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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Kearsarge North Mountain
Bartlett, NH, Chatham, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Kearsarge North Trail near the summit
Looking down the Kearsarge North Trail near the summit

Route: Kearsarge North Trail

For my second clean up hike after the great ice storm of December 2008, I decided to head up to Kearsarge North Mountain. With a forecasted clear day, I had a feeling the views would be spectacular.

The parking area was not plowed, resulting in some loud noises as my skid plate based through the firm icebank. Down low on the trail, the damage wasn't bad at all - I even toyed with turning around and heading south where trail maintenance would be needed more. Nevertheless, I continued on.

There was a bit more ice damage up high, but once again, nothing overly bad. Ascending, I picked up was laying loose on the trail, while descending I dealt with the more tricky stuff.

While the trail was mostly barebootable up to the col, the ledges below the summit tower were mostly covered in bulletproof ice (over snow). Once at the summit, I went into the tower, signed the log book, then went out to check out the scenery.

The views from the summit were tremendous - sparkling ice covered mountains to the south and other peaks to the west, north, and northeast as far as the eye could see. The white Presidentials and Franconias were particularly striking.

After taking some view photos, I decided to go back into the tower cab and have some lunch. After getting ready for the descent, I went to open the door, only to find out it was stuck shut! Since there was only a small latch to grab onto, I couldn't get the leverage necessary to break the ice seal that must have formed. I had two options - wait for someone else to show up or find some other way out. Fortunately, the windows open enough to allow a person to climb out - with some careful balancing, I was able to get out the window, then push the door open and retrieve my pack. I then used my multi tool to carefully chip the ice off the door jam, so that hopefully no subsequent visitors would suffer the same fate.

Though I was the first one to arrive at the summit in at least a day or two, the traffic on the trail picked up dramatically by the time I was about 2/3rds of the way down. While it was a nice hike, I was back to the trailhead before lunch - plenty of time left to do more trail cleanup! Time for Mt. Roberts!

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Kearsarge North Mountain
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Saturday, December 13, 2008
Hike Commenced: 8:23 AM
Parking Elevation: 685'
Destination: Kearsarge North Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 8:23 AM
Summit Reached: 9:53 AM
Time Elapsed: 01:30
Trailhead Elevation: 685'
Summit Elevation: 3,268'
Distance: 3.1 miles
Vertical Gain: 2,618'
Hike Ended: 11:47 AM
Hike Time Elapsed: 03:24
Hike Distance: 6.2 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 2,653'

Kearsarge North Trail trailhead on Hurricane Mountain Road
Kearsarge North Trail trailhead on Hurricane Mountain Road

Looking at Mt. Washington from the Kearsarge North Mountain fire tower - Click to enlarge
Looking at Mt. Washington from the Kearsarge North Mountain fire tower

Topographic map of Kearsarge North Mountain - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: On Route 16 North, take a right after North Conway onto Hurricane Mountain Road. The trailhead and small parking lot will be up the road on the left (before the fork in the road).

Back to Kearsarge North Mountain Profile

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