PDA

View Full Version : Hancock to Carrigan whack ideas



TJsName
05-29-2015, 12:12 PM
Looking at whacking from South Hancock over to Carrigan. I've read a bunch of trip reports and what I can discern is:

-The terrain is very rough
-There are lots of cliffs north and south of East Hancock
-We might be wise to find/follow a moose heard path
-It might be worth going over the Captain instead of swinging by the pond
-We should stay south/east of Carrigan's SW ridge line on the climb up to Carrigan

Does anyone have any other useful suggestions (or a strong opinion on visit the pond vs going over the Captain)? My guess is that this is about 2.5 miles and 5-6 hours for an average fitness hiker. For some context, we're weighing if it's a time saver over going back down Cedar Brook and taking the Wilderness/Desolation Trails (which I have as about 13 miles, 3500', 8 hours). Thanks for any help you may have!

Also, does this bushwhack have a nickname?

alexmtn
05-30-2015, 10:17 AM
Looking at whacking from South Hancock over to Carrigan...Does anyone have any other useful suggestions (or a strong opinion on visit the pond vs going over the Captain)? My guess is that this is about 2.5 miles and 5-6 hours for an average fitness hiker. For some context, we're weighing if it's a time saver over going back down Cedar Brook and taking the Wilderness/Desolation Trails (which I have as about 13 miles, 3500', 8 hours).

TJ, I would be shocked if you could average anything close to 0.5mph on that route. I would regard matching the 8-hr Desolation book time as an incredibly fortuitous best-case outcome wherein serendipity enables you to find an optimal path through the spruce and around the cliffs. I would encourage you to view the hike as a fun challenge rather than as any sort of time-energy saver vs. the trailed route. I would also recommend a pre-dawn start that puts you atop SH as it gets light. Route-wise, my gambit in the absence of specific herd path info would be to go as far north from EH as you need to in order to find a line E off the ridge, go around the Captain to the pond, then to the C-C col, and up the ridge to Carrigain. If you're feeling esp ballsy, looking at the 40' map there may be a line to be had off EH by going SE 150 yds or so, then NE.

Haven't heard of any catchy names for the endeavor. If you do go for it, do let us know how it works out!

Alex

Driver8
05-30-2015, 01:00 PM
Haven't heard of any catchy names for the endeavor.

You could call it The Captain Crunch.

Becca M
05-31-2015, 08:24 AM
Good luck - you don't know until you try! I would suggest a bailout plan, like, picking a turnaround time and not being afraid to head back uphill if things go from bad to worse. There are some interesting features in there!

The bushwhack does have a name... I call it, "Benighted!" Trust me :0

MarkJ
05-31-2015, 11:59 AM
checking sat imagery on sites like caltopo, one might avoid spruce stick hell by dipping down around 3k to get into semi hardwood areas,it might lengthen the wack but could be less torture.This helped on a E Scar to Loon traverse,staying low on E Scar missing the thick stuff and blow down area there.Agree on an early start and bail out plan

Colenso
05-31-2015, 12:22 PM
Have you done the standard Vose Spur bushwhack? That should give you a rough idea of conditions in that area. I know that, looking at the map, your Hancock-Carrigain traverse seems like a great idea. Well, maybe Vose Spur is not such a great example these days. I did it 20 years ago with map and compass, not with GPS. Picture yourself going through the scrub spruce without GPS. I hope I don't seem rude but your idea of this as a time-saver seems insane.

MarkJ
05-31-2015, 02:10 PM
if your posting to me I do not see any mention of GPS use in this thread. Having done Vose in winter and none winter it is pretty straight forward whack hitting the the open rock field two thirds up and going forward.I do know folks who whacked fom Vose to Carrigan and they said it was not that bad.I don't own a GPS but the best use for it is way pointing your car after your wack

Colenso
05-31-2015, 04:01 PM
My apologies. I was bringing in an irrelevant issue. I am familiar with that boulderfield. I just wanted to make the point that anyone trying to do the Hancock-Carrigain traverse should probably have experience in off-trail navigation. I am actually a big fan of Caltopo. I use it in my adventures in the Smokies like the headwaters of Lester Prong and plan to use it when I soon move back to northern New England.

peakbagger
05-31-2015, 05:37 PM
My comments predate the common use of GPS era (yes portable backpack units were available but not typically used for bushwhacking). Its interesting that GPS inadvertently came up. I believe that this bushwhacking route is the scene of a fairly infamous chapter by Guy Waterman in the book Wilderness Ethics on the use of technology (he was not a fan) The object of contention was a portable radio rather than a GPS but his general commentary would apply to cell phones and GPS devices.

The bushwhack from Carrigan to Vose Spur used to be gnarly 15 to 20 years ago. I have led to believe that with the uptick in folks working on the 100 highest list has contributed to some semblance of a herd path that may have made it easier. If I remember correctly the Vose Spur summit sign was Spanish street sign nailed to a tree. The assumption that the town line that runs along this ridge and in theory would be maintained was not in evidence, although we did find at least on of the markers. There were a few steep pitches that combined with spruce/fir blowdown required some creativity. Around the same era, a friend and I did the Captain from Sawyer Brook Road with the added challenge that Sawyer river road was closed so we had to hike in from the Kanc. We elected to slab up to the ridge line between the Carrigan and the Captain. It was not pleasant for any portion of the route once we left the gravel pit. We spent about 20 minutes roaming the summit of the Captain. It was quite dense and we did not find a register. We went by the shores of the pond and it was quite dense. I cant comment on the rest of the route but in no way shape or form would this area be a short cut. It should be regarded as a nice rarely visited spot in the whites saved for those who like to bushwhack.

An unconfirmed rumor I heard at one point was that there was a semi organized national group that would pick a remote spot and many would converge for a few days to party. Reportedly, the gravel pit at the far end of Sawyer River road was one of their selected spots one year. I had heard these rumors in or around 1987 and they referenced it had happened "awhile" ago. In or around 1977, I believe that much of the valley leading to the Captain was essentially clear cut so I expect for a period that the access was good and there would have been a large clearing with a brook feeding it. These gatherings were not well liked by the authorities as no one took the responsibility for the event and inevitably they would leave a mess for the authorities to deal with.

Colenso
06-01-2015, 12:42 AM
Thank you very much for your comment, peakbagger. I would love to read a history of peakbagging in the Northeast. You might very well be the best qualified person to do it.

peakbagger
06-01-2015, 06:47 AM
The Underhills and the Watermans, more recently Gene Daniels, Bill Bowden and Dave Bromberg, to name a few folks of many, were earlier white mountain region bushwhackers before my carreer started around 87 and were out there long before I was. Unfortunately bushwhacking tends to be an individual sport and prior to electronic bulletin boards I expect there was far less interaction between the participants. Many folks used to the near instant gratification of the internet, would not be able to deal with waiting for several months to receive by mail the photocopied hints to the 100 highest. AMC did list several bushwhacking events every year including the annual trip to the "four pack" list in maine, they were large group events and tended to be a meeting of like minds. Even the early VFTT forum years (sadly lost in a data crash) factored into popularizing bushwhacking.

My very minor footnote was stumbling on that the government was printing provisional 7.5 minute maps of several areas that contained 100 highest peaks replacing some older 15 minute maps that dated back to the twenties. Even though the USGS didn't list that they were available in their order documents, when I used the USGS naming convention and ordered maps that officially didn't exist, I got them "fresh off the presses". They eventually made it to the local USGS repositories about 1 to 2 years later. I wasn't on the use groups yet but believe that my discovery was disseminated on rec.backcountry, (the original electronics bulletin board that covered northeast hiking that I am aware of).

To diverge a bit further, I believe rec.backcountry started the still ongoing battle about publishing detailed information on accessing "hidden" places and summits lists to the general public. It still flares up on occasion on VFTT. Red Rock Pond was "fighting words" and Dan Doane was vilified when he published the directions. The concept of making GPS tracks that could be downloaded and used by the general public would be anathema to many of the early bush whackers. Prior to the internet, information to these spots were strictly word of mouth, only revealed to those perceived to be worthy. It took me several attempts to get a copy of the NH 100 highest list after doing a few hikes with Bill Bowden and even up to today, many NH 100 folks hike over 100 summits to cover all the summits on the multiple lists.

Although many of the early participants are long gone I expect a history could be developed but would be of limited interest to the general public. At least Forest and Crag did finally get available in both print and as an E-book for those interested.

Snowflea
06-01-2015, 10:45 AM
Five of us did this 'whack in November 2012. (The trip report is here on VFTT if you do a search.).

We prepared for a long day. With the shortened daylight hours, we made sure to bring light sources w/backups and used them for ~3 hours or so IIRC. Individual results will vary, of course, but I recall the 'whack being easier than I'd anticipated... almost disappointingly so. :D The thickest growth we encountered was just below the summit of The Captain.

It would be fun to try extending this excursion to include Vose Spur!

Good luck!

TJsName
06-01-2015, 11:21 AM
Five of us did this 'whack in November 2012. (The trip report is here on VFTT if you do a search.).

We prepared for a long day. With the shortened daylight hours, we made sure to bring light sources w/backups and used them for ~3 hours or so IIRC. Individual results will vary, of course, but I recall the 'whack being easier than I'd anticipated... almost disappointingly so. :D The thickest growth we encountered was just below the summit of The Captain.

It would be fun to try extending this excursion to include Vose Spur!

Good luck!

That is one of the trip reports I read - I also saw pictures on from one of the attendees on SmugMug - it looked like fun! :)

TJsName
06-01-2015, 11:27 AM
Good luck - you don't know until you try! I would suggest a bailout plan, like, picking a turnaround time and not being afraid to head back uphill if things go from bad to worse. There are some interesting features in there!

The bushwhack does have a name... I call it, "Benighted!" Trust me :0

The group I go with is typically not very rigid with their plans. We always have a bailout plan or two. Turnaround times are usually more about making sure we get back home in time to sleep before work. :) Bushwhacking at night doesn't sound too fun right now, but I haven't tried it yet I suppose! We'll call that plan C for now.

TJsName
06-01-2015, 11:35 AM
TJ, I would be shocked if you could average anything close to 0.5mph on that route. I would regard matching the 8-hr Desolation book time as an incredibly fortuitous best-case outcome wherein serendipity enables you to find an optimal path through the spruce and around the cliffs. I would encourage you to view the hike as a fun challenge rather than as any sort of time-energy saver vs. the trailed route. I would also recommend a pre-dawn start that puts you atop SH as it gets light. Route-wise, my gambit in the absence of specific herd path info would be to go as far north from EH as you need to in order to find a line E off the ridge, go around the Captain to the pond, then to the C-C col, and up the ridge to Carrigain. If you're feeling esp ballsy, looking at the 40' map there may be a line to be had off EH by going SE 150 yds or so, then NE.

Haven't heard of any catchy names for the endeavor. If you do go for it, do let us know how it works out!

Alex

Thanks for the aadvice, Alex! I'd be shocked if I could keep that pace too, but I have a friend who is interested and he's in much better shape (and smaller, which I think might help!). I'm trying to avoid relying on serendipity (or any other John Cusack movies) to get me through this. I'm hoping to do a 'scouting hike' to see if what it's like. Visiting Carrigan Pond looks like a nice destination in and of itself. I view all my hikes as fun challenges - are are just more challengy than others. :) I'll let you know how this works out - it probably won't be until July, so don't hold your breath!

TJsName
06-01-2015, 11:46 AM
Thank you everyone else for your replies! For what it is worth, I do bring my phone, which has a GPS with the USGS maps pre-loaded. I use it both to track my routes for fun, as well as for navigation as it is very helpful to just look at the map and see where you are relative to everything else. I find it to be a nice safety tool. I've never actually used it to follow an existing GPS track though - that seems a bit to much like hiking someone elses hike! I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone for doing it though. I would begrudge someone for relying solely on a GPS though. If my GPS fails, I'll be fine with a map and compass - it would just be harder, like making a fire without a lighter.

DougPaul
06-01-2015, 12:48 PM
Five of us did this 'whack in November 2012. (The trip report is here on VFTT if you do a search.).

IIRC, there are other trip reports here on VFTT on bushwacks (at least to the Captain, don't remember if they continued to Carrigain), at least one from the summit of S Hancock and one from Sawyer River Rd.

I recall exchanging a few PMs about the route from SH with the author--the route is fairly obvious on the 24K topo. Following the Wilderness Boundary (as shown on the map) is reportedly very steep and [probably] not recommended.

Haven't tried it myself...

Doug

jniehof
06-02-2015, 11:17 AM
(or any other John Cusack movies)
Better off Dead comes to mind ;)

Bushwhack
06-08-2015, 11:13 AM
I have not bushwhacked this one in particular, but I have found that it saves loads of time when bushwhacking down mountains in the whites to hike with a harness on and rappel down cliffs rather than trying to hike around them. this only applies if you are very experienced and comfortable with backcountry rappelling- Do Not try this without significant expertise. I have several times bushwhacked from Garfield down to franconia brook, and in my experience, rappelling saves about 60-90 minutes on that one. Not sure how well it would apply to going down the northeast side of the Hancocks.