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View Full Version : Exposure on Mt K, 100 Mile Wilderness?



markc7
02-09-2011, 16:46
I am planning to hike Mt K and the 100 Mile Wilderness this summer. The person I may be hiking with has a problem with cliffs, sheer drops, exposure, etc. Heights are fine, as long as the trail doesn't run right along the edge of a drop.

My question is, are there any spots like that on the trail up Katahdin or anywhere in the 100 Mile Wilderness?

Cookerhiker
02-09-2011, 17:06
Sorry to say, I don't think your friend will enjoy the Hunt Trail (AT) up Katahdin.

Re. the 100 Mile Wilderness, I recall the descent down the north side of Whitecap was steep, rocky, and open-exposure but the footing was OK by New England standards. Some of it was stone steps. I think he/she's OK if you take it slow and easy.

Namaste
02-09-2011, 17:17
Yeah, i agree with cookerhiker. I led a trip up to K years ago with someone who freaked out and could not continue on to Knife's Edge. I led her back down Saddle Trail. She was later diagnosed by a doctor to have vertigo :-? A descent on Hunt Trail on a clear day could be another issue.

4eyedbuzzard
02-09-2011, 17:20
The knife edge trail on Katahdin would definitely scare the crap out of them as well.

4eyedbuzzard
02-09-2011, 17:23
Yeah, i agree with cookerhiker. I led a trip up to K years ago with someone who freaked out and could not continue on to Knife's Edge. I led her back down Saddle Trail. She was later diagnosed by a doctor to have vertigo :-? A descent on Hunt Trail on a clear day could be another issue.

Vertigo is a medical condition relating to dizzyness and senstion of falling, etc.

Your companion likely had acrophobia - an extreme fear of heights.

Just a friendly FYI.

Pedaling Fool
02-09-2011, 17:30
Yeah, I'd stay away from Katahdin, regardless of which trail; it's one thing to go up it, it's another thing coming down -- sort of like a cat that climbs a tree...

And there are other places in Maine/NH that wouldn't be good, especially for the steep descents. Your friend probably wouldn't like Mahoosuc (sp?) Notch either.

QuarterPounder
02-09-2011, 17:32
The 100 Mile Wilderness might be OK. I don't recall any really shear drop-offs, etc.

As mentioned several times already... Katahdin would be a problem for anyone with a fear of heights, cliffs, etc. I suggest your friend skip the Katahdin part which is unfortunate... it's a awesome trip.

Diatribe
02-09-2011, 17:37
Sounds like you guys need to take a nice stroll in Arcadia NP instead...

weary
02-09-2011, 17:52
Thousands of hikers climb Katahdin annually. There are a couple of rock scrambles on all the trails. But people between the ages of 6 and 90 do it routinely.

The easy route is to backpack 3.5 miles into the Chimney Pond shelters (reservations needed) and then climb the Saddle head wall. the second day. I like to spend a second night at Chimney Pond, and then out. It makes for a delightfull three-day exploration of the mountain.

The Knife Edge is not for the faint of heart. But even that is not beyond the ability of most with ordinary walking skills. But I don't recommend it for first time Katahdin hikers with vertigo problems.

I doubt if your friend will find anything in the so called "hundred mile wilderness" that he finds really uncomfortable. Open ledges are common in Maine. But most have numerous hand and foot holds.

I don't particularly like heights, but I've done them all, summer and winter.

Namaste
02-09-2011, 17:53
Vertigo is a medical condition relating to dizzyness and senstion of falling, etc.

Your companion likely had acrophobia - an extreme fear of heights.

Just a friendly FYI.

She was fine as we hiked up Saddle Trail and walked over to the sign to take pictures. We sat around for a little bit then when she got up started complaining of dizziness and couldn't walk straight. I think that's what made her nervous and of course me nervous as well because we were supposed to head down Knife's Edge. No way was I gonna let her do that.

Sierra Echo
02-09-2011, 18:05
She was fine as we hiked up Saddle Trail and walked over to the sign to take pictures. We sat around for a little bit then when she got up started complaining of dizziness and couldn't walk straight. I think that's what made her nervous and of course me nervous as well because we were supposed to head down Knife's Edge. No way was I gonna let her do that.

I think your friend was having a panic attack. I was diagnosed with benign postional vertigo back in October. And that episode lasted three days. If your friend truely had vertigo she would have had major problems going from a sitting to standing position. She most likely would have had to sit back down for a few minutes to let the worst of the spinning stop. After that walking in a straight line wouldnt have been difficult unless she was going for theatrics to prove a point. Also when I had vertigo I remember that something felt really wrong with my head. Its hard to describe, it almost felt like there was a lot of pressure and stuffing in there. I swear I dont know how to describe it better! LOL It felt very wrong. I certainly couldnt have hiked in the condition.

Cookerhiker
02-09-2011, 18:21
...And there are other places in Maine/NH that wouldn't be good, especially for the steep descents. Your friend probably wouldn't like Mahoosuc (sp?) Notch either.

They're only planning on the 100 Mile Wilderness plus Katahdin.

DaveSail
02-09-2011, 18:48
Did you get the two books on " Cloud Dancing " etc. I sent you on Oct. 27th
last year ? Since I sent them " Book Rate " I couldn't put " Delivery
Confirmation " on the big package !!

David V. Webber

Sierra Echo
02-09-2011, 18:50
Did you get the two books on " Cloud Dancing " etc. I sent you on Oct. 27th
last year ? Since I sent them " Book Rate " I couldn't put " Delivery
Confirmation " on the big package !!

David V. Webber

You can put a delivery confirmation on media mail, but you can't on parcel post.

Cookerhiker
02-09-2011, 18:55
Did you get the two books on " Cloud Dancing " etc. I sent you on Oct. 27th
last year ? Since I sent them " Book Rate " I couldn't put " Delivery
Confirmation " on the big package !!

David V. Webber

I think so but I'll get back to you via PM

markc7
02-09-2011, 21:32
Thanks for the replies so far. I really appreciate it!

Hikerhead
02-09-2011, 22:01
Got to the Picture Gallery and take a look for yourself. Some of those pics make me want to sit down for a little bit.

Sarcasm the elf
02-09-2011, 22:50
Mod please delete my comment, my apologies.

WingedMonkey
02-09-2011, 23:25
Sometimes you just have to do it. Cliffs and drops scare the HELL out of me. The first few times were in Yosemite, being from Florida I'd never used hand holds or iron foot holds. Then later a place where the old tourist road went right up to the edge of the Vally..but turning around was not on my permit.
Same thing in the Grand Canyon, was propably not a good spot to be hiking solo but there was no easy turn back.

When I tru hiked we didn't have digital cameras, if I had seen my self on McAfee knob (I did have to sit) I would have lost heart beat. But now that pic is on my screen saver.
When I got to the Knife Edge I was alone, and the thought of turning around was as strong as the desire to reach the top, maybe I was crying so what.. no one was there to hear me. 2000 freaking miles and I was thinking of turning around.
No...It does not get easier.
Then again they are on a short trip...and the choice is theirs.

bobtomaskovic
02-10-2011, 02:54
We had to stop on the hunt trail above the boulders with the " big staples" for holds. My wife found the exposure too much. It comes and goes with her. She never fails to remind me that she is a hiker not a climber.

fredmugs
02-10-2011, 07:24
When I went up Katahdin the guy I was hiking with had the same kind of problems. He backed out of some climbs in Colorado on a previous hike. Once we got to the point where you go above the tree line and you have to pull yourslef up the spikes he freaked out and went back down. Since I didn't understand what he was going through I didn't question it or try to talk him out of it.

10-K
02-10-2011, 07:29
The weather can make a big difference. If you can be selective about the climb date try and get a clear and calm day (as much as possible)

The day I went up it was clear but the wind was blowing very hard and sometimes I could actually feel the lift on my body.

rickb
02-10-2011, 07:40
We had to stop on the hunt trail above the boulders with the " big staples" for holds. My wife found the exposure too much. It comes and goes with her. She never fails to remind me that she is a hiker not a climber.

For those who have yet to experience this section you might want to keep in mind that it is really very short.

While that may not be apparent when you are there because of the limited sight lines, one can get through it fairly quickly. Once you do, you will find the top of Katahdin to be a flat wide plain all the way to the famous sign. On the top you are not walking anywhere need the edge at all.

As one who doesn't like heights (some of the trail at Acadia National Park and many out West make my knees rubbery) I find this section is not nearly as bad, and most importantly it passes very quickly. If, after pushing through it one decides they don't want to repeat the feeling on the way down, you can return via the Abol Side Trail which is largely a big tallus field without the bouldering section Bob refers to.

Pedaling Fool
02-10-2011, 08:35
They're only planning on the 100 Mile Wilderness plus Katahdin.
I like to go above and beyond the call of duty:D;)

peakbagger
02-10-2011, 10:09
I took a friend with similiar height issues up Mt Katahdin this year. She has climbed all the 4000 footers in the whites previously and only had issues in a couple of places. We took the Hunt trail (AT) on nice sunny day with no wind. The section from treeline to the tablelands which is less than a mile took 2.5 hours in both directions. She had a real tough time on it both ways even though the top of the ridge isnt that narrow. I expect the big issue was that in her periphial vision, the sides of the mountain drop away very steeply so that you cant see the slopes. She also isnt a fan of boulder scrambles so the combination of the heights and the bouldering made for a slow hike. While we were on the tablelands and at the summit, she had a great time.

The Saddle trail up from Chimney Pond has very little smiliar exposure. It climbs out of a valley with slopes to either side. There are steep spots but nothing real difficult. Once you break out on the tablelands, the trail is quite wide and set back from the edge by quite a bit. The trade off is that you would need to drive around the mountain at the end of your hike as the Saddle climbs from the East side of the Mountain rather than from the west where the AT is. Its still a great hike as it goes up though the Chinmey Pond basin.

Cookerhiker
02-10-2011, 10:12
I like to go above and beyond the call of duty:D;)

That's very admirable in proper context. But you'd make a lousy witness in a court proceeding where the rule is "Don't volunteer information":D

Cookerhiker
02-10-2011, 10:14
For those who have yet to experience this section you might want to keep in mind that it is really very short.

While that may not be apparent when you are there because of the limited sight lines, one can get through it fairly quickly. Once you do, you will find the top of Katahdin to be a flat wide plain all the way to the famous sign. On the top you are not walking anywhere need the edge at all.

As one who doesn't like heights (some of the trail at Acadia National Park and many out West make my knees rubbery) I find this section is not nearly as bad, and most importantly it passes very quickly. If, after pushing through it one decides they don't want to repeat the feeling on the way down, you can return via the Abol Side Trail which is largely a big tallus field without the bouldering section Bob refers to.

Yes it is short but as Peakbagger's experience shows, it doesn't necessarily "pass very quickly."


I took a friend with similiar height issues up Mt Katahdin this year. She has climbed all the 4000 footers in the whites previously and only had issues in a couple of places. We took the Hunt trail (AT) on nice sunny day with no wind. The section from treeline to the tablelands which is less than a mile took 2.5 hours in both directions. She had a real tough time on it both ways even though the top of the ridge isnt that narrow. I expect the big issue was that in her periphial vision, the sides of the mountain drop away very steeply so that you cant see the slopes. She also isnt a fan of boulder scrambles so the combination of the heights and the bouldering made for a slow hike. While we were on the tablelands and at the summit, she had a great time.

The Saddle trail up from Chimney Pond has very little smiliar exposure. It climbs out of a valley with slopes to either side. There are steep spots but nothing real difficult. Once you break out on the tablelands, the trail is quite wide and set back from the edge by quite a bit. The trade off is that you would need to drive around the mountain at the end of your hike as the Saddle climbs from the East side of the Mountain rather than from the west where the AT is. Its still a great hike as it goes up though the Chinmey Pond basin.

TJ aka Teej
02-10-2011, 12:45
On the top you are not walking anywhere need the edge at all.
...you can return via the Abol Side Trail which is largely a big tallus field without the bouldering section Bob refers to.

Looking down from Baxter Peak to Chimney Pond, and peaking over the edge looking down the Abol Slide Trail freaked my teen son out. Only trouble he's ever had climbing. You never know, y'know?
My advice is go up the Hunt Trail as far as you can, you'll enjoy it if you know the plan is to turn around. The 100 Mile is more endurance than risk, as others have mentioned.

markc7
02-11-2011, 08:05
From what everyone here has said and from looking at some pictures in the gallery, the knife's edge looks like it would be a bad idea.

But that's past the actual peak, right? If we did Hunt Trail up and maybe Abol trail back down, would that minimize the exposure? I also like the idea of trying but being willing to back out if need be.

Thanks everyone.

Sierra Echo
02-11-2011, 08:07
From what everyone here has said and from looking at some pictures in the gallery, the knife's edge looks like it would be a bad idea.

But that's past the actual peak, right? If we did Hunt Trail up and maybe Abol trail back down, would that minimize the exposure? I also like the idea of trying but being willing to back out if need be.

Thanks everyone.

The knifes edge is so windy that people actually blow off the trail. And its a thousand ft drop off on either side! :eek:

Pedaling Fool
02-11-2011, 09:32
From what everyone here has said and from looking at some pictures in the gallery, the knife's edge looks like it would be a bad idea.

But that's past the actual peak, right? If we did Hunt Trail up and maybe Abol trail back down, would that minimize the exposure? I also like the idea of trying but being willing to back out if need be.

Thanks everyone.
Yes, it's past the peak if you come up the Hunt trail; it's part of the trail if you come up other trails, I can't remember which ones, despite using one years ago, but I'm sure someone will let us know.

Let's assume you come up the Hunt trail to the peak. You'll see knife's edge and won't even need to come too close to it. But this is the problem: getting up to the peak via hunt trail is one thing, but going down it is another issue. There are spots where you'll have to get on your butt and inch down over boulders.

I don't know how serious the issue your friend has, but it's entirely possible that you could get him up there, but then you gotta worry about getting him down, completely different problem.


I've never taken the other trail, but someone else can answer.

Cookerhiker
02-11-2011, 09:39
.....My advice is go up the Hunt Trail as far as you can, you'll enjoy it if you know the plan is to turn around. The 100 Mile is more endurance than risk, as others have mentioned.


..... I also like the idea of trying but being willing to back out if need be.

Thanks everyone.

I think that's your best plan; as long as you and your partner agree beforehand that he/she may turnaround if the going becomes too uncomfortable for him/her.

hikerboy57
02-11-2011, 09:57
#1 rule of climbing- getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory.Hike until you hit the limit of your comfort zone,and if you have to back off, the mountain will be there tomorrow. if you push a little through that comfort zone, the next time will be that much easier.never be embarrassed by your fear- it helps keep you alive. A little exposure at a time will help manage the fear

Pedaling Fool
02-11-2011, 10:07
#1 rule of climbing- getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory.
That was kind of my point with going up via hunt trail. It kind of reminds me of when I was a kid climbing a tree. I got up no problem, but then realized going down was, One: a must; Two: it required a completely different skill set, which was a little intimidating. And I have no real issues with heights. Now add that fact to someone that does have an issue with ledges and pressure of knowing they MUST go down. It can be problematic.

I remember looking over some of them boulders and you gotta really look over it to see where you will place your foot.

hikerboy57
02-11-2011, 10:10
I climbed Katahdin about 15 years ago through fog and clouds, and all though I'm an experienced rock climber, the exposure was somewhat unnerving with limited visibility. I think I would have actually preferred a clear day, coming down was pretty hairy.

10-K
02-11-2011, 10:36
I guess we all have our thing...

As a (very) poor swimmer I worried about fords. If I knew I had a ford coming up I'd start worrying about it the day before I got to - really anxiety producing.

Turns out it was nothing to worry about - the way most irrational fears do once I get through them. Now I no longer dread fords....

Shera
02-11-2011, 10:52
Hiked the entire AT, including Katahdin. I have some moderate-severe heights issues. I definitely felt some moderate vertigo coming down KT (usually my issues occur going up). KT is not nearly as bad as some places in the Whites but climbing mountains is not for everyone, even sporty outdoors types. I think your friend should be able to hang but take it slow and let her lead.

envirodiver
02-11-2011, 11:21
I have developed a fear of heights also. Not sure when it came about but it did. A group of us hiked the 100 mi. wilderness a few years ago and acessed K from the knife edge. I was very uncertain about doing that portion of the hike but decided that I would. When we reached the beginning of the knife edge the weather went from nice and sunny, to sleet, very strong gusting wind and the clouds settled in (this was early August). Great I thought. Upside of the clouds rolling in was that I couldn't see very far down.

Made my way through it slow and steady, choked down the fear and kept moving. Crab walked where I needed to and slid on my butt where I needed to. The pleasant surprise was that the rock was gritty and had a good texture to keep from slipping (unlike the wet limestone rock in the south).

About halfway across we met a young couple and the man was in complete meltdown, which included sitting on the trail with his arms wrapped around a rock sobbing uncontrollably, begging for a helicopter. That is not the mental place to be up there. The danger goes up exponentially when someone is that scared.

The sense of accomplishment upon reaching the summit was overwhelming.

The hike down the Hunt trail was a bit scary at times but not compared to what I had already done.

I guess my point is that if your friend really doesn't want to be exposed to those types of heights, then keep them away from knife edge. The Hunt Trail may be OK for them, but if they are so afraid that they may freeze up, then keep them away from that trail also.

I ended up not doing the entire 100 mi. wilderness, but the part that I did had nothing on it (except a few swollen stream crossings) that was scary.

Have fun

weary
02-11-2011, 11:33
The knifes edge is so windy that people actually blow off the trail. And its a thousand ft drop off on either side! :eek:
There's no record of anyone ever falling down those thousand feet. The reason is simple.

Except for a short distance -- maybe 10 feet -- there is no sheer drops. One would have to deliberately somersault off the Knife Edge to be hurt -- and even then it would be difficult. Even the 10 feet is not really dangerous. There's a rock face on one side that provides numerous hand holds.

People get hurt on the Knife Edge, not from falling off the trail, but from falling on to the trail. The reason is simple. The trail is steep. And many don't turn around and face the steep trail, thus not being able to use the numerous hand and footholds. They walk the Knife Edge as if they were going down a ladder front first, unable to use the rungs for hand holds.

A woman did die on the Knife Edge once, a half century or so ago. She encountered an unusual early season snow and deliberately walked off the edge of the trail to escape the wind and snow. She slipped and fell on a ledge, where she died along with the ranger that tried to rescue her.

But thousands of hikers have done the Knife Edge without mishap, before and since. All it takes is some rudimentary hiking skills, and the ability to not panic from an overactive imagination.

envirodiver
02-11-2011, 13:29
There's no record of anyone ever falling down those thousand feet. The reason is simple.

Except for a short distance -- maybe 10 feet -- there is no sheer drops. One would have to deliberately somersault off the Knife Edge to be hurt -- and even then it would be difficult. Even the 10 feet is not really dangerous. There's a rock face on one side that provides numerous hand holds.

People get hurt on the Knife Edge, not from falling off the trail, but from falling on to the trail. The reason is simple. The trail is steep. And many don't turn around and face the steep trail, thus not being able to use the numerous hand and footholds. They walk the Knife Edge as if they were going down a ladder front first, unable to use the rungs for hand holds.

A woman did die on the Knife Edge once, a half century or so ago. She encountered an unusual early season snow and deliberately walked off the edge of the trail to escape the wind and snow. She slipped and fell on a ledge, where she died along with the ranger that tried to rescue her.

But thousands of hikers have done the Knife Edge without mishap, before and since. All it takes is some rudimentary hiking skills, and the ability to not panic from an overactive imagination.

From Baxter State Park listing of fatalities. It stops in 1998. Nothing after

Aug. 10, 1986 Derek Quiet, age 16 - Fell off Knife Edge on Mt. Katahdin.

weary
02-11-2011, 22:52
From Baxter State Park listing of fatalities. It stops in 1998. Nothing after

Aug. 10, 1986 Derek Quiet, age 16 - Fell off Knife Edge on Mt. Katahdin.
I don't remember the incident. And I can't find any details. Maybe TJ knows what happened.

mudhead
02-12-2011, 13:35
You can't expect the Park to publicize events like a death. Messes with the tourist money.

Peakbagger- You are a good sort to work her up and down thru that.

If you can step off a ladder onto a flat roof, you can do the Hunt Trail, in my opinion.

Looks scarier than it is, you just focus on the 20' feet of trail in front of you.:)

Turning around is no crime. Been done a bazillion times.

TJ aka Teej
02-12-2011, 14:07
I don't remember the incident. And I can't find any details. Maybe TJ knows what happened.

The boy fell about 20 feet, wind related, I believe. 20 feet might not sound like much, but picture a basketball rim at 10 feet, now times 2 onto jagged granite.

There have been fatalities since then. A female winter ice climber was struck in the head by a falling rock above Chimney Pond, at least two heart attacks, and a young man struck by lightning in of all places, Katahdin Stream Campground.

weary
02-12-2011, 21:06
It may be a matter of semantics. I'm not particularly stable on my feet and I've done the Knife Edge several times. I know it's easy to fall. But the situations I observed at times were people falling "on the trail" not "off the trail."

But I can imagine a clerk doing a summary report and not knowing the lay of the land reporting an incident as "falling off."

It's just that I don't remember any places on the Knife Edge trail where it would be easy to "fall off." Nor can anyone I've known who has experienced the Knife Edge remember a section where "falling off" is likely.

But if you guys insist I'll check again this summer, though I truly am getting too old for such shenanigans.

envirodiver
02-12-2011, 21:21
It may be a matter of semantics. I'm not particularly stable on my feet and I've done the Knife Edge several times. I know it's easy to fall. But the situations I observed at times were people falling "on the trail" not "off the trail."

But I can imagine a clerk doing a summary report and not knowing the lay of the land reporting an incident as "falling off."

It's just that I don't remember any places on the Knife Edge trail where it would be easy to "fall off." Nor can anyone I've known who has experienced the Knife Edge remember a section where "falling off" is likely.

But if you guys insist I'll check again this summer, though I truly am getting too old for such shenanigans.


There are many places on the AT or any other backwoods trails that you can have unfortunate falling incidents. Best that I remember the highest cause of deaths while hiking is falls. If you insist that the Knife edge is safe and not a possible fall event, go for it. I've hiked it and think you are FOS.

rickb
02-12-2011, 21:29
Certainly one can fall and hurt themselves is countless places along the AT.

Opportunities to fall 10 or 20 or even more feet abound. You can fall and hurt yourself in the bathtub at a trail motel, too.

If I read Weary correctly he is saying that on the Knife Edge you would not be risking a fall off a sheer cliff. The big plunge, if you will.

Are you suggesting that is the kind of exposure you find there?

rickb
02-12-2011, 21:40
Evey so often someone post this link to a really scary trail in Spain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Nd1qtk1Go

Surely there is a good youtube video of the Knife Edge on line? Any one found it yet?

And also one of the Hunt Trail section that some are speaking of.

4eyedbuzzard
02-12-2011, 21:46
There are many places on the AT or any other backwoods trails that you can have unfortunate falling incidents. Best that I remember the highest cause of deaths while hiking is falls. If you insist that the Knife edge is safe and not a possible fall event, go for it. I've hiked it and think you are FOS.

Geeze... It's not like you're going to fall 1000' feet to you death or anything.

It's more like you'll fall and start rolling down the really steep sides getting beat up and bloodied along the way and THEN die when you finally stop by hitting a big jagged rock.

weary
02-12-2011, 21:58
Certainly one can fall and hurt themselves is countless places along the AT.

Opportunities to fall 10 or 20 or even more feet abound. You can fall and hurt yourself in the bathtub at a trail motel, too.

If I read Weary correctly he is saying that on the Knife Edge you would not be risking a fall off a sheer cliff. The big plunge, if you will.

Are you suggesting that is the kind of exposure you find there?
I don't believe I've ever said the Knife Edge is safe. You can certainly fall while doing the Knife Edge. Many have. People have broken legs and arms, a 16-year-old fell 20 feet and died. The trail down the steep gap between Pamola and Chimney Mountains is particularly dangerous.

I've suggested how to hike that mountain gap on the Knife Edge trail more safely.

The mountain in fact slopes a thousand feet downhill from the narrow Knife Edge Trail.

All I've suggested is that slope is not usually what kills and injures, but rather the falls down the steep trail itself. It's easy to fall 20 feet or more on the Knife Edge, especially while descending Chimney Mountain.

The slope is what makes some hikers nervous. It is the potential for falls on to the trail itself that maims and occasionally kills.

envirodiver
02-12-2011, 22:05
Certainly one can fall and hurt themselves is countless places along the AT.

Opportunities to fall 10 or 20 or even more feet abound. You can fall and hurt yourself in the bathtub at a trail motel, too.

If I read Weary correctly he is saying that on the Knife Edge you would not be risking a fall off a sheer cliff. The big plunge, if you will.

Are you suggesting that is the kind of exposure you find there?


it would make me feel a lot better to know that I only fell 20 feet before I died. Yes I do think there is an opportunity for the big Plunge as you catagorize it. Do you not agree. As bodies fall they bounce and as they bounce they fall and as gravity continues to pull them down they would end up at some point that stops them. Many times that is the end of the slope.

Are there not any steep slopes along the Knife edge? If not maybe it shgould be renamed the "butter knife edge"

rickb
02-12-2011, 22:08
Yes I do think there is an opportunity for the big Plunge as you catagorize it. Do you not agree.

Yes, I agree. I am surprise there haven't been more accidents.

emerald
02-12-2011, 22:14
Surely there is a good youtube video of the Knife Edge on line? Any one found it yet?

And also one of the Hunt Trail section that some are speaking of.

Even looking for stills, posting them and letting people make up their own minds would be time better spent.

rickb
02-12-2011, 22:19
Even looking for stills, posting them and letting people make up their own minds would be time better spent.

Some of the stills of the Hunt Trail going down look scary as all get out. I think that is mostly an optical illusion of sorts, however. To me one is rather nestled in the boulders without much chance to fall very far at all.

I was surprised to hear some peoples experiences on the way up.

The Knife's Edge is a different story.

emerald
02-12-2011, 22:29
Images depicting the route on Katahdin's Hunt Spur from both directions would give a better overall impression. Those taken from the top with nothing but air in the background may tend to give a false impression, but people have taken some nasty spills there too which have resulted in aborted hikes.

It would probably be harder to demonstrate with images what experiencing The Knife Edge is like unless someone set out to do so specifically.

There are images of both in WhiteBlaze's Katahdin Gallery, some of which may be helpful.

envirodiver
02-12-2011, 22:32
There's no record of anyone ever falling down those thousand feet. The reason is simple.

Except for a short distance -- maybe 10 feet -- there is no sheer drops. One would have to deliberately somersault off the Knife Edge to be hurt -- and even then it would be difficult. Even the 10 feet is not really dangerous. There's a rock face on one side that provides numerous hand holds.

People get hurt on the Knife Edge, not from falling off the trail, but from falling on to the trail. The reason is simple. The trail is steep. And many don't turn around and face the steep trail, thus not being able to use the numerous hand and footholds. They walk the Knife Edge as if they were going down a ladder front first, unable to use the rungs for hand holds.

A woman did die on the Knife Edge once, a half century or so ago. She encountered an unusual early season snow and deliberately walked off the edge of the trail to escape the wind and snow. She slipped and fell on a ledge, where she died along with the ranger that tried to rescue her.

But thousands of hikers have done the Knife Edge without mishap, before and since. All it takes is some rudimentary hiking skills, and the ability to not panic from an overactive imagination.


I don't believe I've ever said the Knife Edge is safe. You can certainly fall while doing the Knife Edge. Many have. People have broken legs and arms, a 16-year-old fell 20 feet and died. The trail down the steep gap between Pamola and Chimney Mountains is particularly dangerous.

I've suggested how to hike that mountain gap on the Knife Edge trail more safely.

The mountain in fact slopes a thousand feet downhill from the narrow Knife Edge Trail.

All I've suggested is that slope is not usually what kills and injures, but rather the falls down the steep trail itself. It's easy to fall 20 feet or more on the Knife Edge, especially while descending Chimney Mountain.

The slope is what makes some hikers nervous. It is the potential for falls on to the trail itself that maims and occasionally kills.

Perhaps everything you said is true as you know it. However, do not sugar coat this trail to people that have never walked it.

I have and it was scary as hell. You can give me stats, you can tell me whatever misinformed crap you can come up with, but that trail is scarey.

envirodiver
02-12-2011, 22:33
Images depicting the route on Katahdin's Hunt Spur from both directions would give a better overall impression. Those taken from the top with nothing but air in the background may tend to give a false impression, but people have taken some nasty spills there too which have resulted in aborted hikes.

It would probably be harder to demonstrate with images what experiencing The Knife Edge is like unless someone set out to do so specifically.

There are images of both in WhiteBlaze's Katahdin Gallery, some of which may be helpful.

Pictures are not always an adequate description. 2D ya know.

Sierra Echo
02-12-2011, 22:40
Geeze... It's not like you're going to fall 1000' feet to you death or anything.

It's more like you'll fall and start rolling down the really steep sides getting beat up and bloodied along the way and THEN die when you finally stop by hitting a big jagged rock.

One of the members of my hiking club was talking about how when he was up at Baxter some guy fell/blew off the Knifes Edge and it took 4 days to find him. And by some miracle he was alive!

emerald
02-12-2011, 22:58
Pictures are not always an adequate description. 2D ya know.

Do you believe 3D would be better than opinions in your opinion and do you know where we might obtain 3D images that would answer this question to the complete satisfaction of everyone forevermore?

weary
02-12-2011, 22:59
One of the members of my hiking club was talking about how when he was up at Baxter some guy fell/blew off the Knifes Edge and it took 4 days to find him. And by some miracle he was alive!
I knew a hiker with stories like that once also.

envirodiver
02-12-2011, 23:01
Do you believe 3D would be better than opinions in your opinion and do you know where we might obtain 3D images that would answer this question to the complete satisfaction of everyone forevermore?

My opinion is based on having been there. So you can post pics and links to pics and links to links of pics to let people know what it is like and they will not get it.

To answer your question more directly : yes 3D would be much better.

Sierra Echo
02-12-2011, 23:06
Evey so often someone post this link to a really scary trail in Spain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Nd1qtk1Go



You must be THIS tall to hike this trail!!!!!

emerald
02-12-2011, 23:07
My opinion is based on having been there. So you can post pics and links to pics and links to links of pics to let people know what it is like and they will not get it.

To answer your question more directly : yes 3D would be much better.

If you think 3Ds would better approximate your experience, I suggest you post them along with a disclaimer and you might want to check with site management before posting them.

envirodiver
02-12-2011, 23:14
If you think 3Ds would better approximate your experience, I suggest you post them along with a disclaimer and you might want to check with site management before posting them.

Why would you want to post a disclaimer, if there were 3D pics available? Better yet do we need to check with site management prior to posting pics?

Is it better to sugar coat info regarding trails? Have you hiked this trail?

Sierra Echo
02-12-2011, 23:32
I knew a hiker with stories like that once also.

Well then I'm sure he was a nice old honest man like this one is. :rolleyes:

emerald
02-12-2011, 23:48
Why would you want to post a disclaimer, if there were 3D pics available?

Someone might take a nasty spill looking at them and incur wicked medical bills.


Better yet do we need to check with site management prior to posting pics?

No one has ever posted 3D images to my knowledge and I don't know how management feels about them.


Is it better to sugar coat info regarding trails?

I try to avoid simple carbohydrates for the most part and don't care for frosted breakfast cereals or arÍtes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ar%C3%AAte).


Have you hiked this trail?

Yes and so have many others who enjoyed themselves. I wouldn't post about it if I hadn't.

emerald
02-13-2011, 01:07
http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1030&bih=830&q=Knife+Edge+Katahdin&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq (http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1030&bih=830&q=Knife+Edge+Katahdin&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq)

Bronk
02-13-2011, 06:07
The original poster said she was diagnosed with vertigo by a doctor...are there any doctors on here who can diagnose vertigo over the internet?

Sierra Echo
02-13-2011, 09:01
The original poster said she was diagnosed with vertigo by a doctor...are there any doctors on here who can diagnose vertigo over the internet?

Nope. When I was diagnosed, I went through a LOT of blood work AND an EKG to rule out other problems.

Namaste
02-13-2011, 09:25
Yeah, i agree with cookerhiker. I led a trip up to K years ago with someone who freaked out and could not continue on to Knife's Edge. I led her back down Saddle Trail. She was later diagnosed by a doctor to have vertigo :-? A descent on Hunt Trail on a clear day could be another issue.

I mentioned she was diagnosed by a doctor.....that was after she had been brought to the doctor and had testing done at a medical facility. She was anxious to get back on the trail so she did continue with us as we met up before the wilderness. I don't remember any other issues after that.

4eyedbuzzard
02-13-2011, 10:52
One of the members of my hiking club was talking about how when he was up at Baxter some guy fell/blew off the Knifes Edge and it took 4 days to find him. And by some miracle he was alive!

Like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrbD9NWkp7E&NR=1) ?

weary
02-13-2011, 12:32
Thanks to whoever posted the photos. They illustrate the points I was trying to make. Most show a pretty blunt "knife," which is why almost no one gets hurt from stepping off the side of the trail, or even getting blown off.

The photo showing a kid with his back to a steep portion of the trail, illustrates why and how most accidents happen. Facing down the trail, of course, is how most of us walk trails.

But on very steep sections like the Knife Edge dip between Pamola and Chimney Mountains, the wise of us take a tip from technical climbers, turn around and face the rock face. That way we can see the hand and foot holds.

The Knife Edge isn't really that technical. Most manage it without a problem. But occasionally someone falls, breaking bones and skulls, occasionally fatally.

That's why I always turn around and face the walls on steep trail sections. I think of it as insurance.

Sierra Echo
02-13-2011, 18:59
Like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrbD9NWkp7E&NR=1) ?

I can't say as I was not there.

mudhead
02-13-2011, 19:41
Perhaps everything you said is true as you know it. However, do not sugar coat this trail to people that have never walked it.


That is a good point. Due caution is a good thing.


I have and it was scary as hell. You can give me stats, you can tell me whatever misinformed crap you can come up with, but that trail is scarey.



Are you talking Hunt Trail or Knifedge? Both can be creepy the first time, but c'mon.

You can do the Hunt Trail and only use your hands a couple times. I always am glad after getting to the other end of the Knifedge, even if most of it is just walking upright.

Three point scrambling. Good for the soul.

envirodiver
02-13-2011, 21:53
Are you talking Hunt Trail or Knifedge? Both can be creepy the first time, but c'mon.

You can do the Hunt Trail and only use your hands a couple times. I always am glad after getting to the other end of the Knifedge, even if most of it is just walking upright.

Three point scrambling. Good for the soul.


Knife Edge

weary
02-14-2011, 01:08
Over the decades I've hiked all the Katahdin trails at least once, and most several times.

One February a group I was with got to within a quarter mile of the Katahdin summit when the wind picked up and the leader called off the summit attempt because of the danger of injuries. I thought that was a wise call. I was wearing a lightly loaded ancient external frame pack that felt like a kite on my back.

We escaped via the Cathedral Trail. Summertime, the Cathedral is considered the most difficult trail. But that February it was out of the wind -- and more importantly packed with snow.

We roped up and belayed down the steep snow slide and then snowshoed into Chimney Pond for the night. A great trip.