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eddie
06-18-2013, 08:38 PM
I am looking for some info and opinions on three "ridge" day hikes:
1) Kilkenny Ridge from Unknown Pond trail to Starr King
2) Wildcats - Carters from Pinkham to Gorham
3) Tripyramids - Sleepers - Whiteface & Pass from Pine Bend to Oliverian

Please rate in order of difficulty.
What is the availability of water once on the ridge?

I will be hiking in NH July 4 thru 7 and may hike two of these. Thanks for the feedback.

brobichaud
06-19-2013, 12:44 AM
I am looking for some info and opinions on three "ridge" day hikes:
1) Kilkenny Ridge from Unknown Pond trail to Starr King
2) Wildcats - Carters from Pinkham to Gorham
3) Tripyramids - Sleepers - Whiteface & Pass from Pine Bend to Oliverian

Please rate in order of difficulty.
What is the availability of water once on the ridge?

I will be hiking in NH July 4 thru 7 and may hike two of these. Thanks for the feedback.

Well, I can only give you my impressions on two of the three, the Kilkenny Ridge, and the Tripyramid/Sleepers/Pass/Whiteface loop (herein referred to as the Sandwich Range loop). The Wildcats/Carters traverse is still on my list.

By the numbers, the Kilkenny Ridge traverse is the more difficult of the two. 21.4 miles (assuming you're starting from the Fish Hatchery, not Mill Brook Road), and 7350 feet of gain, versus 17.4 miles, and 5948 feet of gain for the Sandwich Range loop.

In my experience, the Kilkenny Ridge was the more difficult of the two. I started from Mill Brook Road, saving 1.2 miles, and about 150 feet of gain. It was easy to follow all the way to the Kilkenny Ridge Trail. The trail up to the Horn and over the Bulge to Cabot was decent, very primeval looking forest, and mossy rock footbed. The Horn is a fantastic peak, and should not be skipped, it's the best view you'll get all day. There is a spring near Cabot, but I've never found the spur trail to it. The trail going over Terrace is also decent, but you'll start to notice that the footbed starts to look a lot like the surrounding forest floor, though it's still easily followed. There may be some points in Bunnell Notch and Willard Notch that you can filter some water, but you'll have to go searching for it. The trail going over the Weeks' gets more primeval, and you'll need to take care to stay on trail, as the blazes are faded, and the foodbed looks exactly like the surrounding forest. I ended up off trail between North and Middle, and had to bushwhack to Middle. Blowdowns will likely be plentiful, and you'll probably run into more moose than people. Once past South Weeks, the trail becomes easier to follow, and climbs easily to Waumbek over a couple false summits. Once there, it's an easy trek down. I did this in late October last year, and had a fantastic day. I wrote a blog post about it, if you're interested, HERE (http://onapathwithheart.blogspot.com/2012/10/wandering-in-kilkenny-102512.html) it is.

The Sandwich Range loop has one crux, the Sleepers. The Kate Sleeper Trail was decimated by "Super Storm" Sandy, with a huge section of blowdowns between East Sleeper and the Downes Brook Trail junction. I was up there before this (6/15/12), and found the whole loop to be a joy, though I went in the opposite direction. There have been several different groups working to clear the trail, and it's passable at this point, but you'll still have to climb over/duck under/crawl under/try and go around blowdowns along the way. They've recommended bringing a saw and clearing a few if you're out there. There was running water at the Downes Brook junction (if I recall), and I believe there's water near the former Camp Rich on Dicey's Mill Trail.

Both hikes are fantastic, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Kilkenny.

Hope this helps you out, and let me know if I can provide any further information. :)

peakbagger
06-19-2013, 05:52 AM
The KRT has almost zero views except for Waumbek, Cabot, Horn and Rodgers ledge. Trade this off against a very "wild feel", the treadway is also quite soft south of Bunnel Notch. Water management is an issue. There is no reliable water between the spring south of Waumbek and the notch North of North Weeks. From there the next reliable water is Bunnel notch on the abandoned section of the Mt Cabot Trail (its pretty obvious about 200 feet after the junction of the KRT and the Bunnel Notch trail. The water source in the col south of North Weeks mentioned in some prior WMGs is emergency only and could take a quite a while to find as its basically a wet spot in field of mossy rocks and requires filtering.

The water source for the Cabot cabin was marked last year, its roughly half way from the cabin to the summit sign. Its a very long way down the side of the mountain. Plenty of water past that point.

Best camping is the area between North Weeks and South Terrace. There are also some flatish spots near Bunnel Notch. From there plenty of open woods to camp and of course Unknown Pond.

TJsName
06-19-2013, 01:37 PM
The Wildcat Ridge (from Wildcat A to Moriah) is the most rugged of the 3. There are a lot of little ups and downs. There a bunch of spots with good views along the way even though it's not really open ridge walking. Mt. Hight is probably the highlight (don't skip it in good weather!). That said, it probably has the best views of the 3. As far as camping, you can get water at the Carter Notch hut and at the Imp Shelter. I'm not certain about unofficial camping sites as I have only stayed at Imp.

I'd rank them in order of difficulty (being effort required):

Wildcat
Kilkenny
Sandwich

Have fun!

eddie
06-20-2013, 03:36 AM
I am working on a second round of the 48 but also picking up a few NEHH along the way. I only get to the Whites once per year and last year I did a Presi Traverse and Kinsman Ridge. I am also considering a Pemi Loop, preferring longer hikes. As usual weather conditons will dictate hike decisions. Anybody with any other ideas or wants to do one with me please let me know via PM.

bikehikeskifish
06-20-2013, 05:46 AM
but also picking up a few NEHH along the way.

Eddie,

Wildcat Ridge doesn't get you any peaks for NEHH or NHHH. Kilkenney gets 2 NEHH (N/S Weeks) and 2 NHHH (UPP, with a very short detour, and Terrace).

Tim

MichaelJ
06-20-2013, 12:42 PM
Kilkenny Ridge Trail not only has the Weeks, Terrace, and Unknown Pond Peak, but also the NEHH peaks the Bulge and the Horn.

bikehikeskifish
06-20-2013, 01:27 PM
Yes, those got mentioned above ... Middle Weeks is also on the NHHH - I missed that one.

North to south you can get:

Roger's Ledge (NH200)
Unknown Pond Peak (NHHH)
The Horn (NEHH)
The Bulge (NEHH)
Cabot (NH48)
Terrace (NHHH)
North Weeks (NEHH)
Middle Weeks (NHHH)
South Weeks (NEHH)
Waumbek (NH48)

I think that's all of them... There's also Pliny and the Hutchins/Pilot/Mary peaks (NHHH) but they are bushwhacks and not on the ridge :)

Tim

peakbagger
06-20-2013, 02:13 PM
When we blazed KRT long ago, the FS intent was to close the majority of side trails and turn the KRT into a long distance backpacking trail. Bunnel Notch, York Pond trail, Mill brook and possibly Unknown Pond trail were all up for potential closure and received little maintenance for many years. I think the Mt Cabot trail would have remained. I expect the closure of the Mt Cabot trail and the effective closure of west end of the York Pond trail changed thing around as the fish hatchery then became the logical area to have hikers approach Cabot and also opened up several loop hikes.

RoySwkr
06-20-2013, 05:45 PM
There are none of these I have done as day hikes but I've hiked all the segments:
2) Wildcats - Carters from Pinkham to Gorham
is the one I'd call physically most difficult, lots of ups and downs over steep ledges, most of this is the AT so lots of other hikers and plenty of bailout points

1) Kilkenny Ridge from Unknown Pond trail to Starr King
the most remote and least hiked and mostly mellow woods walking, I'm calling this #2 based on dist/elev but I'd say easiest per mile

3) Tripyramids - Sleepers - Whiteface & Pass from Pine Bend to Oliverian
some easy walking but a few nasty steep pitches mixed in, parts are heavily used and others lightly maintained

KRobi
06-20-2013, 08:00 PM
I don't know if it changes your plans or not, but there is a new post on NETC that has the Kate Sleeper trail reopened. The Wonalancet Outing Club and other volunteers cleared most of it so it is passable.
http://newenglandtrailconditions.com/nh/viewreport.php?entryid=13098

TJsName
06-23-2013, 08:59 PM
I don't know if it changes your plans or not, but there is a new post on NETC that has the Kate Sleeper trail reopened. The Wonalancet Outing Club and other volunteers cleared most of it so it is passable.
http://newenglandtrailconditions.com/nh/viewreport.php?entryid=13098

Walked through it this weekend - they did an amazing job! I think they only left 2 duck unders and a couple step overs, and a couple minor reroutes - it's in great shape. There were at least 100 blowdowns, with many requiring two cuts to clear - and many of the trees were upwards of 80 years old (according to the pen mark on one of the cuts). Almost worth going there just to check it out!

psmart
06-25-2013, 11:33 PM
There were at least 100 blowdowns, with many requiring two cuts to clear.

Kate Sleeper Trail has in fact been cleared. A few photos are posted here: www.wodc.org/trails13.htm

Lefty E
06-26-2013, 04:39 AM
Excellent work on a tough stretch!!!!

eddie
07-08-2013, 08:21 AM
I didn't get to the Whites this past weekend due to less that ideal weather. Just waiting for some better weather.

I have another hike I am considering - up Flume Slide, across Franconia Ridge, Garfield, Galehead, S & N Twin and out. Anybody done this? I don't think I am up for a Pemi Loop.

Kevin Rooney
07-08-2013, 08:52 AM
That's an exceptionally ambitious dayhike, with a potentially difficult river crossing at the end. Personally, I'd attempt it in reverse, getting the river crossing out of the way first, and then you'd have a bale-out option down the Gale River trail. Which, by the way, is a loop that done frequently to get those 3 peaks.

The trail between Galehead and Garfield is full of PUDs, and takes longer than it might appear on a map. The same can be said between Garfield and Lafayette.

Personally, descending Flume Slide isn't my cup of tea, especially when it's wet, although it's done occasionally.