View Full Version : Katahdin pre-dawn start?

Tramper Al
05-17-2004, 07:39 PM

So, I sometimes like to get an early start up the trail. Last time I was in BSP in summer, I got a nice pre-dawn start up the Marsten Trail.

Now, I keep reading about unfortunate hikers who were prevented from hiking up Katahdin on a given day because of some weather condition or another. Some friends of mine were stuck at Chimney Pond for two summit days last October because the ground was icy. I actually read the other day of a day when hiking big K was prohibited because it was too hot! Ouch.

So, I'm just wondering, can I just wake up at Katahdin Stream and start climbing the Hunt Trail at like 4:30 am? When does the day get 'classified'? Do I have to wait for the 'all clear' at some later time? Am I in a little trouble already?

05-17-2004, 10:16 PM
Hmm... nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. My guess is that if the previous day was OK and you leave before the day is "posted" (like 6 AM) and you come back with a reasonable excuse, you won't be thrown out. Though perhaps they could make you climb back up and not return till things get better. Come to think of it, that might not be all bad... at least you'd have the mtn to yourself for a while.

Maybe this year we'll get beyond Chimney Pond. 4 to go in ME, 2 in Baxter.


05-17-2004, 10:25 PM
if you go on a weekend they start lining up at the gate before 4am - they open the gate at 5am - at 5am there were about 30 cars lined up - roaring brook is only allowed 48 cars - if you are going from roaring brook get there early

Tramper Al
05-18-2004, 07:31 AM
Right. I know all about the drive in.

I'm talking about waking up early and starting up the trail. Obviously, I'll be sleeping in the park (Katahdin Stream) to be walking past blazes on the Hunt by 4:30.

05-18-2004, 08:06 AM
Talk to the Ranger the night before, informing him/her of your plans. Should be no problem. The restrictions apply to above treeline only, so you'll have ample time to bail (ok, you'll be at the Gateway around 6:45 if you leave at 4:30, so you'll have a good idea what to expect then)

Methinks that your ME AT is nearly done, yes? Congrats! Will you complete 67 and 100 on Baxter Peak? If so, when?

You've earned it - the weather will be spectacular!

Tramper Al
05-18-2004, 08:38 AM
Hey SK,

Well, I'm getting there, but still have a few miles (including one block of 100) to go before Katahdin. And I have several miles to go on another long trail before I reach Mansfield. I think probably late summer '05 I will finally walk up the Hunt Trail to the top. Yes, that will be #67, and possibly #100 as well. Thanks for the good thoughts.

As for BSP, I'm not so much worried about the weather as the rules. 4:30 is just a guess - I'll probably be too excited to be able to sleep in as late as that.

Papa Bear
05-18-2004, 08:46 AM
I have seen journals of any number of thru-hikers who summited Katahdin early on to arrive for sunrise.

I'd guess if it turns out to be a permitted climbing day, no questions are asked. If not, maybe you should stay up there and come down at 4:30 AM next morning so they don't catch you. ;)


05-18-2004, 09:40 PM

Sherpa's advice is good -- check with the ranger the night before, tell him/her your plans. I am sure you can make your way without any problem at 4:30 or so. Rangers aren't going to track you down, arrest you or anything if you head up the mtn. that early and they decide to close the mtn. for some reason. They will just look out for you, make sure you make it back safely if there is some sort of weather issue.

Are you going spring summer or fall?

Have a great trip!


05-19-2004, 11:39 AM
What the Abol ranger told me years ago:
The weather for the next day was iffy, and he told me I could not start until the new report came in the next morning to see if it was OK. I could drive to Roaring Brook and hike to Chimney Pond (which was OK any day) and check in with the ranger there, who would tell me whether I could go higher. As it turned out, the weather was category 2 (trails open except Knife Edge) but it was posted late and there was only 1 hour between when it was posted and the latest allowed starting time (8 am in October?)

If tomorrow's forecast is good then he might approve your plan the night before. Of course AT hikers can do as they please as once they get to the summit they are leaving anyway :-)