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Thread: Katahdin bushwhack regs

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    Katahdin bushwhack regs

    What rules, if any, does Baxter State Park have regarding *bushwhack* ascents of Katahdin? Are the rules in writing? Are they on the park website? Are there rules about parking outside the standard car parks? Would bushwhacking the mountain allow you to avoid daily limits imposed on trail hikers?

    Also, would anyone care to share their experience bushwhacking the mountain in recent years.
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    https://baxterstatepark.org/rules-and-permits/

    Not sure why anyone would want to bushwack up there unless they are a masochist. Generrally, I believe bushwacking in the Summer is discouraged, if not outright forbidden. Deep Winter isnt as much of a problem since everything is covered with snow and its easier to go off trail without creating herd paths.
    Last edited by egilbe; 12-17-2017 at 09:37 AM.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    I seem to remember a post here a few years back about someone wanting to bushwhack in Winter and having to submit a detailed plan to the park staff of exactly what they were planning to do in case they had to be rescued and then ultimately having their plan declined for safety reasons. Hopefully they are still on here and can comment on the process. I'm pretty sure bushwhacking in Summer is also not allowed. I remember wanting to bushwhack around Basin Ponds to Depot pond and then finding something in the rules about this not being allowed. I don't recall if it was just that specific area or the entire park.

    Considering the travel involved and regulations to get to Baxter the best thing to do would probably be to call Baxter directly. It's a long ride to get truned away for breaking the rules.
    Last edited by DayTrip; 12-17-2017 at 09:50 AM. Reason: Added context
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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanbu View Post
    ...Would bushwhacking the mountain allow you to avoid daily limits imposed on trail hikers?.
    I doubt it. The limits are set to avoid crowding on the summit, not the trails.

    As far as a winter whack goes, it's a big hump to just get near Baxter peak on roads/trails! But, there's always Fort (NE 100).

    cb
    Last edited by ChrisB; 12-17-2017 at 10:41 AM.
    How many 4Ks in the NE100?
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    There is no good reason why anyone would need to bushwhack to head up Katahdin during summer season. The limits are not on the number of hikers that can climb the mountain, the only limit is how many cars can park at the three trail head parking lots. If you dont mind walking a bit farther along the road, there are a few other trail heads that you can park at and still climb the mountain. Its just a extra couple of miles of road walking, the park really doesnt encourage it but its legal.

    That said unless the rules have changed, bushwhacking is legal in the park as long as its as a dayhike. The rules are you have to camp at a designated site every night. You also need to discuss your plans with a ranger the night before and they have the right to have you modify the plan. I find the rangers quite reasonable, they mostly want to ensure that you arent clueless, have basic gear and capable of making your way out.

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    The best, and probably only viable, routes to the summit are already mapped out and have trails on them. There is also the Fragile Alpine Zone factor. BSP doesnt want anyone trampling the vegetation above treeline. Some of those plants take years to recover after someone inconsiderate has stepped on them. Some of the plants growing up there are exceedingly rare in the Northeast. The undergrowth is very thick, almost an impenetrable wall.

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    As long as we are talking about whacking in Baxter, has anyone ever whacked down to Klondike Pond? This would be outside of Winter.

    https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=45.9...779&z=15&b=mbt
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    I have not done it. I have read of people doing it long ago. I have seen references to a path down to the pond which is supposed to be visible from the Northwest Basin trail. If its there it was not visible the times I was hiking past. Practically anyone who were to visit it would pretty much need to be camping at Davis pond as its not readily accessible from any other campsite in the park. Definitely an early July visit when there are long days.

    I am tempted to visit Traveler Pond from the monument side with a visit to South Traveler.

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    "Not sure why anyone would want to bushwack up there unless they are a masochist."

    Bushwhackers are masochists by definition. Some of my best friends are bushwhackers.
    散步 Sanbu

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    "The best, and probably only viable, routes to the summit are already mapped out and have trails on them. There is also the Fragile Alpine Zone factor."

    People have many different motivations, bushwhackers the same.

    Some want to experience what Thoreau and other early ascensionists experienced when they traveled without trail. Others set before themselves a goal considered eccentric by the majority, e.g., Guy Waterman's goal to climb certain peaks from all four of the cardinal points of the compass. Still others for the sheer joy and misery of bushwhacking and the glowing memory of the challenge.

    The AZ factor may be mitigated by walking trail above timber line.
    散步 Sanbu

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I have not done it. I have read of people doing it long ago. I have seen references to a path down to the pond which is supposed to be visible from the Northwest Basin trail. If its there it was not visible the times I was hiking past. Practically anyone who were to visit it would pretty much need to be camping at Davis pond as its not readily accessible from any other campsite in the park. Definitely an early July visit when there are long days.
    It did not occur to me to search for a herd path. I was thinking Chimney Pond. Up to the saddle, around to a jump off spot, and down to the Pond. And by down, I mean 1200 feet in .7 miles, might get a little exciting at times!

    IIRC, there is low scrub brush at that point of the trail, which I assume would fill in more and more as I descended. I see there is a drainage that eventually starts to form. Sometimes following streams is a good idea, sometimes not! But in any case, it would lead to the pond.
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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    As long as we are talking about whacking in Baxter, has anyone ever whacked down to Klondike Pond? This would be outside of Winter.

    https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=45.9...779&z=15&b=mbt
    I think Klondike access can also happen from the North Brother - Fort col.

    I recall at least one accident report that mentioned a solo bushwhacker getting off course returning from Fort and ending up in/near the Klondike.

    Looks about 3 miles from Fort herd path to pond.

    cb
    How many 4Ks in the NE100?
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    Thread drift warning. Somewhere in an old Maine Mountain Guide I have read of the herd path from the NW basin trail to the Pond but it had little details. Looking at Google Earth there are some significant cliffs immediately opposite the pond to the north so the direct approach is out. If you look at the USGS topo for the area, Klondike Pond is not in the The Klondike which is indicated as very wet relatively flat drainage, there is distinct change in tree type visible from Google Earth. From the sporadic reports over the years I have read of trips into the klondike, they are usually quite epic with the writers generally commenting that it was harder than they thought to go through it. I think the issue is that it not open swamp rather is softwoods loaded with blowdown with an underlying wet ground underneath. The approach down off the NW plateau looks far more appealing than from the North Brother or Coe area. Looking at Google earth there is possible route down a drainage to the head water of the Pond. Even it has a few spots that look potentially hairy but there is some sort of tree cover to the side for much of the route. This is not the first time it came up on VFTT http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...ndike-Question

    AMC had a long time presence at the park and built and maintained the Davis Pond Campsite. I expect that it was AMC folks who would use the route to the Pond as its not that unreasonable to access it from the Pond as If remember correctly is around an hour to get up from Davis pond to the top of the plateau. so in July that would leave a lot of time to go down to Klondike Pond. I expect anyone getting there would find some incredible views that have rarely been visited.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Definitely an early July visit when there are long days.
    .......and the black flies are as big as B52’s and travel in squadrons!
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    Good point, I expect they would be gnarly down in the swamp.

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