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Thread: Legitimate Trail Times

  1. #16
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BISCUT View Post
    I have 3 trips left in my NH4K endeavor. I was wondering if there is a specific place to find legitimate average times for a hike online. I have Isolation, Bonds, and Owl head to go. I'm usually on target or a little quicker for the WMNF Guide Book ascent but tend to fly on the decent. I wanted to see what I should expect for day trip pack weight times for my remaining 3.

    I see many tip reports and some are great at listing their time while others don't mention. I'ts not a race for me but I am trying to do these on day trips with a looong road trip before hitting the trail. I've searched a lot of google but I think I'm missing something.
    When it comes to Owl's Head, you'll want to consider the crossing if you want to stick to the trailed route. I know a rule of thumb is if the Pemi Gauge at Lincoln Woods is above 800/900, then the crossings can be difficult, in which case you might want to consider waiting, or taking either the Black Pond or Fisherman's Bushwhack to avoid the big crossings. Those Black Pond Bushwhack does save distance too, so it can be faster if you're confident navigating off-trail. There aren't book times for these stretches, so you might want to poke around for trip reports/GPS tracks to see how fast people can do it.
    | 63.0% W48: 19/48
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  2. #17
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    I have recently climbed each of those mountains for the third time.

    For Owl’s Head, in July, I used the Franconia Falls bushwhack heading out (for the second time) and the Black Pond bushwhack heading back (for the first time in either direction). It took me about 8¾ hours all together.

    For The Bonds, in August, it was an out-and-back from Lincoln Woods for the second time. It took me about 11¼ hours.

    For Isolation, also in August, it is a little complicated. I went up Glen Boulder Trail from Glen Ellis Falls and reached the summit in a little more than 3½ hours. I joined with two New Yorkers, though, which probably kept me moving faster than I might have had I been on my own. We all hiked out via Rocky Branch Trail, where the man, Kent, ran back up Route 16 to get his car, while the woman, Melissa, stayed at the Rocky Branch parking lot. I walked up the road until Kent picked me up and brought me back to my car before heading back to get Melissa. So the exact length of the hike had I not been given a ride is unknown. But if it had taken me another half hour to get back to my car, the total length of the hike would have been 8½ hours.

    I should probably mention that I am 58 years of age.

  3. #18
    Senior Member BISCUT's Avatar
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    Definitely are a lot of variables. The website is fantastic. All right at your finger tips. I thought I might ger a response or too, but 12! I'm guessing many of you have been through the same questions.

    Thanks for the info.

  4. #19
    Senior Member BISCUT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
    I have recently climbed each of those mountains for the third time.

    For Owl’s Head, in July, I used the Franconia Falls bushwhack heading out (for the second time) and the Black Pond bushwhack heading back (for the first time in either direction). It took me about 8¾ hours all together.

    For The Bonds, in August, it was an out-and-back from Lincoln Woods for the second time. It took me about 11¼ hours.

    For Isolation, also in August, it is a little complicated. I went up Glen Boulder Trail from Glen Ellis Falls and reached the summit in a little more than 3½ hours. I joined with two New Yorkers, though, which probably kept me moving faster than I might have had I been on my own. We all hiked out via Rocky Branch Trail, where the man, Kent, ran back up Route 16 to get his car, while the woman, Melissa, stayed at the Rocky Branch parking lot. I walked up the road until Kent picked me up and brought me back to my car before heading back to get Melissa. So the exact length of the hike had I not been given a ride is unknown. But if it had taken me another half hour to get back to my car, the total length of the hike would have been 8½ hours.

    I should probably mention that I am 58 years of age.
    Raymond, You are my kinda 58 year old! I expect to be the same way in 15 years!!

  5. #20
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    While Owl's Head keeps being indirectly discussed, may I ask a naive question?
    (Its naive because there are so many expert bushwhackers on here, and the question has not come up afaik)

    Is there a way to continue NNE off of the ridge, and bushwhack to 13 Falls. The topos show a more gentle slope than the climb.

  6. #21
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remix View Post
    Is there a way to continue NNE off of the ridge, and bushwhack to 13 Falls. The topos show a more gentle slope than the climb.
    I don't know about NNE, but NNW looks promising...landsat indicates it's deciduous. When I asked earlier this year, DougPaul said he did it in the 80s, in winter. I've been meaning to check it out.

  7. #22
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    I've had my eye on the NNW ridge as an ascent route - it's easy to find from the Lincoln Brook trail, it's mostly deciduous (confirmed visually from nearby peaks), it's gentle and navigation should be easy: follow the ridge all the way to the summit. Or rather, stay near the crest of the ridge - the very crest is a bit spruce-y. (As a descent route, though, you have to worry about the chance of stepping over the Lincoln Brook trail without noticing it. The trail can be very faint in that area.)

    The NNE ridge looks a little harder - not adjacent to either summit or trail, so you have to find it and then find your way off it. It's steeper too, and the east side is very steep; stay on the north face.

    Down the middle of the north face might be an option - if you can find either of the two main streambeds, you can follow them to Franconia Brook very near 13 Falls.
    Last edited by nartreb; 09-11-2015 at 10:02 PM.

  8. #23
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    A friend and I skied the NNW ridge from Lincoln Woods as a two-day trip, camping N of the base of the slide on the way in. (BTW, this was on waxable wooden skis without skins.)

    (These recollections are from ~1980 so some things may have changed and my memory may not be perfect.)

    Portions of the Lincoln Brook trail were a bit hard to follow N of the slide. We veered to the E of the trail* as the terrain flattened out as we approached the base of the ridge in open woods. The short climb from the flats up to the ridge was a bit steep and had some spruce and/or brush at the top of the climb. The top of the ridge itself was fairly broad and mostly open but had patches of dense spruce that we had to fight through. (We were able to avoid the spruce on the way down.) We summited and returned by the same route.

    * We may have lost the trail here and simply headed toward the base of the ridge...

    IIRC someone else reported hiking it much more recently (from somewhere near Camp 13 Falls, I think) and found travel on the ridge to be harder than we experienced. You may be able to find the report by searching for it.

    EDIT: the following search brings up a number of hits: https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...pe=&as_rights=. A number of them include my ski trip...

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 09-12-2015 at 12:25 AM.

  9. #24
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    From Smith and Dickerman, The 4000 Footers of the White Mountains, second edition:

    p 319 (re: NW)

    "At the NW end of Owl's Head a broad boggy saddle (3180 ft.) divides the headwaters of Lincoln and Franconia Brooks and links the mountain with the E side of Mt. Lafayette."

    p 320 (re: NE)

    "A series of four prominent talus fields is strung along the lower E slopes towards the N end."
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  10. #25
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Yep, the "boggy saddle" is where you'd leave the Lincoln Brook trail if you were climbing the NNW ridge from 13 Falls. Can't miss it, it's the height of land where the trail turns.

    The talus fields on the northern part of the east face, I'd avoid. They're steep, they aren't close enough together to form a corridor, and none of them leads anywhere useful. They're just sort of stranded midway up the steep eastern side.

  11. #26
    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remix View Post
    While Owl's Head keeps being indirectly discussed, may I ask a naive question?
    (Its naive because there are so many expert bushwhackers on here, and the question has not come up afaik)

    Is there a way to continue NNE off of the ridge, and bushwhack to 13 Falls. The topos show a more gentle slope than the climb.
    That route is on my list to explore from 13 Falls, likely as part of a loop with one of the steeper approaches from the east side. So I can't report on the NNE ridge of the Owl yet, but *can* report that as of two summers ago the NW ridge was very doable, with only moderate inclines and just a couple of bits of ledge to skirt. There are logging road remnants to take advantage of as well. The chief challenge is a few waves of dense spruce on the upper 1/2 mile or so of the route. Our ascent from near the crest of the LBT took us 1:50. So a very reasonable proposition for getting to 13 Falls from Owl's Head would be to descend the NW ridge, and then complete the remainder of the descent to 13 Falls via the LBT. If you descend this way vs. the slide, you not only save a couple miles of distance to 13 Falls, you also avoid the muckiest parts of the LBT as well as having to descend and regain 700' of elevation.

    That said though, mucky or not, and extra elevation or not, the upper half of the LBT is in fact really beautiful, and you'll miss a part of it if you don't head to 13 Falls from the slide. But hey, that's what return trips are for.

    If you do decide to go for the NE ridge though, please do let us know how you make out!

    Alex

  12. #27
    Senior Member alexmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jniehof View Post
    Not in the book time. It is 30 minutes per mile, 30 minutes per 1000' of up. The climb is determined by the WMG editor counting contour lines on the topo. No corrections for stream crossings, poor footing, semi-technical sections, etc. A 1000' sheer vertical cliff has a round-trip book time of 30 minutes (30 minutes up, zero down.)
    Not necessarily true, Jon: many of the distances on the AMC maps are reportedly determined by surveyor's wheel rather than map projection. So were it an actual trail, not only would it wrest the "most difficult regular hiking trail in the white mountains" title away from Huntington, it might also allow hikers a generous round trip book time allowance of at least 41 minutes. And for planning purposes if engaged in a peak bagging quest, if you're willing to carry it I think a hang glider is allowed...
    Last edited by alexmtn; 09-12-2015 at 03:45 PM.

  13. #28
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    Here you can see the view of the talus fields from Bondcliff.


  14. #29
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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  15. #30
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    Yep, the "boggy saddle" is where you'd leave the Lincoln Brook trail if you were climbing the NNW ridge from 13 Falls. Can't miss it, it's the height of land where the trail turns.
    The area immediately S of the "boggy" saddle looked pretty flat and is the region that I called the "flats" in my previous post. Since we were coming from the S, and the brush was covered by snow, so I think we traveled along/near the SE edge of the flats which would have been off the trail. (I'm comparing my recollection to the WMNF GPS track for the LBT.)

    I have no idea how hard (due to brush etc) our route to the ridge would be in current summer conditions., however, since it was skiable, it couldn't have been too steep. I do recall skiing through an open birch? glade shortly before attaining the ridge.


    BTW, the WMNF GPS track for the LBT deviates significantly from LBT as shown some of my non-GPS trail maps in the region S of the boggy saddle. So make sure you are using the WMNF GPS track or a map with GPS derived trails (eg the more recent AMC guidebook maps).

    Doug

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