WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$5 for printable PDF, AVAILABLE NOW. $9 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 44
  1. #1
    Registered User ecogirl01's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-11-2006
    Location
    Black Earth/Madison, WI
    Posts
    4

    Default Difficulty of Katahdin

    I was not sure of where to post this type of thread, however, here it goes: I would like to meet my boyfriend-Homebrew, who is currently hiking the AT, atop Katahdin when he completes his adventure in ~Aug2006. I was wondering how treacherous of a climb this is? The Baxter State Park website gives a daunting description, which will be heeded. I have backpacked the Approach Trail with him and backpacked previously before then, but have no experience in rock/Mtn climbing. I am looking for insight from anyone who has attempted this climb or anyone who is also thinking about attempting this climb. I would most likely be starting from one of the Baxter Sate Park Campgrounds. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you-cindy loo hoo aka ecogirl01
    If you can find a path without any obstabcles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. --

  2. #2

    Default

    if you are in relatively good shape, and you start EARLY in the day, you should have no trouble getting up Katahdin as longer as the weather is nice. It is a long, and challenging climb. It will take you the better part of the day. It is an amazing mountain and an amazing view, well worth the effort. Here is a great thread that may help you w/ your question:
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=12946

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-04-2004
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Age
    63
    Posts
    498

    Default

    I worried about Katahdin all the way from Springer Mountain.

    When I did arrive it was really not as bad as I had feared. Leaving aside the weather, the approach to timber line seemed pretty straightforward. Then my journal entry recalls
    "After winding up and around a few boulders the Trail came to a wall with a four inch vertical cleft in it. It would be impassible except for a steel T-bar and handrail at the top and several rock jammed into the cleft. I figured out that you grab the t-bar, put a foot on the first rock, haul yourself by the bar up until you can reach the handrail and get a foot in the next rock, then haul yourself up really far so you can bring one foot as high as it will go and hook it onto the t-bar as a foothold, then pull extra hard on the rail and scramble to the top of the wall. A nice introduction to the sort of climbing the next mile entails! The Trail goes up the spine of a ridge piled with boulders, going in great loops that start shallow, steepen over a peak then repeat. So you get a view of a great arc of rock to work up, then as you near the top of the loop you see less and less above and more and more below until you pop over the crest, usually in an extra difficult spot due to the steepness, then are confronted with yet another loop arcing upward.

    The sheer scale of it was simply enormous! At first I was well below the tops of other mountains to the west. As I made my way up they seemed lower and lower until I was well above them. The Trail went up a fairly wide space on the spine of the ridge, winding back and forth twenty or thirty feet. Not at all like the Knife Edge, another trail that followed a VERY narrow ridge with a steep drop to either side. Here I felt secure. To the left I could see a steep dropoff into a valley far far below. Sometimes I had the novel experience of seeing my shadow stretch hundreds of feet below me! But the path never got so narrow and close to the edge of the dropoff as to make me nervous, like when I had vertigo at Lehigh Gap; or climb rocks or ledges steep enough to fall more than a short drop, like the rock walls at Wildcat Ridge. So I felt secure almost the entire climb, just a lot of work! There were just a few "I can't believe it goes THERE!" moments, and most I found a clear route around or they turned out not as bad as they first looked. None of the narrow outward sloping sloping ledges or lack of foot or handholds that made rock climbs in the White Mountains a harrowing experience. What is more, the view of the surrounding countryside got more fabulous by the minute!"

    After that comes a fairly flat mile across the Tablelands and a pretty undemanding ascent up rock jumble to the summit.

    A solid day's work but doable if you are in good shape and the weather is good.

  4. #4

    Default

    keep in mind, there is a major difference between a day hiker tackling Katahdin, and someone who has been walking over mountains for the last 6 months

  5. #5
    Registered User weary's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-15-2003
    Location
    Phippsburg, Maine, United States
    Posts
    10,115
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    At least 10,000 people climb Katahdin each year via the AT. At least half are first timers, probably more. I'm guessing now, but most reach the summit. A handful suffer minor injuries, mostly scratches and strains. Ocasionally, maybe every few years or so, someone will fall and break and arm or something. Every decade or so someone with existing health problems will die on the mountain, either as a result of exertion, poor fitness, whatever. And occasionally some one will need to be rescued by park rangers.

    My message: Katahdin is rugged, mildly dangerous for those in good health climbing in good weather, and seriously dangerous for those with serious health problems. climbing in bad weather. But it is not a technically difficult mountain. If you can climb any mountain, you can climb Katahdin. It doesn't require rock climbing skills or training.

    I never considered myself a serious athlete. I first climbed Katahdin around the age of 35 or so. I went up the AT and down the Saddle Trail to Chimney Pond and out to Roaring Brook in eight hours, wearing low cut, leather walking shoes, and a worn out tweed sports jacket. In the 40 years since I've climbed the mountain at least a score of times, summer and winter.

    My message: Barring obvious special circumstances, just do it. Start early, go slow, don't quit. You'll come to places that you can't imagine climbing over. Just remember, thousands, old and young, fit and unfit, have figured out the challenge and surmounted it. You can also.

    Weary
    Last edited by weary; 06-04-2006 at 23:10.

  6. #6

    Default If a 62 year old heart patient can do it ....

    Quote Originally Posted by ecogirl01
    I am looking for insight from anyone who has attempted this climb or anyone who is also thinking about attempting this climb.
    I am a 62 year old who has had a quadruple bypass. I climbed it last September. I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard, but a lot of younger hikers zoomed right on past me. You can do it.

    After saying that you can do it, I have a question. Are you planning to surprise him? If so, you may have a scheduling problem.

    Most thru-hikers are in top shape when they reach Mt. Katahdin. They start the climb early in the morning and make it to the top in less than three hours. It isn't realistic to think you can make it to the top in time to be there before him. It will take you about five hours to reach the top and you won't be allowed to start up the trail until 7 a.m. If you plan to meet him at the top, you will have to come up with a way to get him to wait on you.
    Shutterbug

  7. #7
    Easy Strider, section hiker hiker33's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-21-2004
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, United States
    Age
    62
    Posts
    86
    Images
    93

    Default Another possibility

    As a former Maineiac who has climbed the K several times another possibility occurs to me. The poster has prior backpacking experience. IF by some stroke of luck she could still get an August reservation at Chimney Pond she could spend the previous night there and climb Katahdin by the Saddle or Cathedral Trails the next morning. Saddle is relatively the "easiest" way up the mountain. From Chimney it's only 2-3 hours to the top and she would likely be there well ahead of Homebrew.

  8. #8
    NE AT 733 of 733 miles & Long Trail End-to-End Tramper Al's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-10-2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    266
    Images
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Shutterbug
    . . . you won't be allowed to start up the trail until 7 a.m.
    That's just not true. Short of camping overnight on the trail, and weather permitting, you may start up the Hunt Trail as early in the morning as you like.
    - Tramper Al

  9. #9
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
    Join Date
    09-27-2002
    Location
    Laramie, WY
    Age
    73
    Posts
    7,149
    Images
    90

    Default

    [quote=ecogirl01] I was wondering how treacherous of a climb this is? The Baxter State Park website gives a daunting description, which will be heeded.
    =================================
    I wouldn't rate it as "Treacherous", but I do know of a handfull of folks who got to certain areas and turned around. There is some rock scrambling and in a few places you need to pull your self up to the next level using r-bar hand holds and leverage. Once you're past the gateway and up on the tableland it just walking through a field of rocks with moderate ups and downs. That said ...what goes up must come down and for some people the retreat down Katahdin is more threatening than the ascent. Just allow plenty of time and TAKE your time and you shouldn't have any problems.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  10. #10
    Registered User plydem's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-05-2006
    Location
    Naugatuck, CT
    Age
    53
    Posts
    117

    Default

    I've climbed Katahdin two and a half times (the half being the first time I tried and got about a half-mile above tree-line and turned back). Once up and down the Hunt (AT) trail and the other up the Abol Slide and down the Hunt (AT). While it wasn't easy, I wouldn't consider it treacherous except in bad weather. As mentioned by Hiker33, if you intend to meet your boyfriend at the top (and beat him there) you'll either need to start pretty early (it takes about three to four hours from Katahdin Stream Campground) or consider the route from Chimney Pond since it is the shortest way up. If you can't get a reservation at Chimney Pond, the other shorter option is the Abol Slide trail. It's slightly more difficult than the AT but only for a short period of time. Good Luck!

  11. #11
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-25-2005
    Location
    Frolicking elsewhere
    Posts
    12,398
    Images
    15

    Default

    As I understand it, camping is not allowed on the big K - anyone know what happens if someone gets up there and can't get back down before it gets to dark to hike? I have some limitations that are going to make hiking K really slow....

  12. #12

    Default

    hey, i met homebrew in the shenandoah. great guy. tall fella from wisconsin, right? he somehow managed to get his sleeping bag soaking wet in a rainstorm and when he tried to dry it in the drier at one of the shenny's waysides, the lady there wouldn't let him, said it would get the drier too dirty. homebrew was understandably outraged. but then later he was placated by the trail magic that these two guys dragged up to the hut for him and another thru-hiker -- beer, hot dogs, burgers -- it was quite the feast

  13. #13
    Registered User plydem's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-05-2006
    Location
    Naugatuck, CT
    Age
    53
    Posts
    117

    Default Difficulty of Katahdin

    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs
    As I understand it, camping is not allowed on the big K - anyone know what happens if someone gets up there and can't get back down before it gets to dark to hike? I have some limitations that are going to make hiking K really slow....
    Baxter does not allow camping anywhere but designated campsites/campgrounds and I wouldn't want to be stuck out on the big K overnight. As noted previously, if you have limitations your best bet is to get reservations at Chimney Pond two nights in a row and stay there before and after your hike. You have to hike into Chimney Pond from Roaring Boook. Of course, if you are thru-hiking you don't necessarily have this option. Anyway, if you start early and don't hang around on the top very long, you can easily make the hike in a full day - a long day depending on how "slow" you mean and what time of year you are going.

  14. #14
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-25-2005
    Location
    Frolicking elsewhere
    Posts
    12,398
    Images
    15

    Default

    Slow means 1 MPH or less - much less if boulder climbing is involved. I'm a section hiker so I'm thinking I may use the campground and do the summit, part way down and then back to the campgound on one day and then go part way up and come back down the AT on another day. While I know it isn't the way most do it, it may be the only way I can because my right leg is seriously impaired

  15. #15
    Registered User ecogirl01's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-11-2006
    Location
    Black Earth/Madison, WI
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Thank you for all the great advice! And thank you for extinguishing some fears. I think with a little preparation I'll do okay.

    Mingo- Your description of Homebrew was correct. I will let him know of your fond memory.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ecogirl01
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Welcome ecogirl.
    Campground: Try to stay at Katahdin Stream the night before your climb.
    Start time: You can start before 7AM only if the trail was open the day before. In Summer start at first light if you can to avoid the crowds and vans full of group hikers. The "7AM" bit is oft quoted because that's when the Rangers get the official weather report via radio. This report declares what Class Day it will be, and the Rangers post this info at the Trailhead. If the mountain is closed, all trails are closed at Trailhead - not at Treeline as some believe.
    Camping on the mountain: never allowed, and will get you kicked out of the Park. Ridge runners employed by Baxter monitor this very strictly.
    Rescues: '03 saw 3 or 4 rescues a week being done out of Katahdin Stream. If you don't make it down, the Rangers will go up and get you and bring you down.
    Difficulty: The middle bit of the Hunt Trail, exposed above tree line with lots of bouldering, is hard for the average hiker. The Tableland is often 30 degrees cooler than the campground, and is very windy and clouded over most days. In the summer, expect thunderstorms in the afternoon. The most common problem Rangers deal with are not injury, but dehydration, exposure, and exhaustion. It seems to me that people forget they have to come back down, which causes them to run out of water, refreshment, time, and good weather. Poor planning results in few folks who bring fleece, raingear, enough water, or even a hat. It is not uncommon for dayhikers to spend 12 hours *or more* on a round trip to Baxter Peak.
    The most important thing to remember: Common sense. Prepare for a long day with poor weather no matter what the morning looks like.

    OK, now go have fun!
    Last edited by TJ aka Teej; 06-05-2006 at 15:24.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej
    ...
    Difficulty: The middle bit of the Hunt Trail, exposed above tree line with lots of bouldering, is hard for the average hiker. ...
    This is where I think you might have a bit of difficulty Mrs. Dinosaur.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  18. #18

    Default My experience...

    ...last September was my first and thus far only ascent of the mighty K. I didn't thruhike but section hiked the 290+ miles from Gorham in one trip so I was in pretty good shape. Normally, I find ascents easier than descents but Katahdin was the exception. For me, the ascent was more difficult and challenging even though the descent took an hour longer. I know that sounds like a paradox but the ascent's challenge en-route to the Tableland was finding ways up and around boulders using in some cases the tiny footholds offered by small indentations or iron rungs. The boosting required in some places was an energy-burner.

    The descent was slow but the footing was more certain. Places where I had to boost myself on the ascent required only a little jump on the descent, perhaps easier for me at 6'0 than some of the petite women.

    One question you'll have is whether to bring poles. On the ascent at some point in the steep part, they were useless. But I'd still bring them because on the descent, they were useful in some instances. I found some situations descending where no poles were best, some where one pole worked, and others where I used them both.

    May you enjoy a Class 1 day on your ascent and joyous reunion.

  19. #19
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-25-2005
    Location
    Frolicking elsewhere
    Posts
    12,398
    Images
    15

    Default

    Thanks for the help and looking forward to pics of Homebrew's reunion with ecogirl

  20. #20

    Default

    After walking from Georgia I was started up Katahdin about 8 am and was back in the parking lot, mission accomplished by 2:30 that afternoon. However a year later, 40 pounds heavier I started about 8am and was down at 7 pm, Anyone in reasonable condition should be down by dark if you start early in the morning. It is tough, there are places you will think you can't make it but everyone does. Make sure you have enough water as there frequently is none above the timberline. The view is fantastic and even on a zero visability day you will have a great feeling of accomplishment. Some of my friends climb it every year at least once. This year my group is going up August 12th, rain, shine or snow.
    [FONT="Arial Black"][/FONT]Don't fret the petty things, &
    Don't pet the sweaty things[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][/FONT][I][/I]
    (I'm moxie00 on my apple-moxie on my PC)

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •