slippery!
We spent a few moments at the top in awe (fright) of the slide and trying to figure out the best way down. We decided the right had side looked friendlier with the amount of trees and the fact that at the end, that would be the side we need to be on. But we were on the left side and it was a rather wide, very open slab that we needed to cross, but we made it. It was slow going, the top half the most difficult because of the sand on the slabs of rock. Toward the middle we were able to lock arms and walk straight down the slabs of rock, as long as we stayed away from the sand and any wet spots.
Once we were off the slide the trail still was pretty sandy and rocky at times but eventually we made it back on to the lower trail along the river which was just in time as we were running low on water so we stopped to fill up our water bottles. The cold (filtered) water tasted great!
4:50 pm
We reached the Marston trail and headed back toward the parking. This has been a great day and a wonderful hike, now we just need to finish the last 1.3 miles.
5:30 pm
Back at the parking. What a day and what a great hike. Every peak was open and offered wonderful views. The slide was pretty tricky but we made it just fine. It was great that Gudrun reached the peak of Coe and that she thought it was amazing!
This is a great loop hike with some incredible views and some great challenges!
Summary Total Data
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Wonderful blue sky
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Marston, Mt Coe Trails
    Start Trailhead:Park Tote Road  
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Brothers-Maine

Complete Trip Sequence:
1North Brother2014-09-28 a5400 ft / 1646 m
2Fort Mountain2014-09-28 b 
3South Brother2014-09-28 c 
4Mount Coe2014-09-28 d 
Total Trip Gain: 5400 ft / 1646 m

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