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Thread: The lost trail on the west ridge of Mt. Lincoln

  1. #1
    Junior Member fthurber's Avatar
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    The lost trail on the west ridge of Mt. Lincoln

    In researching the gorge on this ridge, I came across (thanks to Steven Smith and Mike Dickerman's The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains) this interesting account of a rather spectacular and now lost (to logging) trail up the west ridge of Mt Lincoln. It is from Carpenter's 1989 Guide Book to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley. Where exactly this trail started is not clear, but it would seem to be somewhere off the Falling Waters trail.

    -----------------------

    The new path cut in 1897 makes this peak accessible to climbers with strong muscles and heads. No others should attempt to climb to it except along the ridge from Lafayette, which is not difficult, but one misses the climb up the glorious west spur of Mt. Lincoln.

    The path to Mt. Lincoln leaves the road at Dry Brook at sign
    marked “Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln." A fine log road leads
    in one-quarter mile (fifteen minutes) to a lumber camp. Cross the
    brook, log bridge; follow log road a short distance to sign “Mt.
    Lincoln" on right of road (east) ; follow log roads (well marked
    in 1897) to wood path two miles (one and one-quarter hours) ;
    climbing a steep slope. In one-half mile (one-half hour) a spring
    is reached near path on right under a shelving rock ; not found in
    dry weather. Beyond the spring the path soon rises above the
    tree line through a steep scramble and climbs up the knife edge of
    the west spur of Lincoln. The slopes fall sharply on either hand
    to the tremendous ravines far below. These crags must be
    climbed with much care as stones are loose and the cliffs are very
    abrupt. The summit is reached three and three-quarters miles
    from road (three and one-half hours)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    Here is the entrance to the logging road network: Going up on Falling Waters Trail, just before the first crossing of Dry Brook, there is a brushy ramp leading north heading up off the trail. This is the entrance to to network of logging roads. Over the years, I have walked a good number of these roads leading up the ridge. On the FW trail where it last crosses the Dry Brook and turns right onto an old logging road heading towards the stream coming from Shining Rock it follows part of an old logging road for a bit. If you turn around and follow this short section back you will be on one of the old road network sections. If you whack uphill from this short section you will cross two or three old parallel roads that head roughly East-West. Once on top of the ridge spine you will find traces of a very wide road heading up. On the north side of the ridge (where the cave like slot is mentioned by the OP) there is a well defined old road that heads well up into the throat. That particular road really stands out from the terrain if you are looking from the sitting ledges halfway up on the Bridle path. Once when returning from a loop involving OBP and Lib Spr trail I followed the old main logging road from where it crosses Lib Spr trail all the way to where is runs into the FWT. Kind of a fun whackey walk on an old timey logging road. Not easy as much of it is gone through the years.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fthurber View Post
    In researching the gorge on this ridge, I came across (thanks to Steven Smith and Mike Dickerman's The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains) this interesting account of a rather spectacular and now lost (to logging) trail up the west ridge of Mt Lincoln. It is from Carpenter's 1989 Guide Book to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley. Where exactly this trail started is not clear, but it would seem to be somewhere off the Falling Waters trail.

    -----------------------

    The new path cut in 1897 makes this peak accessible to climbers with strong muscles and heads. No others should attempt to climb to it except along the ridge from Lafayette, which is not difficult, but one misses the climb up the glorious west spur of Mt. Lincoln.

    The path to Mt. Lincoln leaves the road at Dry Brook at sign
    marked “Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln." A fine log road leads
    in one-quarter mile (fifteen minutes) to a lumber camp. Cross the
    brook, log bridge; follow log road a short distance to sign “Mt.
    Lincoln" on right of road (east) ; follow log roads (well marked
    in 1897) to wood path two miles (one and one-quarter hours) ;
    climbing a steep slope. In one-half mile (one-half hour) a spring
    is reached near path on right under a shelving rock ; not found in
    dry weather. Beyond the spring the path soon rises above the
    tree line through a steep scramble and climbs up the knife edge of
    the west spur of Lincoln. The slopes fall sharply on either hand
    to the tremendous ravines far below. These crags must be
    climbed with much care as stones are loose and the cliffs are very
    abrupt. The summit is reached three and three-quarters miles
    from road (three and one-half hours)
    Interesting. I had asked about that ridge last year at some point after viewing it from the Kinsmans. The way the sun was hitting the spine of that ridge it almost looked like a trail. It looks like a really interesting climb. I was concerned about the degree of difficulty on the scrambles toward the top and whether climbing equipment would be needed to reach FRT. Cool to see some details on it. Is the guidebook you are referring to for these recent posts still available?
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

  4. #4
    Junior Member fthurber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Interesting. I had asked about that ridge last year at some point after viewing it from the Kinsmans. The way the sun was hitting the spine of that ridge it almost looked like a trail. It looks like a really interesting climb. I was concerned about the degree of difficulty on the scrambles toward the top and whether climbing equipment would be needed to reach FRT. Cool to see some details on it. Is the guidebook you are referring to for these recent posts still available?
    Oops, I made a mistake. The guidebook is from 1898, not 1989! My bad. This guidebook has been digitized and is available online in various places. You might be able to find an original in an antiquarian book shop or via ABE.

    It does indeed seems like an intriguing hike; you would have to check, but it does not seem like there would be any technical parts. The gorge would be technical, but there is no need to do the gorge if you walk the ridge. It should take you right up the summit of Mt. Lincoln, but walking it in warm weather could damage alpine plants if you get above treeline.
    Last edited by fthurber; 01-06-2019 at 10:22 AM. Reason: Added paragraph about the ridge hike

  5. #5
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Interesting. I had asked about that ridge last year at some point after viewing it from the Kinsmans. The way the sun was hitting the spine of that ridge it almost looked like a trail. It looks like a really interesting climb. I was concerned about the degree of difficulty on the scrambles toward the top and whether climbing equipment would be needed to reach FRT. Cool to see some details on it. Is the guidebook you are referring to for these recent posts still available?
    I highly doubt technical gear would be needed. I might give this route a go this summer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I highly doubt technical gear would be needed. I might give this route a go this summer.
    Yah it looks fun. I think you were one of the people that was in this discussion last year. Definitely adding it to "the list".
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

  7. #7
    Junior Member fthurber's Avatar
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    Here is the thread from last year: https://www.vftt.org/forums/showthre...ht=Mt.+Lincoln

    The name of Carpenter's Ridge sounds like a good name for it. It would be an interesting climb.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Guy's book just lists "1897: Up Mt. Lincoln from the west" and the next map marks it as "Lost 1901-1910". Around this time the trail up Liberty was cut in 1901, "soon destroyed by lumbering," and restored 1903.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Yah it looks fun. I think you were one of the people that was in this discussion last year. Definitely adding it to "the list".
    Let me know if you want company. On remote routes like that, not a bad idea to have company.

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