This route appears in Selected Climbs in the Northeast
by S. Peter Lewis published by the Mountaineers.
Katahdin only appears in the literature about 60 years after the first ascent of Mount Washington. In his account of the years 1692-1696, the youthful captive, John Gyles, from York, Maine recounts his passage along the Penobscot River under the Teddon and how demons(Pamola-Gyles said Gullua in his account) and spirits prevent native Americans from approaching the mountain.
July 1983 III 5.5 2000 ft. One of the longest ridges in the east. One of my friends visited me in the summer of 1983 and I was kind of interested in doing some climbing in the South Basin of Katahdin. I was thinking about the routes directly to the South Peak as we packed our gear the night before. We crossed South Twin Lake before dawn and as we approached Partridge Cove I hoped that the racket of the outboard did not interrupt the slumber of the summer residents whose camps dot the shore. Driving through to Millinocket and beyond to Togue Pond Gatehouse consumed 25 miles before the bone shaking 8 mile ride from Togue Pond to Roaring Brook. We must have gotten there around 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. The hike up to Chimney Pond starts up the south side of Roaring Brook, the brook that empties, the Great Basin. Initially it is fairly gradual but eventfully is rockier and steeper climbing directly up obstacles instead of zig zaging. The paper birches lining the brook gave dappled shade in the early morning. Later as the trail steepened these become intermingled with more fir and spruce. At Basin Ponds 2 miles in, we could see the beginnings of the South Basin but most of it was still hidden by the shoulder of Pamola. These Ponds are rather large and would be lakes in Ohio but there they would have muddy water Skirting the ponds on our right the trail soon ascended steeply and the weight of our climbing gear became annoying. After a mile of this we arrived at Chimney Pond
Resting at Chimney Pond, we viewed the options before us. On the left was Pamola
and in front of us Knife Edge rising from 2000 to 2400 feet in front of us. We discussed the routes with the ranger who looked over our gear and we decided on the Pamola 4. This is so called because the route can finish on one of 4 ribs. Avoiding the large boulders on the south east side of the pond we went around the west side of the pond reaching the inlet after some bushwhacking. We kept walking up the drainage of the Chimney the large couloir separating Chimney Peak from Pamola. By the time we reached the base of the Italy shaped outwash it was around 10:00 and it seemed a bit tough to find the start of the route, so we ascended the Chimney passing the false Chimney coming in from the west(right). I knew from a previous climb that we were close to the base of the prominent triangular buttress which is the start of the route. What I didn’t know was that there was another rather deep couloir separating the Chimney from the base of the buttress. We were soon traversing out of the left side of the Chimney and were surprised to be on this rather thin steep ridge separating the two couloirs. It was somewhat rickety on top and we knocked down a rock and were a bit alarmed to hear the crashes as it dropped many hundred feet all the while we were un-roped. Carefully resuming our climbing leftward traverse we reached a good belay point. I got to relax and belay from this airy point having established a couple of pieces and a directional against upward force. Most of the force propelling us up was the thought of reversing the nasty class 4 stuff behind us. I got the second lead
and at this point the route was more committing for me. The protection was a bit sparse but everything was solid and despite some climbing activity on the buttress I do not recall fixed pins. We used a Chouinard 10.5 mm 150 foot rope and a good array of stoppers, hexes and Bill Forrest Titons (a T shaped camming competitor to hexes that preceded Friends). I carried a hammer and a couple of pins just in case but never felt compelled to use these. The bulge that I led was rather fun having a good view of Chimney Pond, Hamlin Peak and the rest of the cirque including the Armadillo (IV 5.7-9), the longest buttress climb in the area. The weather was favorable and no clouds were lowering on the peak, so we ran out a few more pitches up the ridge and broke for lunch on a fairly level area.
We decided to speed things up and just scrambled up some class 4 stuff on good rock. Later as the buttress steepened toward the summit of Pamola we roped up again finishing around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. The view from the summit of Pamola is hard to beat, In front of you the forest stretches forever and to your west the narrow Knife Edge
probably first climbed by the Rev. Marcus Keep in the 1840’s rises toward Baxter Peak 1.1. miles distant. Marcus Keep was ahead of his day and made additional trips On a subsequent trip he brought at least one lady parishioner, the first woman to reach the summit of Katadhin. Previous ascents had been from the southwest side, while Keep’s forward looking climb was from the east. We descended Keeps namesake ridge for a couple of hours reaching Roaring Brook and then McDonalds’ in Millinocket in the early evening and camp by early night-fall with a good moon on the water.
The upper part of the triangular buttress viewed from across the Chimney
No comments posted yet.