Friday, July 17, 2015

South Baldface (3570), North Baldface (3610)

STATE: New Hampshire
South Baldface
TOWN: Chatham, Beans Purchase
DESTINATION: South Baldface, North Baldface
ELEVATION: 3570 Ft., 3610 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: South Baldface = N44 13.853, W71 04.675
SUMMIT COORDINATES: North Baldface = N44 14.579, W71 05.224
TRAIL:Baldface Circle Trail clockwise, Bicknell Ridge Trail.
DISTANCE: 9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3070 Ft, 250 Ft
HIKING TIME: 4 Hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Mid-Summer
DATE: July 16, 2015
WEATHER: Bluebird day,sunny, clear, 55 Degrees

PARKING: Parking can be found 17 miles north on Rt 113 in Evans Notch. The parking lot is on the East side of the road approximately 200 Ft from the trail head. There is room for 15-20 cars with overflow parking available roadside.

USGS QUAD: USGS Chatham Quad

MAP: (South Baldface), (North Baldface)



DESCRIPTION: 

The Baldface loop can be hiked from either direction.  I chose the clockwise route ascending South Baldface and traversing the open ridge to North Baldface.  The trip is steep, strenuous and contains four miles of open ridge hiking fully exposed to the weather conditions.

From the parking area walk north on Rt 113 for 200 Ft. to the Baldface Circle Trail on the west side of the street. Follow the intermittent yellow blazes as the trail is rocky and relatively flat meandering through hardwoods 0.7 miles to Circle Junction.  A small unmarked side path (right) leads 0.1 miles to Emerald pool where you'll find a plethora of AMC Cold River Campers swimming in the stream.

Baldface Shelter
Turn left and after 0.1 miles you'll quickly encounter the Slippery Brook Trail junction. Continue right on the Baldface Circle trail and begin a moderately steep incline along a very old logging road passing the Chandler Gorge loop trail after 0.3 miles.  Continue ascending through hardwoods as you steadily increase elevation eventually becoming less steep as the trail follows a contour line to South Baldface Shelter at 2.7 miles.
There are several directional spur trails at the shelter. The Baldface Circle trail continues directly behind the shelter as it climbs a rocky slab soon reaching your first viewpoint of a steep rocky slab.  Here the trail increases in both steepness, difficulty and navigation up steep rocky slabs.  The trail is difficult to follow with small cairns leading the way.  You'll look for rocky outcroppings or scrub trees as hand holds as you steeply incline the nearly vertical trail.  The next 0.6 miles of the steep and arduous journey are the most difficult of this trip eventually leading to a false summit and the junction with the Baldface Knob Trail.  The South Baldface summit is an additional 0.6 miles across open terrain mixed with blueberry bushes and Mountain Laurel. Well Done! From the summit you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Carter Range, Mt. Washington and into Maine.
South Baldface from the Baldface Knob Trail Junction
The Baldface Circle trail descends towards North Baldface (look for the small cairns) dipping in and out of short cols with scrub trees and ascending onto open granite ridges full of glacial striations, scraping and pressure folds making me wish I knew more about geology. After a short and steep incline the North Baldface summit is reached after 1.2 miles.

Continue northeast descending steeply over granite slabs and through minor scrub sections 0.9 miles to the Bicknell Ridge trail along open ledges with excellent views into Evans Notch. After 1.1 miles the Eagle Cascade link exits left and the Bicknell Ridge trail enters the woods and turns to the east descending another 1.4 miles crossing a tributary of Charles brook and reaching the Baldface Circle trail junction.  The Baldface Circle trail angles away from the brook then returns and crosses shortly before Circle Junction and a quick. 0.7 mile trip back to the road.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Circle Junction 0.7 miles 0.7 miles
Circle Junction - Slippery Brook Junction 0.1 miles 0.8 miles
Slippery Brook Junction - South Baldface Shelter 1.7 miles 2.5 miles
South Baldface Shelter - Baldface Knob trail 0.7 miles 3.2 miles
Baldface Knob trail - South Baldface Summit 0.5 miles 3.7 miles
South Baldface Summit - North Baldface Summit 1.2 miles 4.9 miles
North Baldface Summit - Bicknell Ridge trail 0.9 miles 5.8 miles
Bicknell Ridge trail - Eagle Cascade link jct. 1.1 miles 6.9 miles
Eagle Cascade link jct. - Baldface Circle Trail jct 1.4 miles 8.3 miles
Baldface Circle trail jct - Circle Junction 0.7 miles 9.0 miles
Circle Junction - Parking 0.7 miles 9.7 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Circle Junction 15 minutes 15 minutes
Circle Junction - Slippery Brook Junction 5 minutes 20 minutes
Slippery Brook Junction - South Baldface Shelter 40 minutes 1 hour
South Baldface Shelter - Baldface Knob trail 30 minutes 1 hr 30 minutes
Baldface Knob trail - South Baldface Summit 20 minutes 1 hr 50 minutes
South Baldface Summit - North Baldface Summit 35 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
North Baldface Summit - Bicknell Ridge trail 25 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes
Bicknell Ridge trail - Eagle Cascade link jct. 30 minutes 3 hours 20 minutes
Eagle Cascade link jct. - Baldface Circle Trail jct 30 minutes 3 hours 50 minutes
Baldface Circle trail jct - Circle Junction 10 minutes 4 hours
Circle Junction - Parking 15 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Both South and North Baldface are on the list of 100 highest mountains in NH, 52 With a View list and YMCA Alpine Club list and NH prominence lists but don't attempt this hike just to check the two-fer off a list or two. The open slabs are the result of a 1903 fire and the loop over these peaks include panoramic sweeping vistas make the effort worth the trek.
South Baldface summit

North Baldface

Mt Washington and the Carter Range




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