Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mount Adams via King Ravine

A day of perfect weather was on the way and I was looking for an exciting and challenging hike without the Labor Day weekend crowds. I found one with fellow hikers Brian and Jill. The plan was to hike up King Ravine to Mount Adams and then over to Mount Madison and down the Daniel Webster Trail to Dolly Copp where a car spot would be waiting. Our plan would change.

There was some early morning fog and clouds across the high summits. We all met at Dolly Copp campground and took one car over to the Appalachia trailhead parking area. The lot was already full when we got there but there was one spot on Route 2 right beside the parking area. We geared up and began our hike.

We started on the Air Line Trail then veered off onto the Short Line Trail. It was a very gradual climb and a good warm-up before the steep climbing started. Short Line continued right into the King Ravine Trail at Mossy Fall. It was just past here that the steep rocky climb began.

At the next trail junction we had some choices of which way to go and it was decision time. We could go straight up the Chemin Des Dames trail, continue straight  on the King Ravine Trail, or make a short detour through the Subway that would bring us back onto the King Ravine Trail. We chose the Subway for some fun and a challenge.

The Subway is 220 yards of a series of boulder caves that require the removal of backpacks in some spots in order to wriggle through the opening. We dropped down into the Subway and had to pay close attention to the blazes that would guide us through the maze of huge boulders. As we went further into the Subway the backpacks finally had to come off as the openings got very small and it would have been impossible to get through without removing them. We passed the backpacks off to each other then squeezed through. It was a lot of fun but very tiring and there was some tough hiking and climbing ahead of us. We decided to bypass the Ice Caves and save them for another hike.

We came out of the Subway with some skinned knees but otherwise intact and ready to tackle the next challenge. We didn't have to wait long as the steep climb up the exposed ravine was about to begin. The trekking poles had been stowed on the backpacks and the climb from here required handholds, it was a total body workout as we made our way up. The steep climb and rocks were relentless.

It was a slow go as we carefully picked our way up the ravine. We occasionally stopped to take in the beautiful surrounding scenery and to catch our breath. We continued to slowly pick and climb toward the top of the headwall. One final push beside an almost vertical slab of granite and we stepped up onto the top of King Ravine with the peak of Mount Madison in front of us. Although tired it was a great feeling to be standing there looking back down.

We were not done. It was another 0.6 mile to the summit of Mount Adams. This was easier after what we had just climbed. Up ahead I could see the crowd on the summit. There were many other hikers on the trail coming and going. We reached the summit and took a well deserved break. There were photos to take, my usual summit panoramic video and some food for energy to continue the hike.

After the break we started our one mile descent to Madison Hut. It was at the hut that we decided not to go on to Mount Madison. King Ravine had taken a lot of effort and Brian was planning on hiking the Bigelow Range tomorrow. We departed the hut and made our descent on the Valley Way trail returning to Appalachia.

Today's hike was all of the challenge and fun that I had anticipated. It was a team effort getting through the Subway with lots of humor and laughter helping us up and over King Ravine, an awesome day for this hiking adventure!

Enjoy the pics!

Sunrise on the drive to the hike


 Brian standing underneath a widowmaker

 Some sort of mushroom

Cold Brook

 Mossy Fall

 The climbing begins

 Multi-colored mushroom

 Zooming in on Crag Cabin from the King Ravine Trail

 So many choices

 Looking up the ravine

 Jill dropping down into the Subway

 Jill popping out of the first cave

 Brian emerges from the first cave

 An arrow marks the way through a boulder cave

 Low bending through the boulders

 We removed our packs through this section

 Coming out of the Subway

Ascending the ravine under full sunshine

 We bypassed the Ice Caves

 View from the lower ravine

 Brian boulder scrambling

 Hikers high up on Durand Ridge

 Jill and Brian make their way around a big boulder

 Making good progress up the ravine

 Rock scrambling

 Jill admiring the view to the top of the ravine

 Dog profile

 Durand Ridge

 The rock scramble continues

 Looking up at the headwall

 We came from way down below there

 Stopping for a well needed break

 Enjoying the view from King Ravine

 Looking straight up

 Last push to the top of the headwall on King Ravine

 A view of Mount Madison as we climb to the top of King Ravine 

 Madison Hut below Mount Madison

 On the way to Mount Adams

Looking across the Great Gulf Wilderness to Mount Washington

 A busy Mount Washington summit

 Wildcat Ski area

 On the summit of Mount Adams

 Enjoying the view from Mount Adams

A zoomed shot of Brian and Jill coming down from Mount Adams as I wait at Madison Hut

 View from Madison Hut

It's all downhill from here

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

No comments:

Post a Comment