View Full Version : Trail conditions up north for this Weekend.
08-05-2010, 10:26 AM
Has anyone been hiking at all this week up in the Crawford Notch area? I was planning on re-attempting Webster and Jackson this weekend because it is supposed to be beautiful weather, but then I came across the article below. As you may have read in a previous posting, our last trip was cut short due to brooks that were out of control. Does anyone know how long it takes these brooks to subside to a manageable flow (a day of good weather, maybe two days). I would think they drain off the mountains pretty quickly, but have no idea. BTW, I write this looking out my office window at the RAIN!
Any help would be appreciated!
I hope the guy mentioned below will be OK.
HART'S LOCATION, NH -- A New Hampshire man suffered serious injuries after falling about 60 feet down a slippery slab near a waterfall in the White Mountain National Forest.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said 24-year-old Devin Arn of Twin Mountain was hiking alone near the falls Wednesday afternoon when he lost his footing and slid down a wet rock face.
Five camp counselors between the ages of 18 and 22 witnessed the fall. Authorities said they saved him from falling down a second waterfall and called 911 for help.
Other volunteers set up a pulley system to get Arn off the mountain. He was airlifted to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, where he was listed in serious condition.
08-05-2010, 10:39 AM
You can check the water flow in most of the major rivers in NH here (http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=gyx&gage=plmn3&view=1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1):
Water crossings can be just as tricky in low water. Wet rocks, moss, algae, whatever... we found that having at least one trekking pole helps immeasurably when making water crossings. Even if there is only one pole in a group it can be passed or used to pull people across who just want something to grab.
I don't know more about the incident than what you print, but there are several such incidents a year. Someone died in Tuck's this summer trying to get near the waterfalls.
For up to the day trail conditions check here (http://www.newenglandtrailconditions.com/):
And here (http://trailsnh.com/):
08-05-2010, 12:57 PM
I've never been to these trail condition websites before and I am amazed at how up to date they are. The TrailsNH one is pretty useful to with how it interacts with the map. These will be extremely useful to me in the future, for sure.
08-06-2010, 08:04 AM
Generally the most up to date trail conditions can be found on http://www.newenglandtrailconditions.com/. Many folks posting there now and you can almost always find something recent from the popular trails (and a lot of the less popular ones as well). There shouldn't be any dangerous stream crossings doing Webster-Jackson this weekend I wouldn't think. We've hiked that loop several times and I honestly can't recall the spot where you had the high water on your last attempt. There are several crossings but none of them have been memorable as far as concern about getting across. The thing about mountain streams is that they can really swell quickly when there has been significant rain even for a few hours (as you apparently discovered last time). I'm curious if you tried doing any bushwhacking up/down the brook last time to find a safer spot to cross. I'm sure you made the right decision - better safe. Hope things go better this weekend. The weather looks spectacular and that's a great hike!
08-06-2010, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the trail description as you have seen it. It is more helpful than the AMC guide lets on. Some of the reason we turned back last time was due to the high, crazy running brook, and partly because I'm a wimp in situations like that. I'm sure other people got across that day. We did bushwack up and down stream and we couldn't find any place any better than the trail crossing location. Some of the intimidation for me was that we passed the falls of Flume Cascade and Silver Cascade (north of 302) on the way to the trailhead...and I could just picture myself getting swept down there or something. I'm optimistic that tomorrow will not produce the same flow of water.
On another note, and off topic, I was looking at your Precipice trail report from Acadia in 2009. Looked like a really great hike. We just did The Beehive which was neat, but I'm guessing was much easier than the Precipice. What would you say the level of difficulty was on the Precipice compared to The Beehive, if you don't mind me asking?
Karl, I did N Kearsarge this morning and found a couple of spots with some water on the open rocks. But, most of that was gone as the temp went up around noon. We have not had a lot of rain - but, have had some storms roll through. Nothing major that I can recall.
08-06-2010, 10:36 PM
I'm not Mark, but I'll chime in here anyway.
Up Precipice , over the Champlain summit, down to the Tarn, then up over Beehive and down to Sand Beach used to be one of my favorite Acadia haunts.
"Beehive" is a short burst of " wow" iron ladder "UP/DOWN" exposure with fabulous views and fun. Sand Beach side has the views, the Tarn, pond on the backside is arguably one of the top 10 sheltered and warm sunning and lunch spots on the eastern side of MDI. Its a morning or afternoon ( half day in and out ) romp, kids 8 -10 can do it as long as you trust their attention span, ability to take direction, skill with monkey bars on a playground, AND have enough adults in the party to provide close supervision fore and aft.
Precipice is a much longer, more varied, more intense experience, in some places requiring leg reach, arm reach and upper/lower body strength beyond the range of school playground stuff. The lower approach is a tough rocky sometimes unstable scree slope with some boulder scrambles and crawl throughs ( think Mahoosucs on a smaller scale). Just beyond that ( now a mile in) at the woods line is a handy "qualifier" for leg length, reach, body strength. If you have to boost or lift any member of the party there, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the trip. As you climb up, you traverse back and forth across the face of Precipice Cliffs with some short woods scrambles that immediately become narrow ( 12" tread way) open ledges that are completely exposed on the down side except for an iron bar/toe rail extending 2" ( inches) up from the ledge. Supposed to give you confidence that your outside foot won't slip, but no hand holds. Not the place for OMG, a large pack that might overbalance, or any quick move to grab another person for stability.
As one gets higher up, the traverses are shorter and shorter, a few steps left or right on those same narrow ledges with a barely toe rail, and now you really want to be able to grab ladder rungs ( long arm reaches ) for hand holds or hug rock because there is literally NOTHING behind you or below you but a freaking long vertical rock face cliff drop and one of the most awesome long ocean views on the East Coast. AND you are +/- 3 hours into it thinking about the way down.
I once climbed this with a friend who was home on leave after 82'nd Airborne Drop school. He was in front of me on the upper ladders and my head hit his boots. I thought he was taking pictures so I dropped down a rung below his feet, got out my camera, took a few pics of my own and had a slug of cold water. " Ready Up Robbie??" silence. " Robbie, UP! LETS GO! "
He couldn't at that moment go up or down. In his head , he was stuck. Paralyzed. Not moving arm nor leg, not trusting himself to move.
There is no going around, up there. There is no passing or climbing through at that point. What to do when you are 5'3 " 115 lbs of girl/chick and stuck on the ladders of Precipice Trail behind an 82'd Airborne Ranger?????
Get close enough to whack him in the ass and swear like a DI. WTF he was used to it by then
My Brother was introducing his 2 kids to hiking/climbing at the time. Brother had a history of advanced technical climbing in the Shawangunks, Yellowstone and Tetons, certainly well capable himself because Precipice is not a rated technical climb.
His kids were 10 and 11, not of tall stature, and the kids wanted to " go with auntie".
Brother believed me. Uh, they aren't tall enough Bro, its a long scramble in parts and there isn't leverage, or vantage for belay stations, I DON'T DO BELAY No I'm not taking them with me.
Beehive is an approachable 5-6 non tech scramble with a lovely reward on the back side. Precipice is a solid 10 non tech verticlal climb but you can't put a step wrong, don't climb when wet, take no chances. You can love the Beehive for a long time with a family group including kids because it is monkey bars IMHO, but Precipice is a big step beyond MONKEY BARS and demands full respect..
08-10-2010, 04:04 PM
Thanks for the awesome description. This has helped immensely. Now I just have to decide if I dare or not.
08-11-2010, 07:46 AM
Seems that I've been away from the forums a few days so didn't get back to this thread. I couldn't have done a better job in describing the Precipice than Sue did though. This is definitely a place where your reaction to the conditions is very individual. We had done the Beehive 3-4 times before I got the nerve to do the Precipice last summer. I have a pretty intense fear of heights and the first couple of times on the Beehive were actually really tough for me.
First time I got to the section with the iron grate over the gap in the ledge - stood there staring at it for 5 minutes - and then headed back down. We stopped a little way down, thought about it some more and then went back up. That time I sat down and slid across on my butt and the rest of the way up I was OK. The next year I had one of those "freeze" moments that Sue described. It was on one of the stretches with narrow trail, rock face on the left, sheer drop o the right and nothing to hold on to. I started hyperventilating and actually just sat down for about 10 minutes, unable to get the nerve up to move. Once I started again I was fine. Each time since then has been easier. What I discovered is that my fear of heights is directly related to my ability to have something to hang on to. I have no problems on the sections with iron rungs and railings and am even OK on the steep scrambles up. Walking a narrow ledge with no handhold is another matter. Which brings me to the Precipice...
Interestingly I had no problem on the Precipice at all with the exception of one spot. That was a section about 1/2 way up where there is a short section of ledge with the wall left, sheer drop right profile. There is one of the iron bars across the outside edge to brace your foot on but as Sue said it doesn't look all that comforting. The ledge was actually reasonably wide at that point but the 1/2 next to the wall was wet and I didn't feel comfortable walking on that and stayed on the dry part - next to the drop. It actually wasn't as bad as it sounds and in 10 seconds I was across. Everywhere else on the entire route I felt secure with the rails, rungs or rocks to hang on to in the steep exposed spots. Bottom line is that I had more fun on that hike that just about anything I've ever done. Can't wait for the chance to get back and do it again. Like I said though, all a matter of what works for you in these kinds of situations.
08-11-2010, 10:07 AM
Thanks for the good words, gents. Karl, some folks are OK going up Precipice but not down, and the North Ridge Trail is definitely an option in either direction.
Acadia rock scrambles are NASTY when wet. It definitely pays to be picky about conditions.
08-11-2010, 10:42 AM
Thanks Mark and Sue, both
I'm not sure if I'm ready for the Precipice or not yet! It sounds like a lot of fun, but I certainly don't want to freeze. The Beehive honestly didn't make me that nervous at all. But the Precipice sounds a bit more intense. Time will tell if I do this one next year on our trip to Bar Harbor. I can say that I would never attempt it in the wet weather. I have a difficult enough time with steep rock scambles and slabs...and wet ones scare me half to death. I did the Holt up Cardigan in wet weather and almost got stuck on that...NEVER AGAIN!
Again, thanks a bunch guys. I appreciate it.
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