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Thread: Owls Head higher summit

  1. #1
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    Owls Head higher summit

    The purpose of our hike yesterday was three-fold: 1) complete my remaining two peaks for my July list (the two heads, Owls Head and Galehead), 2) use a surveying altimeter to determine if there are higher elevations to the north of the sign on Owls Head, and 3) look for Roy's cannister placed years ago on the ridge of the signed high point.

    We succeeded in the first two, but not the third. Using a Paulin surveying altimeter (+/- 2 ft), we detemined that a good part of the ridge for about 0.2 mi north of the sign is at least 20 ft higher than the signed summit, and one bump about 0.2 mi north is 30 ft higher. We used a decent GPS to determine the distances (excellent signal), and although the GPS also suggested that the ridge had many higher bumps to the north of the sign, the GPS elevation data are less reliable.

    We bushwhacked along the ridge and then directly down to 13 Falls campsite, before heading out over Galehead and the Gale River Trail; many blow downs on the ridge, but otherwise bushwhacking was not too difficult. Total trip was about 20 miles in 12 hours.

  2. #2
    Senior Member spencer's Avatar
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    Nice work, Dr. D.

    Do you have the location of the new Owl's Head summit?

    perhaps things should just stay as they are and those that really care can go to the higher location. Since the existing trail isn't even a "trail" by FS standards, I don't see a need to encourage a runaway trail along the ridge.

    but I know I'll seek it out next time I'm there...

    spencer

  3. #3
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    Excellent! I look forward to seeing your data. Presumably the highest point is near the USGS 4025 point as per the map.

    Did you leave any marks, surverors tape etc? (I know, I know, LNT).

    Last question: did you/could you calibrate against a known point before and/or after your traverse? Or did you return to the signed summit after you surveyed the ridge to get a second reading at the end of your run? In principal the atmospheric pressure could have changed over the course of your traverse.

    You didn't find Roy's cannister. Did you find the Geochachers box?
    Last edited by Papa Bear; 07-22-2005 at 01:54 PM.
    Pb

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spencer
    ...
    perhaps things should just stay as they are and those that really care can go to the higher location. Since the existing trail isn't even a "trail" by FS standards, I don't see a need to encourage a runaway trail along the ridge. ...
    spencer
    Spencer

    I know what you are saying about trailless areas. Unfortunately I expect the Owls Head Ridge will not remain trailless much longer.

    Nevertheless I would suggest the commitee digest the available data, do it's own surveying if it wants to, and then if the concensus is there is a clear higher point to the north, stick a cannister there. It's their call, but clearly grandfathering has precedent. Grandsoning however does not seem appropriate. Leave the sign and cairn? Assume knowledgeable hikers will know what to do? Maybe, but what if you were the one who went there and then found out you should go back? (In fact you are the one, no? and me? and everyone?)

    Anyway, I'm going back too.
    Pb

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  5. #5
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Excellent work! Where did you get that altimeter? A brief web search I did recently turned up only 10-meter accuracy models (and those weren't cheap either).

    I was looking because I was wondering about Mt Guyot: which peak is the true summit? And what is its true prominence? I suspect it belongs on the "list of 48"...

  6. #6
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb
    Excellent work! Where did you get that altimeter? A brief web search I did recently turned up only 10-meter accuracy models (and those weren't cheap either).
    Traditional mechanical barometric altimeters such as the Thrommen models have a 10-meter accuracy.

    Garmin barometric sensor-equipped GPSes have an accuracy spec of "10 feet with proper calibration (user and/or automatic calibration)" and a resolution of 1 foot.

    Thus the number shown on the screen can be within 10 feet, but if you are searching for a local maximum, you can resolve about 2 foot change (difference between 2 measurements, each of which has a 1 foot resolution).

    It will be interesting to plot the locations when Dr. D. posts the locations. Certainly his descriptions so far are consistent with pt 4025.

    Doug

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    Senior Member Puma concolor's Avatar
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    When I finished my 111 on Owl's Head in 1997, it was immediately apparent to me that the location of the sign was more or less of a "best guess." There are numerous wooded summits throughout the Northeast where the true summit is hard to discern and a best faith effort is truly all that is needed. On Owl's Head, as on many other peaks, I recall stomping around for a while after finding the accepted summit and calling it good. On one hand, I think it's cool that Dr. D apparently located the true summit, but let's not fool ourselves ... we can all go re-climb Owl's Head and then find out there's a higher bump on any number of other peaks. We could all truly drive ourselves nuts climbing and reclimbing the same mountains.

    My 111 patch felt a little tainted after new surveys placed Reddington and Spaulding above 4K and switched Wildcat E to Wildcat D. I really felt I had to climb those mountains. Redefining an ill-defined summit - as in this Owl's Head example - is an entirely different story in my opinion.
    Last edited by Mark S; 07-22-2005 at 08:24 PM.

  8. #8
    Junior Member dluxcheez's Avatar
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    Having shared some time & photo ops on Owl's Head, I'm glad to hear you guys had a successful day. My trip back to Lincoln Woods was uneventful and I was back to my car by 6:30. Hope the pictures come out well. Cheers.
    "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." -Jebediah Springfield

  9. #9
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dasypodidae
    3) look for Roy's cannister placed years ago on the ridge of the signed high point.

    We succeeded in the first two, but not the third.
    I'm not surprised :-)

    The canister myth was started by an enthusiastic young guy who never corrects his old posts after I told him about the geocache. See http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...4989#post84989

    Other people including myself felt that it might be slightly higher to the N, but if it's really 20-30' the sign probably should be moved.

    And that sounds like a great hike. I've been to 13 Falls as a day hike from Rte.3 which is actually shorter than from Rte.112 but I've never done the traverse.
    Last edited by RoySwkr; 07-25-2005 at 06:34 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cath's Avatar
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    Hey PTD ~ Now do you have that NW bushwack route spotted for next years Winter double-header? With the usual mid-morning start, to guarantee that the trip section after the summit of OH will be in the dark, of course
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  11. #11
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    Good Morning.
    This reply is to provide more info on the Owls' Head measurements, in particular to some points raised by Papa Bear.
    I accompanied Dr. Dasypodidae, who is currently hiking out west and will return on or about Aug. 22.
    Considering we only needed about 20 minutes to get from the Owl's Head sign to the high point, there was no need to return to the sign and calibrate the altimeter. The altimeter did not drift even 2 feet over the 30 minutes we took for lunch while at the sign.
    We looked, but did not find a cannister (pretty thick up on the ridge!). We did not put any serious effort into finding the geocachers box.
    Upon his return Dr. Dasypodidae will post gps lat/long for the two points that were measured.

  12. #12
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    Coords of true Owls Head Summit?

    "Upon his return Dr. Dasypodidae will post gps lat/long for the two points that were measured." - They don't seem to have been posted... at least to this thread.

    2014 and I'm getting ready to go back to Owls Head for the 4th time... (and 3rd since higher summit was first found... and forgotten about!)

    Would really like to know coordinates of true summit.. so I can finally go there :-)

    Bob

  13. #13
    Senior Member MichaelJ's Avatar
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    The higher summit wasn't forgotten about - a bunch of herd paths all formed to go there from the "former" summit. It's quite obvious now.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Edward Abbey

  14. #14
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    There should be a small cairn at the new summit along with a distinctive y shaped birch tree.

    Tim

  15. #15
    Member Hikes with Hannah's Avatar
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    I was just there this past weekend - the cairn is good-sized and definitely bigger than when I was up there in April. Someone also carved "O.H. TOP" into a birch tree at face level on the right just before entering the small summit clearing.
    Trail adopter: Webster Cliff Trail from junction with Webster branch of WJT to Mt. Jackson

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