Piscataquis County Highpoint Trip Report

Katahdin (5,268 feet)

Date: June 5, 2008
Author: Adam Helman

This effort was part of a larger journey collecting state, national park, and Canadian provincial highpoints in June 2008.

Snowmelt during June created slippery conditions on routes from the northeast. Park officials closed them, leaving only the Abol and Katahdin Stream Routes (from the southwest) open for summit hikers. I take the latter route, the famous Knife Edge awaiting a future visit.

Katahdin is the jewel experience of my week in New England, featuring far more bouldering than anticipated. Indeed, for several hundred vertical feet on the Katahdin Steam Route one is treated to an assortment of moves requiring both hands and feet for progress. One then tops-out the ridge onto a high tundra plain and ambles to the summit some 1 1/2 miles distant.

It is important to follow the blazes for making progress amongst the boulders. There are a pair of metal supports bolted into the rock at one point - and they are used as handholds during both ascent and descent.

I encounter a group of boys (cub scouts?) at this boulderly section on ascent. Being some dozen in number they are slow to make progress; and gladly allow me to pass them.

At the summit I talk a good forty-five minutes with one park ranger, sharing stories about this-and-that outdoor experience.

I descend the tundra plain, passing the boys as they wait patiently a mere five minutes from the top for their two adult leaders (one being literally obese).

Climb statistics: 3 3/4 hours ascent; 45 minutes at summit; 3 1/4 hours descent.