Here I will share my travels throughout the majestic White Mountains of NH and also delve into some of the area's rich history and forgotten places. I do this in hopes of getting others excited about exploring these wonderful places.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mt. Adams - 7/28/09

Mt. Adams was one of the mountains that I really had been wanting to revisit (seems so many fall into this category). The first time I had been denied any view at all from the summit and I had heard so much about it being among the best of them all. This time I decided I would take my time and skip climbing it’s neighbor Mt. Madison, but I would choose a different route this time. I wanted to check out King Ravine too, as I enjoy challenging trails and I had heard many good things about this area. Not to mention I had been fascinated gazing into this cirque from the Knife Edge above it on my previous trip.

Walls of King Ravine seen from the ravine floor

I got a slightly later start than I was hoping for, but was still on the trail fairly early and was making my way along the Air Line. I meandered along, branching off onto the Short Line. On the later sections of this trail are some gorgeous spots along the brook and Mossy Falls is a pleasant distraction as well. At the junction with King Ravine Trail, I dropped my pack and had my lunch in the shade, enjoying the sun filtering through the trees, despite it being rather warm and sticky.

Some large boulders on the ravine floor

After lunch I shouldered the pack once more and set out up to the ravine floor. This is an amazing place! The most striking thing about the ravine, other than the views up the towering walls, was the gigantic boulders strewn about. I opted to take the route called “The Elevated” and bypass the caves, figuring I check these out the next time I visited. I began the steep climb up the ravine wall shortly after.

Some big slabs on the higher portion of the King Ravine Trail

This climb, while steep, isn’t as exposed as something like the North Tripyramid slide or the Huntington Ravine Trail, but I can’t say I’d want to descend via this route, as I saw one couple doing. There aren’t really any long slabby sections to friction climb up, but there is a lot of large boulders to clamber up and over. These, however, make for great places to sit down and take in the sights. Directly across the ravine is the Randolph Mountain Club’s Crag Camp, a small hut perched rather dramatically on the wall of the ravine.

The view across the ravine, if you look hard you can find Crag Camp (click to enlarge)

After climbing up through the Gateway at the top of the King Ravine Trail I emerged back on the Air Line trail. Here I took another breather before setting out for the summit of Adams. Mt. Madison and the hut below the peak, were abuzz with activity. I began the climb to Adams, following the cairns along the rocky footway (hard to call it a trail at this point). Many people were coming down off the top as I made my way up.

"The Gateway"

As I reached the summit I was pleasantly surprised to see I had it all to myself. I stood with jaw dropped, taking in the best view of Mt. Washington and the Great Gulf I have ever seen. Mt. Jefferson to the right looked majestic as well. I couldn’t have been blessed with a better view.

Lovely little meadow near the top

Mt.Washington rises over the Great Gulf, Clay and Jefferson to the right

The late afternoon sun cast a golden light over everything and I was glad that I had got a later start than planned. I took pictures aplenty and let my legs rest for a bit, before beginning the hike back to the car. I descended using the scenic Air Line, which traverses the Knife Edge of Durand Ridge. By the time I got to the car my legs were beat, but my spirits were high. I had finally got to see the view from Adams in all its splendor, as well as the experience of hiking up through King Ravine. Needless to say, I look forward to many return trips!

Mt. Madison rises over Star Lake, the minor peak of John Quincy Adams in the foreground

The sign at the summit, the only thing I could see on my last visit

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