Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mt. Lowell (3720 Ft.) and Mt. Anderson (3720 Ft.)

Mt. Lowell from the Carrigan Notch trail
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Livermore NH
DESTINATION: Mt. Lowell / Mt. Anderson
ELEVATION: 3720 Ft. / 3720 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 06.216, W71 25.092 / N44 06.749, W71 25.069
TRAIL: Signal Ridge Trail, Carrigan Notch Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.15 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2350 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 6 Hour 45 minutes
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 24, 2015
WEATHER: 40 Degrees, sunny, clear, windy

PARKING: Parking can be found 2 miles down Sawyer River Rd at the Signal Ridge Trail head.  There is room for 25-30 cars in the lot and additional roadside parking is available.

USGS QUAD: Mt. Carrigan Quadangle

MAP: (Mt. Lowell) (Mt. Anderson)




DESCRIPTION: 

This was my first trip back to the Signal Ridge Trail since the winter of 2010 and the first section (approximately 0.5 miles) has been relocated to the west side of Whiteface Brook and avoids the first brook crossing.  The rooty trail meanders through hardwoods and glacial erratics before returning to Whiteface brook and the original Signal Ridge Trail. The Signal Ridge trail follows an old logging road along very gradual inclines making for easy walking 1.6 miles to a crossing of Whiteface Brook reaching the Carrigan Notch Trail at 1.7 miles. The incline of the Carrigan Notch Trail remains very gradual however is much less trodden due to most hikers following Signal Ridge to Mt. Carrigan.  the 2.3 mile trail transitions through hardwood, fir and back to hardwood trees reaching Vose Spur rock (N44 05.862, W71 25.479) after 1.5 miles.  The 'trail' to vose spur is another 50 Ft. past the rock. The Carrigan Notch trail begins a slight incline reaching the height of land and Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary 0.75 miles from Vose Spur Rock and 4 miles from the trail head.

Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary sign
I was hoping to find a strategic and easy entrance from the Carrigan Notch trail to commence the bushwhack however never did. I entered the woods at a less thick section approximately 0.2 miles North from the height of land. The woods were thick and heavy making progress very slow.  I'm typically good at finding the path of least resistance however really struggled during this whack.  My intention was to hike due East to the col between Anderson & Lowell but the trees kept pushing me to the right and towards Mt. Lowell. The conditions were challenging ranging between thick, heavy and impenetrable dense live fir trees to thick, heavy and impenetrable dense dead fir trees.  The live trees were so thick it felt like people pushing against me every step of the way. I couldn't see my footing and took several blow downs to the shins and thighs. At one point I lost my footing and tripped but never fell due to the density of the tree branches holding me in place.  Hiking through the dead fir trees was worse causing scratches and puncture wounds all over my hands and arms.  I felt like a human spruce plow ducking my head, closing my eyes and taking 3 steps forward.  Repeat for 0.7 miles and 90 minutes to the summit of Mt. Lowell.  The most recent register entry was from Jan 2015.

I descended a different route along the eastern side of Mt. Lowell heading back to the col. Descent was very steep with many cliff bands and still containing thick fir.  After reaching the col I was completely spent with my energy drained. I decided to call it a day and leave Mt. Anderson as a dangler that I would attempt from the Nancy Pond side.  As I began my descent through the col I was getting closer and closer to Mt. Anderson.  At 0.19 miles to the Mt. Anderson summit (Yes, I used the GPS) I decided that the summit was too close to pass up.  The ascent was steeper and thicker than Mt. Lowell and I fought the firs every step of the way.  The 0.65 mile whack from the Lowell summit to the Anderson summit took 80 minutes.   The same group of January hikers were the last entries in the summit register.

I attempted a more direct descent from Mt. Anderson hoping to find thinner tree cover.  Due to the heavy tree density I almost walked off a 30-40 foot drop. The cliff significantly impeded my progress and dropped my already low morale.  I back tracked parallel to the horrible route I ascended and never found easy terrain finally reaching the Carrigan Notch trail approximately 0.1 mile to the North of my entry point.  2 miles of bushwhacking returning to the trail 4 hours after entering the woods.

I was drained of energy and enjoyed the non-technical return along the gradual Carrigan Notch and Signal Ridge trails on my spaghetti legs.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Signal Ridge trail jct. 1.7 Mi. 1.7 Mi.
Carrigan Notch Trail - Pemigewasset wilderness boundary 2.3 Mi. 4.0 Mi.
Pemigewasset wilderness boundary - Start of bushwhack 0.25 Mi. 4.25 Mi.
Start of bushwhack - Mt. Lowell 0.7 Mi. 4.9 Mi.
Mt. Lowell - Mt. Anderson 0.65 Mi. 5.55 Mi.
Mt. Anderson - Carrigan Notch trail 0.6 Mi. 6.15 Mi.
Carrigan Notch trail - Pemi. Wilderness boundary 0.35 Mi. 6.5 Mi.
Pemi. Wilderness boundary - Signal Ridge trail 2.3 Mi. 8.8 Mi.
Signal Ridge trail - Parking 1.7 Mi. 10.5 Mi.

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Signal Ridge trail jct. 40 min 40 min
Carrigan Notch Trail - Pemigewasset wilderness boundary 45 min 1 Hr 25 min
Pemigewasset wilderness boundary - Start of bushwhack 10 min 1 Hr 35 min
Start of bushwhack - Mt. Lowell 1 Hr 40 min 3 Hr 15 min
Mt. Lowell - Mt. Anderson 1 Hr 15 min 4 Hr 30 min
Mt. Anderson - Carrigan Notch trail 1 hr 10 min 5 hr 40 min
Carrigan Notch trail - Pemi. Wilderness boundary 7 min 5 hr 47 min
Pemi. Wilderness boundary - Signal Ridge trail 43 min 6 Hr 30 min
Signal Ridge trail - Parking 45 min 7 Hr 15 min

NOTES / COMMENTS:

It's been a couple years since my last bushwhack and I found myself with a free day on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  I decided to finish off the last 2 mountains above 3700 Ft. in NH that I haven't climbed.  These two mountains kicked my butt, I'm battered, bruised, sore and exhausted but feel really proud for my perseverance and the accomplishment.




No comments:

Post a Comment