Cumberland County Highpoint Trip Report

one area on north ridge of Pleasant Mtn (1,880+ ft)

Date: January 14, 2005
Author: Dave Covill

I hate to add more reports to a lengthy list but this is pretty cool. As suggested by Spooky Mike, I attempted the peak in winter, via the ski lifts of the Shawnee Peak Ski Area, situated on the north flank of the north-south trending Pleasant Mountain. This cohp is a liner of sorts, where the Oxford-Cumberland line crosses the ridge. I agree with all others; there is a distinct hump about 100 feet north of the line, where the terrain rises perhaps 5 feet, with a bit of a rocky outcrop to denote the highpoint.

I called the ski area and spoke with Heather, the office manager, who turned me on to Ed Rock, ski area manager. I asked if I could purchase a one-way ride up, like we used to do 30 years ago, and explained my reason. He insisted I come up and he would not only offer me a ride up but also down -- and at no charge! Yee hah! County highpointing at its finest.

When I arrived, properly dressed for the snowy weather, with lots of extra equipment and safety gear, Ed was impressed and called his lift manager, Henry, to escort me to the lift. There are 4 lifts and the one main lift about 50 yards east of the lodge was the one which goes all the way to the top, around 1,760 feet as shown on the topo. I rode it up (10 minutes) and got off, each time they slowed it for me. I should note that it was about 50 degrees and lightly snowing at the bottom. The weather cleared as I ascended, and remained nice for the duration of my hike.

Once I disembarked from the lift, I put on my snowshoes and walked straight south into the woods, going downhill maybe 20 feet from the lift base. I immediately, perhaps 100 feet into the woods, encountered a trail going east-west along the base of the steep boulder slope which confronts you as you come south. Someone had said to try the path going west, so I did. It is a typical New England path, i.e. it meanders around trees, over outcrops, between rocks, etc. Due to the thaw, there was a lot of water flowing off the mountain and I would have been drenched if not properly outfitted. Soon the trail curved southwest and rose, made its way around the boulder slope, and wrapped back up above it to the south. Before long, I was standing on the path, on the ridge crest, precisely at the county line. The path was well-blazed in both directions by blue squares. I left it where it curved due south and up higher along the ridge crest and headed to the cohp. I have no doubt that this is the trail followed by my predecessors to the summit. I saw no cairns, registers, etc. I left a business card folded up in a piece of tree bark at eye level. Somebody, please bring a register can/bottle and stick it in there.

I descended the same icy route, followed the path to the east for a bit, and could tell that it did not cut back up to access the top of the ski area but rather descended the gully steeply downhill to the east. I would suggest following my same exact route and intersecting the path due south of the lift top.

Thanks to Ed, Henry, Heather, et al, my trip took about an hour total, if that, and I was able to easily bag this cohp. Total hiking time was about 14 min up, 10 down. It would be less in summer, although of course, the lifts might not be running. Gain from the lift is about 120 feet, plus about 20 feet on the return. Call the ski area at 207-647-8444.