|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Katahdin - Hamlin Peak (attempt), Mt. Katahdin - Baxter Peak (attempt), ME|
||Chimney Pond Trail, North Basin Trail, Hamlin Ridge Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, February 24, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Ice - Blue, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow/Ice - Postholes |
||Snowshoes, Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
|Lost and Found:
||As I reached the cutoff for North Basin trail, someone on the Chimney Pond was heading to RB. He said 4 people including him, climbed Hamlin Ridge yesterday (Sunday), all using crampons. Said it was a 4 hour round trip - no wind of course. After getting of the solid Chimney Pond trail, the North Basin trail was a wreck of post-holed footprints and completely unconsolidated. With my snowshoes I proceeded through the mush-mash of crampon footprints. My snowshoes had no impact on consolidating the post-holed footprint trail. Virtually no wind below tree-line, but as I entered above tree-line, were it is just rocks, snow and ice, winds became apparent and picked up. Steady 30 mph winds from the south coerced through the ridge with alternating pounding gusts. Sometimes you had to steady yourself on the exposed ridge with the higher gusts of wind. I looked up at the very top of the ridge, and saw a potential problem. Large billowing waves of loose snow were furiously ripping and roaring off the top of the ridge, blowing in a straight line that eventually fell and dispersed and disappeared into the deep abyss of the ravine below –it's like the stuff you see on National Geographic. Halfway up the ridge I switched to crampons. The winds kept getting stronger and more intense with more elevation. (I admit that I was a complete spaz on putting my strapped-on crampons, and by the time I was done, my hands were frozen.)|
As I continued up, the winds kept getting stronger, along with the ever increasing and pounding intermittent gusts. As I got very close to the top, I had to take shelter against a large rock. I was on the windward side were there was a wind carved scoop of snow at the bottom, and dropped a couple feet down and braced against the rock, but still was completely exposed . I was slightly off to the left of the trail going up, I looked above and could see the last blue blazed marker on a rock above, maybe about 100-150 feet away, right where the top ridge was. Right pass this blue blaze, the trail is precipitous close the edge of the ridge (about 10-15'), where it drops off into the ravine.
I watched the relentlessly raging force of the wind-blown snow soaring off the peak. The winds were absolutely insane - hurricane force gusts every so often.
Trying to traverse this very short stretch heading towards the peak could be very serious to your health. The possibility of being blown and thrown off the mountain was real …. Abort.
Once again, the Katahdin weather gods win the day and I will climb another time.
Punched in my GPS, and was at 4,694' and about .15 miles from Hamlin's peak.
Great to be outside.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.