Ascent of Mount Morgan on 2014-10-06

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
Date:Monday, October 6, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Morgan
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:2200 ft / 670 m

Ascent Trip Report

A point-to-point trail hike over 6 peaks in the Squam Mountain Range ..... 8 miles, 5:10 hours including all breaks.

This is our last day of our 5 day trip to NH, pleased to have completed PB's "The Ossipee 10 List". For this last day I did a point-to-point westbound hike over 6 peaks, on the Cassidy Ridgepole Trail on the ridge of the Squam Mountains, starting at Sandwich Notch Road and coming out at the Morgan Trailhead Parking. This trip would not have happened without Rose's loving support.

We got an early start, leaving the White Lake State Park CG in West Ossipee, stopping for breakfast at the local McDo and finding our way to the village of Center Sandwich. We picked up Grove Street, traveled .4 miles west, stayed left onto Diamond Ledge Road at a fork, 1.9 miles northwest stayed left at the next fork onto Sandwich Notch Road (dirt/rough), and in .7 miles arrived at the Sandwich Notch Parking on the right ... TH for a number of trails, one of which is Beede Falls Trail.
Rose dropped me off and will pick me up at The Morgan TH on hwy #113, 6 miles west of Center Sandwich.
When we came here yesterday to check out this Sandwich Notch Road TH, Rose was not comfortable driving this road all alone, so she drove it yesterday. Today she found it easy with no problem. The fact that there were other cars going up and down the road helped her confidence.

I continued/walked up the Sandwich Notch Road (northwest) .6 miles (15 minutes) to the Cassidy Ridgepole Trailhead on the left, break for data taking ..... trail sign reads "Double Head Mountain Trail 2.1M", "Mount Squam 3.2M", Mount Percival 4.5M".

DOUBLEHEAD MOUNTAIN-NORTHEAST PEAK ..... Cassidy Ridgepole trail westbound from Sandwich Notch Road, 1.4M, 45 minutes.
The summit is at 3 cairns, heavily wooded with no views.
The ascent on the Cassidy Ridgepole Trail climbs mostly moderately steep with limited/faded yellow blazes, About 3/4 way up I climbed/scrambled a very steep, chute like pitch of about 50 yards. When I got to the top I couldn't find the trail, picked it up at about 50 yards further up. I must have lost the poorly blazed yellow trail at the bottom of this steep pitch, in fact I lost it more than once. ... its easy to lose a trail with a leaf cover and poor blazing.

DOUBLEHEAD MOUNTAIN ..... Cassidy Ridgepole trail follows the ridge westbound all the way to Mount Morgan .... .7M, 20 minutes from Northeast Peak.
Wooded summit with limited views on the way. The Doublehead Trail Junction is just 50 yards west of the summit, I took a 20 minute snack break. A trail sign reads "Mount Percival 2.4M".

MOUNT SQUAM .... westbound from Doublehead, 1.1M, 40 minutes
A super rocky peak with a large cairn, offering a partial 360 degree panorama.

MOUNT PERCIVAL .... westbound from Squam, 1.3M, 35 minutes.
A superb popular summit, 360 degree panorama with the Squam Lake area dominating the view, 4 others on summit, took an enjoyable 25 minute break. Signs read "Morgan .8M", "Livermore 5.5".

SAWTOOTH .... westbound from Percival, .5M, 12 minutes.
Wooded with limited partial views.

MOUNT MORGAN ..... westbound from Sawtooth, .3M, 9 minutes.
The actual summit is on a short spur trail (right of the trail), limited views over the trees. The good lookout is 100 yards south, huge rock surface with a superb 180 degree panorama of the Squam Lake area. Another very popular destination, a lot of people on the summit or on their way up. Took a 15 minute break.

Once the Cassidy Ridgepole Trail reaches Doublehead Mountain-Northeast Peak it continues west along the very rocky ridge of the Squam Mountains all the way to Morgan. It has continuous rock outcrops, going up and down like a Yo-Yo and requiring some scrambling, not easy.
Luckily it was dry and I had good grip on the rocks, it'd be another story if it was wet. The trail is poorly marked to Percival, I lost the trail a number of times mostly at the rock outcrops. Hard and taxing on this old body, took the odd granny breaks.
I didn't see anyone on the trail to Percival, but from Percival on there were a lot of people out.

I should note that the only difficult part of the trail today was at the south side of the Morgan Lookout where there is a vertical drop of perhaps 40-50 feet. One has two choices for the descent, a trail to the east of the lookout (apparently easier) and one to the west, they meet up below the drop.
I took the one to the west, not knowing the trail. I made my way around huge boulders (hard to find the way) to the top of what is referred-to as the cave (a huge rock leaning against another there-by creating a tunnel-like hole. I crawled down (big packs need to be removed) a very tight space. Once out there are 3 ladders that descend to the bottom to the bottom of the drop, the tricky part was moving from one ladder to the other.

The yellow blazed Cassidy Ridgepole Trail descends from Morgan .4 miles to a junction where it continues (right) to Webster Mountain, I went left on the Morgan Trail and descended 1.7 miles to the TH Parking on Hwy #113 in 45 minutes. Out in 5:10 hours, Rose very surprised to see me as I had estimated 6-7 hours. I like surprising her, which is not all that often. I was not feeling all that bad, little soreness on the knees and the ankles ... the usual feeling after a good hike.

After getting cleaned up and taking in liquids we drove to Littleton NH to pick up a few groceries, then drove home, stopping in at McDo for a burger dinner.
A very successful 5 day trip rewarded with beautiful colors. We love coming to NH this time of the year.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:60 ft / 18 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1420 ft / 432 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:60 ft / 18 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 40 ft / 12 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Loss on way in:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Route:ridge tral wb from sawtooth
    Start Trailhead:sawtooth  2160 ft / 658 m
    Time:9 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1400 ft / 426 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:to morgan TH
    End Trailhead:Hwy #113  800 ft / 243 m
    Time:45 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: morgan1

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Doublehead Mountain-Northeast Peak2014-10-06 a1218 ft / 371 m
2Doublehead Mountain2014-10-06 b198 ft / 60 m
3Mount Squam2014-10-06 c463 ft / 141 m
4Mount Percival2014-10-06 d252 ft / 77 m
5Sawtooth2014-10-06 e140 ft / 43 m
6Mount Morgan2014-10-06 f60 ft / 18 m
Total Trip Gain: 2331 ft / 710 m    Total Trip Loss: 1560 ft / 475 m

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