Ascent of North Brother on 2016-09-22

Climber: Map Man

Date:Thursday, September 22, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:North Brother
    Elevation:4151 ft / 1265 m

Ascent Trip Report

Stayed 3 nights in Millinocket and bagged all 6 Baxter NEHH's. The day after hiking Katahdin, I did the standard loop over the four remaining peaks. I got a later start at the Marston Trailhead, but I was able to make it back by 6:00. Unfortunately, this meant my summit stays were brief. Oh the joys of peak bagging.

The lower sections of Marston and Mt. Coe Trails were pretty nice: not too difficult but still enough to gain some elevation before the tough parts. The bottom of the slide was quite scenic, with all sorts of mosses, limited views, and a clear mountain brook. The steepest part of the slide was pretty tough, but I've climbed trickier slides. There was not much water on it in this dry time. The view from the slide is superb, especially with the slide itself dropping away at your feet and Doubletop and O-J-I nearby. It is interesting how the slide curved as it fell. The summit of Coe is excellent as well. It has the best view of The Klondike out of the four. It has an interesting spiny summit ridge.

Mt. Coe Trail to South Brother was just plain annoying. Instead of following the ridge top, it drops way off the side and runs along a washed out slope. I did, however, enjoy the beautiful moss along the trail. The spur to South Brother had lots of tricky rock scrambles. Its summit area was very broad, so I think Mt. Coe had better views. North Brother looks far away.

The next section of the Mt. Coe Trail was much better, descending gradually to the junction at the top of the ridge. The Marston Trail to North Brother, on the other hand, was the worst yet! Aside from the fact that it is a steep and difficult trail to begin with, it is also overgrown and horrendously eroded. You would think the trail builders could have installed water bars! North Brother was my favorite summit of the day. There's a large alpine zone, and the view is superior to the other mountains'. With the many lakes behind South Brother, Coe, and Doubletop to the south, Mt. Katahdin over The Klondike to the east, Fort and a collection of other sizable mountains in Baxter to the north, and a flat expanse to the west, I enjoyed this view the most.

On to Fort Mountain. I easily noticed the cairns marking the beginning, which was a good sign. I have never bushwhacked before, and my experience with obscure herd paths was limited. Fortunately, I had done lots of research about it online and was prepared, so I knew which way to go at the one critical junction (just before going below treeline, turn left). Other than that, it was not difficult to follow. You could see the pathway underfoot and it was intermittently marked with (illegal!) flagging. The only thing that made it difficult was the thick tree growth encroaching into the path. It is tough to push through in places, and got worse toward the Fort side. It was a relief to finally get above the trees again. From the summit of Fort, the east end of the plateau looks much higher, but I'm thankful its not. I stayed only a few minutes since it was 2:45.

I made it back to North Brother by 3:30 and back to the junction by 4:15. The descent started out very gradual, but there were some steep sections. There was a fine bird's-eye view of Teardrop Pond that I was not expecting, as well as what appeared to be a recent relocation (Someone actually maintains this trail!). After finally reaching the pond, it was a mostly easy walk out, with some pretty birch glades.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4956 ft / 1509 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4956 ft / 1510 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.6 mi / 20.3 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4176 ft / 1272 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3001 ft / 915 m; Extra: 1175 ft / 358m
    Loss on way in:1175 ft / 358 m
    Distance:6.5 mi / 10.5 km
    Route:Marston Trail/Mt. Coe Trail (Coe and S Brother)/Ma
    Start Trailhead:Slide Dam  1150 ft / 350 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3781 ft / 1152 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3001 ft / 915 m; Extra: 780 ft / 237m
    Gain on way out:780 ft / 237 m
    Distance:6.1 mi / 9.8 km
    Route:Herd Path (side trip to Fort)/Marston Trail
    End Trailhead:Slide Dam  1150 ft / 350 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Coe, Brothers, Fort

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Coe2016-09-22 a 
2South Brother2016-09-22 b 
3North Brother2016-09-22 c4956 ft / 1511 m
4Fort Mountain2016-09-22 d 
Total Trip Gain: 4956 ft / 1511 m    Total Trip Loss: 4956 ft / 1511 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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

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