View Full Version : Scar Ridge and PATN - best approaches?

doghiker 2002
08-16-2004, 11:50 AM
Thanks to all the postings here at VFTT, my buddy and I have covered all the trailless peaks except Scar Ridge and Peak Above the Nubble. It's become something of a kick to read the register and see whose names we recognize from postings at VFTT.

Anyhow, we're seeking advice on approaches to these last two peaks, but especially to Scar Ridge which we plan to try this weekend. We hear different stories about this one - easy, superhard, approach it from Little East Pond, approach it from the Kanc. Thoughts, anyone?

Tramper Al
08-16-2004, 08:17 PM

I think probably what you heard was 'easy from the Kanc', 'superhard from Little East Pond', yes?

I can heartily attest to the former, and have as yet had no great wish to experience the latter.

08-16-2004, 10:16 PM
In eleven years of peakbagging, these are the only two hills that turned me around due to insanely impossible conditions. First attempt at Scar Ridge from Little East Pond...one hour to go 1/4 mile while balancing atop pickup sticks 5 or 6 feet off the ground. Scary! Gave up & turned back. Successful ascent later from the Kanc...longer, tough, but not ridiculous.
PAtN...First try up the "checkmark" slide on the northeast side...steep, covered with slick goo, somehow got to the top despite a few slippery near disasters....found nearly impenetrable scrub spruce above the slide...Cut myself up and finally aborted, nearly killing myself sliding down that slide. Later successful ascent up the narrrower creek/slide on the northwest side. Once you latch onto that creek, it's a piece of cake.

Dennis C.
08-17-2004, 11:40 AM
The problem climbers have with bushwhacking from Little East Pond is when they try to go directly toward the NE 100 highest peak from the pond; it's brutal. Instead go for the col north of the pond, turn left and follow the well beaten ridgeline toward the peak instead. REF: http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=19&n=4877911&e=292962&s=50&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25. Alternate good route to get two other NH 100s at the same time: From the East Pond Trail Height-of-land (lower right corner of map), follow county(?) ridgeline markings point to point NW and return to Little East Pond and trail on the way out. This makes a great loop day hike from the Tripoli Road parking area (3-season only). Note: I'm not aware of current blowdown conditions, as I haven't been up there in awhile, but the routes above worked well all the years I used to hang out up there.

8/21: It was reported to me that clicking on the link above produces a black image with no details (first time for everything). To correct this, click on "Update Map".

08-18-2004, 08:18 PM
A few corollary questions, please.

I've thought about using the road-visible slides in this vicinity ("vicinity" being roughly defined to include points east as well) for avalanche dog training. Does anyone with winter experience in this vicinity care to tell me:

1. Are there any slide paths that accumulate six feet or more of snow near their bases, preferably on some slope?

2. If so, are any of them within 45 minutes of the Kanc in winter?

3. Have you ever observed any actual avalanche debris on such slide(s)?


08-19-2004, 08:26 AM
We can only chuckle at Scar Ridge whackers approaching from Little East Pond, having tread through that about 10 years ago when the balsam fir was less dense. However, Dennis C.'s point about heading due north into the col is a good one, though I'm not sure the fir is any less dense. It does avoid some steep parts that add to the misery ... I recall that Gene Daniel's directions advised keeping well to the right of the ledges ... well, we kept so well to the right we wound up first on a herd path that led to the Middle Peak!

We returned by the same route, descending first into the col and heading due south from there. I think it was Sandwich Mtn. that was as good as a compass for a landmark to aim for (remember, the fir was much shorter then and we could see over it). So reliable was this course that we were surprised to find ourselves at precisely the same point at the tip of the pond from which we departed. Keep in mind that had we gone 50 yards to the right of the pond (west) we could conceivably have bushwhacked straight through to Tripoli Road ... so err to the left ... if you miss the pond at least you hit the trail to East Pond.

As for the Nubble in the Haystack, some names need clarification as the smaller peak to the west is shown as Haystack on the topo. I don't know where Nubble comes from. The peak above this nubble called Haystack is the destination and we achieved it via Haystack, from which we confirmed a compass bearing and follwed it faitfully occasionally following herd paths that appeared and disappeared. Some say its easier to swing around to the right (south) a bit, others take the "checkmark" side, which I recommend skirting even in good weather. At that time, at least, there was a bootleg trail that was not well built from the standpoint of erosion, not to mention illegal. Gene's directions indicated that this route should not be used and would not be acceptable to counting this towards the 100 highest.

08-19-2004, 11:56 AM
Originally posted by Dennis C.
The problem climbers have with bushwhacking from Little East Pond is when they try to go directly toward the NE 100 highest peak from the pond; it's brutal. Instead go for the col north of the pond, turn left and follow the well beaten ridgeline toward the peak instead.

Dennis is exactly right, at least for a few years back when I was up Scar Ridge. Following these basic directions from LEP I found an old axe blazed route that was really quite easy up to the ridge and then it was no problem following the ridge to the summit. I would have to think this was about as easy a route as you'll ever find to a trailless peak of this elevation.

Papa Bear
08-19-2004, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by post'r boy
an old a.m.c. map but not that old shows the the peak called the nubble is on the same ridge as the peak above the nubble. not haystack mtn. that's what i see from the map i have.
Yes! I just checked my 1966 WMG and the map shows 4 little peak symbols.

1) is a point labelled "Haystack Mt." but not on Haystack (2713) as per the topo but is actually off to the east Here! (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=19&n=4901262&e=295335&s=50&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25)
2) is on 2842 and has no label.
3) is on 3813 (PATN) has no label,
4) and the 4th triangle, right Here! (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=19&n=4900221&e=295706&s=50&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25) is labelled "The Nubble".

So all this time we've been thinking "The Nubble" = "Haystack" and chuckling at those newcomers who were bewildered by not finding "The Nubble" below PATN, we've actually all been FOS. Anyway, that's one possibility! (The other more likely possibility is that the old AMC maps are FU). The old 1929 Topo Map (http://docs.unh.edu/NH/frcn29ne.jpg) just has "Haystack Mtn" (in it's usual place), nothing else, no nubble.

Good find Post'r Boy. Keep on whackin'.


08-22-2004, 10:48 PM
9 1/2 hours to go just over 7 miles including the real summit marked on the maps at 3774 feet which is 1/4 mile west of the canister. We approached from Little East Pond to the col just west of Middle Peak. Take out 4 miles for the trail to the pond and back and maybe 2 hours of time, and you get 7 1/2 hours to go just over 3 miles!!!

Needless to say we left a few fun comments in the register :>

A great day though - the weather was perfect. Great to meet two nice guys - Jonny and Robert and the best hiking dog we've met so far, Kathadin.

We'll have pics and GPS routes posted by Wed AM on our Recent Hikes page - www.rbhayes.net

Oh yeah - this was by far the hardest peak we have ever done - it makes PAtN seem like a cake walk!