So folks are finally climbing Mt Forest in Berlin

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peakbagger

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For folks who manage to make it north of RT2 and drive through Berlin, there is very large open ledge complex that acts as backdrop to the west side of the city. There is an very old hiking trail to summit and there is access to the summit from the backside via ATV and snowmachines. With the exception of occasional national guard training events over the years its pretty rare for anyone to be climbing these ledges. I have heard references over the years that the rock is the "wrong type" or "greasy"but always expected that the juxtaposition of working class town and the pulp mill with rock climbing kept most folks away. The pulp mill has been gone for close to 10 years and apparently there is starting to be more use of the cliffs by rock climbers to the point where there is map of climbing routes and the city is looking at building a parking lot. Its been years since I climbed the hiking trail which runs to the left of the cliffs. I do remember the great views and the abundant blueberries. Given the big tourist influx into the city by the ATV crowd and now climbers I guess the next step is a pub with microbrewery. Considering the real estate at the base of the cliff is probably 10% of the value of properties below the similar ledges in North Conway I expect some folks are attracted by the low costs of living.

There is article in the Tuesday Berlin Daily Sun (free subscription) http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/Launch.aspx?PBID=8c4af509-8814-415a-bfa7-07ab466afc1a

Note: older maps refer to this summit as Mt Forist. and the local street is called Mt Forist Street.
 
Climbed there back in the late 70's. Back then the scene was down in North Conway and elsewhere. This place was a bit off the radar as at that point you were on your own as far as route finding in contrast to other crags which had guide books. We have more climbers now and much more info. One of the old cliches was "Loose lips lost trips". We now have a different mentality with the Information Age. Expect the same thing to happen as it already is with the ski scene as the ground swell for increased backcountry access is waxing. In fact a work trip has already been scheduled in many places including Randolph Hill Road to do light cutting in hopes of increase backcountry glade skiing.
 
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Climbed there back in the late 70's. Back then the scene was down in North Conway and elsewhere. This place was a bit off the radar as at that point you were on your own as far as route finding in contrast to other crags which had guide books. We have more climbers now and much more info. One of the old cliches was "Loose lips lost trips". We now have a different mentality with the Information Age. Expect the same thing to happen as it already is with the ski scene as the ground swell for increased backcountry access is waxing. In fact a work trip has already been scheduled in many places including Randolph Hill Road to do light cutting in hopes of increase backcountry glade skiing.

Hopefully you are going to check with the Randolph Community Forest prior to opening up glades?. I expect they would be receptive but they do take their forest management seriously. I plan to be doing some serious clipping on my property in Randolph (which abuts the town forest) to knock back an over abundance of beech but I would be pretty upset if someone else was clipping without permission.
 
Hopefully you are going to check with the Randolph Community Forest prior to opening up glades?. I expect they would be receptive but they do take their forest management seriously. I plan to be doing some serious clipping on my property in Randolph (which abuts the town forest) to knock back an over abundance of beech but I would be pretty upset if someone else was clipping without permission.
Actually no cutting only weed killer....only kidding...Check out Granite Back Country Alliance.
 
I see it on the map, Mt Forist (with an i) 2068. Is there a rivir nearby? Seems pretty obvious that the climbing face should be called The Berlin Wall. Maybe a hallway point could be named Checkpoint Charlie. A climb on the east side of the face called The Eastern Bloc? Just riffing here.
 
Dennis
since it is in your back yard, how about a guided hike (not climb). What is the group size for this unmarked trail? :)
 
Seems pretty obvious that the climbing face should be called The Berlin Wall.

Brilliant! Or we could name it after our very own wall.

Do you go by 'Canada Jay' when you want to be more incognito? 😉

Dennis, any photos of that painted eye still about?
 
Brilliant! Or we could name it after our very own wall.

Do you go by 'Canada Jay' when you want to be more incognito? ��

I have never used that pseudonym, nor am I known as Whiskey Jack although Chamberlain once called me Barfly for finishing his margarita.
Thank you for asking Senor Beltran. Or should I say Belasko? Ok that's pretty obscure but they both mean Raven.
 
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Unfortunately the elephants eye was faded when I moved up here in 1987.

The former trail follows a cleft in the clifts. Unless its been reblazed hitting it the first time would be a challenge, that and the old trail head had a house built on it so until Berlin puts in a new access point I might hold off on guided tours.
 
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Brilliant! Or we could name it after our very own wall.

Do you go by 'Canada Jay' when you want to be more incognito? ��

I have never used that pseudonym, nor am I known as Whiskey Jack although Chamberlain once called me Barfly for finishing his margarita.
Thank you for asking Senor Beltran. Or should I say Belasko? Ok that's pretty obscure but they both mean Raven.

When I want to disappear, I join a group of crows and try to appear small. Call me Muninn if you like. Now Whiskey Jack, that's a good name.

I drove by the wall last night and stopped to take a look. I've always wondered why there's not more going on there. It's quite a wall.
 
Having lived in the area since 87, the local pulp mill although a major economic engine did impact the local environment. Prior to 1991, there were two recovery boilers, one was 1946 vintage which lacked any emission controls and the newer 1967 boiler that had a energy savings option, called a direct contact evaporator, that did increase the efficiency of the boiler but the trade off was a lot more odor in the region along with very high SO2 emissions. On a warm day the taste of SO2 was in the air. In 1991 James River the current owner closed down the 1946 boiler and "rebuilt" the 1967 boiler. It was rebuilt in name only and was actually replaced with what was at the time the cleanest recovery boiler in the US possibly the world. For various permit reasons, the boiler had to operate far cleaner than any other boiler in the US and it was quite effective. This really cleaned up the air in the region but an economic tradeoff was made by James River to install a process that made the facility operate more acidic, this caused a higher generation of very foul smelling sulfur compounds from the process. I spent several years and millions of dollars installing projects and systems to reduce these sulfur compounds but given that some of the them are detectible in parts per billion, even though the numeric amount was reduced substantially, the remaining trace amounts were still quite detectable especially to visitors. It was quite noticeable that locals became "nose blind" but visitors were not. When I left the area for a week or two and came home (usually from Portland) I would pick up the odor at a certain corner on RT2 near the Gilead/West Bethel line. Eventually around 2004 the mill installed a steam stripping process that further reduced the odor but by then the facility had been purchased by Fraser Papers which acted as shell for Brookfield Renewable Resources to strip the remaining valuable assets which were the hydro plants on the river. Once that was accomplished and the books had time to settle, the pulp mill was closed in 2006 and torn down soon after except for the boiler which is now a biomass boiler which also was rebuilt to exceed fairly stringent environmental standards.

The combination of a less than pleasant local environment and the extra hour from Boston and southern NH both probably led to these cliffs begin under appreciated. I expect that an urban environment right at the base of the cliffs also served as a deterrent. It is interesting to note that despite the pulpmill being out of operation for more than 10 years, there are still people who think that it is still in operation.

The other potential hidden gem is one of the biggest potential urban whitewater stretches in the region. Despite the presence of hydro dams, there is about 200 feet of drop in the river as it goes through town, much of the original river bed remains despite the two major diversion penstocks which bypass much of the rivers flow. The most recent google earth image (9/18/2013) actually was taken when the lower dam was closed down for maintenance so the original flow of the river is shown. The upper section north of the lower dam immediately west of the pulpmill is in steep stone gorge that few people ever access. Generally any attempt at accessing the upper gorge has been resisted by the owner of the dam as they realize that if the public ever saw the area they would want it improved. The original developer of the biomass plant was going to provide public access but the subsequent owner traded it off for a snow machine route outside the fence. The lower section is publically accessible but it is serious whitewater going through the remains of a much older mill that left all sorts of potential hazards in place.

The majority of the folks using the cliffs appear to be relatively new to the area, the older mill workers are slowly dying off or moving away and that means lots of housing is available quite cheap. Like any city there are rough neighborhoods but there are also some nice ones and homes can be had for less than 50 K with some folks picking some up for 25K. Berlin has actively been sprucing up the city and they are starting to open up access along the river with various river walks. There are zero municipal or industrial wastewater treatment plants north of the cross power hydro station near the Berlin Gorham line so the river is effectively as pristine as the water in Lake Umbagog. Folk actively fish right across the street from their homes north of the sawmill hydro dam which is above the northern most extent of possible contamination from the former mill operations.
 
lots of housing is available quite cheap. Like any city there are rough neighborhoods but there are also some nice ones and homes can be had for less than 50 K with some folks picking some up for 25K. Berlin has actively been sprucing up the city and they are starting to open up access along the river with various river walks.
Every time I go through I just think it's a fundamentally gorgeous city. Very nice location, I like the way it's laid out, most of the housing clearly needs work but is obviously structurally solid.
 
Sulfur compounds are a good deterrent to visitors. Thanks for the explanation. Berlin is a great spot. The downtown stretch has been improving over the years. Don't know if they make any money. If I owned that little convenience store in front of the wall, I might look at rethinking my inventory. I've looked at the white water stretch in the river near the mills. That is some serious churning in there. Big climbing wall and pretty good white water walking distance apart. Nansen ski jump cleared out and improved. Maybe an opportunity here. Hopefully the people of Berlin can benefit.
 
I've been up there via Snowmachine many times. What makes this one great is the view of the City below... it transforms views as we know it.. looking down on a City from directly above and seeing people and cars etc going about there lives in miniature is surreal for one..I'm surprised there isn't a well used hiking route up there.. I would assume one could hike up the roads leading up..
 
Been up there several times myself. Certainly wasn't the first person up there, looks like a decent enough party spot for some. Not trashed by any means, but definitely gets some local use.
 
The summit definitely gets a lot of use since the ATV park went in and even before that.
 
I had always understood that Forist had a lot of soot on the rock. May have read that in one of the Ed Webster guides. In any event, it always looked like a mini Whitehorse to me. Would be cool if it were re-developed. I suspect that, in addition to the historical negative rap, climbers have foregone Forist in search of more pristine back country crags, like Bald Cap over off Success Pond road.
 
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