Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Katahdin question, what route?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Eastern US. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Eastern US Climbing Partners section.
 

Katahdin question, what route?

Postby qwimjim » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:27 pm

hi, going to Katahdin for the first time and just need a little advice. our original plan was to take helon taylor from roaring brook up to baxter peak and onto hamlin peak, down to chimney pond, returning to roaring brook. from what i can tell that's around 12 miles but not sure what book time would be, anyone have an idea approx how long this hike would take? seems like after baxter peak it would be pretty much all flat or downhill except for 500' up hamlin peak.

if that's too big of a day (we'll be going columbus day weekend, days are fairly short), what should be our priority hamlin peak or chimney pond?

and finally how does this hike compare to the northern presidentials in NH? not so much difficulty but just overall experience?

thanks!
qwimjim

 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby nartreb » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:42 pm

Most of your questions can be answered by reading a map.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=45.90793,-68 ... ahdin%20ME

http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/maps/hiking.php

Book time = 1/2 hour per mile, plus 1/2 hour per 1000 ft gained. It's about 3800ft fromRoaring Brook trailhead to the summit, but you've got a little up-and-down over Chimney, Pamola, South, and Hamlin peaks: about 400' for Hamlin, much less for the others.

12 miles is about right (actually I think it's a little less, but let's be conservative) for the round trip from Roaring Brook, so 8.5 hours will have you covered at book pace. Note you may go a bit slower than book over the Knife Edge.

Katahdin is one of the finest hikes in the East. Similar to the northern Presis in the amount of above-treeline area, but with a bit more of a wilderness feel. (Also, it's more northern - watch out for snow by Columbus day!)

This may all be moot depending on whether you get to the road early enough in the morning, and how many other people show up on Columbus Day weekend, and whether the rangers close half the trails due to snow. See the other Katahdin thread started a week ago.
User Avatar
nartreb

 
Posts: 1961
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 10:45 pm
Location: online or in boston, Massachusetts, United States
Thanked: 95 times in 79 posts

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby qwimjim » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:59 pm

Thanks, I just wasn't sure how much extra time to factor in for the scrambling and generally rocky uneven footing once above treeline. I've read so many different accounts from it being extremely difficult to it being very straightforward (in good weather).

In your opinion if we end up not having time for the entire route planned above, are we better off including Hamlin Peak or Chimney Pond in our hike? And if the latter, what's the best way to go up, Helon, Dudley or Cathedral? Thanks!
qwimjim

 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby nartreb » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:31 am

A lot of the above-treeline mileage is very easy, since it's a broad gentle saddle from Baxter Peak to Hamlin Peak. (A bit like Jefferson Lawn.) The uphill sections of Helon Taylor or Dudley are a good workout but nothing to worry about. (Like upper Crawford Path) Cathedral is different, you need to enjoy scrambling and be OK with some exposure (Like Huntington Ravine Trail?). The Knife Edge is not hard at all but depending on how much you like heights, you'll either slow down to double-check your steps and/or take an extra hand-hold, or slow down and take in the views. (Imagine the summit of Mt Madison, if it were a mile long, rather narrower, and perched on top of a vertical headwall much bigger than the Great Gulf. )

There are over 500 photos on SummitPost's Katahdin page, and many of them are attached to the pages for specific trails and/or peaks so you can see exactly what each section of the hike is like.

It's a two-minute detour to Chimney Pond on your way up Dudley or Cathedral. You can also hit it as a five-minute detour on your way down from Hamlin. But how long would you spend at the pond anyway? It's just a pond; you get great views of the Basin for the entire duration of your hike already.

Helon is probably a little gentler than Dudley, and gives you some views to the southeast that you wouldn't otherwise get, plus lets you make a loop without retracing your steps, so between Helon and Dudley, I'd go up Helon. Either one lets you go over the knife edge to the summit, and if you're making good time you have an easy walk to Hamlin from there (and from there, on to Howe if you like); if you're running late you can take the Saddle trail down instead.

For me the tough choice is, go up Cathedral (which I haven't done yet but it's supposed to be a lot of fun scrambling) versus go over the knife edge versus visit Hamlin and/or Howe. Up Cathedral, out-and-back over the knife edge, and then north to Hamlin and Howe might take too much time, but who wants to skip the knife edge? Up Cathedral down Helon is a nice loop... can you go back and get Hamlin and Howe the next day?
User Avatar
nartreb

 
Posts: 1961
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 10:45 pm
Location: online or in boston, Massachusetts, United States
Thanked: 95 times in 79 posts

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby mtneering » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:37 am

only time to climb Katahdin is winter!!!
User Avatar
mtneering

 
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:47 am
Location: San Diego, California, United States
Thanked: 2 times in 1 post

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby mtneering » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:38 am

although it looks like your question has been answered. enjoy K
User Avatar
mtneering

 
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:47 am
Location: San Diego, California, United States
Thanked: 2 times in 1 post

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby qwimjim » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:49 pm

mtneering wrote:only time to climb Katahdin is winter!!!


please elaborate :)
qwimjim

 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby Matt Worster » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:21 pm

qwimjim,

An excellent route, but . . . it might be a little aggressive for the short days and your first time in the area. I have a ton of respect for nartreb's New England advice, but I would suggest including Chimney Pond. It really is the jewel of the area, and an outstanding area to snack, linger, and look at what you have accomplished or planned.

I have done just about all the possible versions of loops on the mountain, including the reverse loop of what you have described. The view ascending to Hamelin was awesome, but mostly because it was a different perspective to me and I had been to Chimney Pond many times.

If I were to design your trip (how lofty does that sound), I would go up Chimney Pond and Cathedral, cross the Knife Edge, and down Helon Taylor.
-You get to see Basin Ponds and Chimney Pond, and you get a good view of the weather on the peak before committing to treeline.
-You get Cathedral up, which is awesome.
-You get the peak before the Knife Edge, which makes your decision on committing to the Knife Edge vs. turnaround MUCH easier if time or weather is not in your favor. If, for instance, you were on Pamola, you would be more likely to push ahead into marginal conditions to get the peak (we all suffer from such a syndrome).
-Helon Taylor is a bit of bitch on the way up.

My dad made several attempts (some with me as a teenager) on Katahdin on Columbus Day weekend. None were successful in terms of summitting (most times, never even started up the trail) due to weather. Have back-up lazy day plans, like hiking from Abol or Katahdin Stream over to Daicey Pond and their library, or up/down the Appalachian Trail to some waterfalls.
User Avatar
Matt Worster

 
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:08 pm
Location: Lafayette, California, United States
Thanked: 10 times in 5 posts

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby qwimjim » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:28 pm

ok ok, so here's our new plan.. head to chimney pond, if it looks good go up dudley and continue to hamlin. is cathedral trail that much better than dudley? i just think it would be nice to walk from east to west as much as possible in the morning with the sun at our backs. if we're behind schedule, short on time, weather is moving in, etc.. we can just bail down saddle and skip hamlin?
qwimjim

 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby Matt Worster » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:25 am

in my opinion, yes, Cathedral is that much better than Dudley. Now, having said that, it can't possibly live up to expectations. Dudley is boulder boulder boulder boudler Index Rock boulder boulder in my recollection.

In the end, you'll enjoy it no matter what if you are smart about weather, daylight, and clothing.
User Avatar
Matt Worster

 
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:08 pm
Location: Lafayette, California, United States
Thanked: 10 times in 5 posts

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby GEM Trail » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:38 pm

I agree with Matt. Obviously you can go any way you want. But in my view the best way...

1) I would definitely try to go via Chimney Pond. It is a truly special place, especially in the East. I would also recommend camping there. My daughter loved looking up at the mountain, looming seemingly on three sides from there, and rockhopping around. We also spotted a moose and watched him for a while.

2) I also think Cathedral is the much better way up. It is much more scenic, a natural climb, and more exposed. All of which makes it more exciting. Then you summit and do the Knife Edge. Awesome!
User Avatar
GEM Trail

 
Posts: 237
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:48 pm
Location: Flourtown, Pennsylvania, Pa, United States
Thanked: 14 times in 9 posts

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby qwimjim » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:01 pm

i wish we could stay at chimney pond as that looks to definitely the best place to camp unfortunately weekends seem to be booked solid weeks if not months in advance. we couldn't even find space at roaring brook for the weekend we're going. we'll be camping just outside the park at the penobscot outdoor center
qwimjim

 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Katahdin question, what route?

Postby qwimjim » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:06 pm

well it was a success! it took 4 hours to get to the top of baxter from roaring brook, we took the chimney pond trail and up cathedral. then over the knife ridge and down helon taylor for a 9 hour round trip. cathedral was a lot of fun on the way up, lots of scrambling.. but helon taylor was looong on the way down but the views were really nice looking down the ridge. i think anything would have felt long for the last two hours, especially after all the rock hopping on the knife edge. coming from baxter peak i was disappointed with the knife edge at first, its a pretty mellow ridge but it gets interesting near pamola peak and actually pretty technical. i'm surprised more people don't get hurt on it given how many people were on it this weekend, it could get quite tricky if it was wet/icy/windy.

next time i'll try to get a campground at chimney pond and go up dudley and down hamlin ridge. that seems like it would be a nice hike as well, on a clear day.

thanks for all the help!
qwimjim

 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post


Return to Eastern US (New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast)

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.