Sleds to Abol Campground, blessed with bluebird sky. Forecast said like -22F windchill at the summit, but really wasn't bad.
Cathedral up, Knife Edge down. Great views until about 300' from the top. Saw a black bear and cub on the way down!
*NOTE* - This is my first post on here. I may get carried away, but we'll see! - I'm not a mountaineer, I am a hiker. - My son is a long distance hiker, and we're heading Out West in a couple months. - We want to at least bag one significant summit (around Yellowstone). - So far on the east coast, I've only done Katahdin and Blood Mountain.
I had just flown into Bangor, rented a car and drove to Millinocket to meet up with my son as he was completing his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. - We picked him up at Abol Bridge Campground Store and stayed the night back in Millinocket. - The next morning, we dropped him and a few of his fellow thru-hikers off right back at the Abol Bridge so they could complete their hike without missing a mile. - We drove into Baxter State park to the "Abol" Trailhead where I began my own hike. - I had a good 10+ miles head start on my son and his crew. - I'm 55 at this time, had't been working out in a few years, haven't done any "real" hiking in several years. - But from a distance, Mt. Katahdin isn't intimidating at all. - Matter of fact, it's rather unassuming. - Looked like a big hill to me. - Until i was got above the tree line! - Quite a bit of bouldering and using your full body. - Also the psychological game of false summits ways heavy on your fortitude! - I was determined however, but just after my last "false summit", that crew I had a 10 mile head start on had just passed me up and I still had a mile to go for the summit!! - (They had been doing this daily for over 6 months!) - This was my first hike in years. - (And they were all 20-something!!) - None the less, I made it to the top, celebrated with some picture taking, chatting, and just hanging out. - I had brought an airplane bottle of Jack Daniels with me to celebrate with, but it stayed in my pack. - All I wanted was water! - When it was time to descend we chose the Hunt Trail for our trip down. - I was doing fine until we got back down into the trees. - That's another psychological game. - Getting through and out of the trees, as they begin to feel like they are just closing in on you. - My legs began to fail me with about 2-3 miles to go. - My son made me use his trekking poles and I was determined to finish unassisted, (except for the poles). - We mad it back to the parking lot in just under 12 hours I suppose. - According to the trail maps for Baxter State park, the Abol Trail up and the Hunt Trail down totals 9.2 miles. - Anything above the tree line is pretty much bouldering until you get to about a mile before / below the summit. - My wife went shopping and set up "trail magic" in the parking lot, where she had been feeding the hikers both going up and coming down. - She had plenty of food, water, beer, and a some Captain Morgan that a lot of the hikers appreciated and it was cool to get back to the parking lot!
Favorite highpoint so far (I'm at 20 as of writing, most of the Eastern U.S. mountain). Phenomenal views, awesome steep terrain and the mile of the Knife's Edge is outstanding and challenging. Certainly one of the prettiest locations in the East.
Made some videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCxQb_V03jc
Mosquito barrage at the TH was intense. Very nice little climb, and enjoyed the views and the general area. Would be fun to do the traverse from the other direction if I had a chance to come back.
Loved this hike. Took the hunt trail up on a foggy day. Views were limited but enjoyed the boulder style climbing.
One cannot underestimate the difficulty of Climbing this massif. Though the topout Portion is underwhelming until you see the glaciated E/NE slope, the Abol ascent and Hunt descent are long and seriously intense class 4 routes and too many people are there who are not exactly prepared. We probably had the best weather day we could have expected, just sweaty.
Abol route, in the clouds
Made a cirque hike out of it, up Helon/Knife down to saddle, up to Hamlin down Hamlin ridge. 11.2 miles over 4000 vertical gain. Not crowded. Baxter rules are a pain, but they sure do make the hike more enjoyable by not allowing crowds.
Didn't do nearly as much research as I usually do for peaks, expecting that there would be detailed maps at the trailhead showing the different route options (there aren't). Also expected that there would be a pump to fill up bottles/bladders at Roaring Brook since it's a campground (there isn't) and it definitely slowed us down having to filter water from the stream before starting. But, hit the trail at about 8am, made it up to Pamola by about 11 with some food and photo stops, and a slow climb up the Knife Edge (descent from Pamola and up Chimney seems like class III+ to me) - about 4.25hrs to summit minus the food stops.
Spent about an hour at the summit, and took the Saddle Trail down since it sounded easier than Cathedral, but it's by no means easy! Steep and loose along the gully at the top, and then just a lot of rocks. Big rocks, small rocks, not too many loose rocks, but rocks rocks rocks. Any bits of actual dirt trail were rare. Got to Chimney Pond, had to break to filter more water and eat, and took on the long final 3.3-mile slog back to Roaring Brook, which was more rocks rocks rocks.
As someone from the west, I'm used to many approach trails being mixed dirt and rock and fairly quick to blaze through. But this...even the flatter sections down from Chimney were like walking on a dry stream bed. The miles are long and the footing takes focus. Got back to the car at 5:30, and the final consensus was that while we were definitely not expecting it to be that hard, we were perfectly prepared for it what with prior experience/poles/climbing gloves/water filter etc. Final description can be summed up as rocks rocks rocks rocks summit rocks rocks rocks.
Reserved site at Abol Campground. Went up Abol trail. Lower part of trail was in great shape. We were surprised how sustained the scrambling was above treeline. Thought coming down Hunt, the AT would be easier. It wasn't! Just as much if not more scrambling. The trail was more eroded below treeline. The bugs were obnoxious at the trailhead. There was no relaxing afterwards. Just fleeing from the onslaught.
Made it to the summit and then chased by storms on the descent.
Very tough for a day hike, especially if you take Cathedral route which has some scary scrambling to it. Do not recommend this route for anyone that has no familiarity with rock climbing; instead take the saddle route.
Great day with great friends. Climbed the Armadillo with Cletus and Alex. Was pretty chilly in the morning, but it warmed up enough after the first pitch and soon we were on the summit. State highpoint #37. No wind, clear skies, perfect. A long awaited outing. 9 hrs 45 mins car to car from Roaring Brook.
First summit in 2011 was prior to new mandatory permit regulations, 2nd summit was on 7/18/2017 during my thru of AT and I needed permit, horrible camping situation if you didn't reserve way ahead
Definitely one of my favourite hikes of all times, will be going back! [Approximate Date]
Date approximate. Joined Arlene Blum and two others. The park requirements for climbing were horrendous (requiring a physician's certificate like the old requirements for climbing Denali in Alaska).
Went up the Hunt Trail, down Abol. This was the conclusion of hiking the 100 Mile Wilderness for us, and what a conclusion it was. The only clouds we saw on the way up were condensing above the peak itself, like the ancient volcano that it isn't. Views from the top were unforgettable. We brought coats and raingear - should have brought sunscreen.