Mt. Madison [5366'] & Mt. Adams [5717']
Hiking/Walk DATE: 08/06/2011 - 08/06/2011
Trip/Event Location: Gorham, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Very Strenuous
We will hike up the Air Line to do Adams. Then we will go to Madison and also check out the brand new Madison Hut. We will return via the Valley Way back to the trailhead.
THIS IS AN ADVANCE HIKE&...
We will be starting at Appalachia from US 2. The large parking area at Appalachia is one of the major trailheads in the Whites. It's located on the left side of US 2, 5.5 miles from the NH 16/US 2 junction in Gorham; or on the right ride of US 2, 2 miles from Lowe's Store in Randolph. If you need additional directions, please contact us.
It was time to spend a day on the rough granite trails of Mt. Adams and Madison. We decided to use King Ravine to pursue our targets instead of our original plan of using the Airline Trail.
We arrived at Appalachia early to find the lot almost full. We started out on Air Line for the hike to Short Line junction, and from there we hiked Short Line to King Ravine Trail. Everything was clear and dry. The small amount of mud we found along the way was easy to get past. Once we hit King Ravine Trail the scenery got more interesting and so did the trail.
The first noteworthy place is Mossy Falls on Cold Brook. By the time we reached this point the boulders had already started to show up. The floor of King Ravine is a field of huge boulders. We passed Mossy Falls and the trail changed to a walkway through the boulder field; and the change happened fast. In a very short time we were using hands and feet to make progress. The King Ravine Trail is one of my favorites mainly because of the boulders, caves, and headwall climb. It’s a huge jungle gym. We planned on enjoying all of it.
After getting into the boulder field, the trail goes to an open area where there are great views in all directions, especially up. Up includes Durand Ridge on the east, the headwall straight ahead, and the west ridge with Crag Camp. Down low, it’s all boulders...huge boulders. The trail goes over and around the boulders on its way to the headwall. There are a couple diversions available for a little added variety. We planned to enjoy these diversions.
Subway, as the name suggests, goes under the boulders. We took Subway on our way through King Ravine. In Subway, there are some pretty tight places and on two occasions I had to remove my pack, push it ahead, and then follow to keep making progress. Eventually, we popped out of the boulders back on trail.
We continued on to Ice Caves, which is actually a series of shorter cave segments. When we reached the entrance there was a cold breeze coming out of the cave; nature's air conditioning for a bunch of sweaty guys! We started in. Again, there were places where my pack came off to make progress. We did find some ice.
Back on the elevated trail we were starting into the steep climb of the headwall. In fact, while passing through the cave loops we gained quite a bit of elevation. At the first boulder that was high and in the clear we could see back to the open boulder area where we started into Subway.
Basically the climb up the headwall is a pile of boulders that goes seemingly straight up - 1100' in a half mile. Although it's incredibly steep it is basically just a continual series of rock scrambles over the boulders all with good footing and handholds. There was no place on the way up that the vertigo kicked in. This was just one really fun climb!!
Nearing the top the trail cuts through a steep cleft with the overhanging end of Durand Ridge on one side and steep slabs on the other. Emerging on the Airline Trail we took one last look down into the ravine and marveled at how steep it looks and how much fun it had been. ?We did not see any evidence of people around but we ran into about five people on the descent from the summit of Adams. It was definitely a nice day to be wandering the Northern Presidentials. We made a steady climb to the summit to find it all to ourselves. We removed our packs, relaxed for a while and had lunch. Soon we met young, cute, and shirtless Brandon who chatted with us on the summit. It was time to get moving and we started for Madison using the Star Lake Trail; a first for most of us.
Part of the plan for the day included water re-supply at the refurbished Madison Spring Hut. The water system there was getting a good work out and we were treated to really good, very cold water. We filled our water bottles. The hut looked great with larger windows, seperated bunk rooms and new walls/tables. It appears they added an extension to enlarge the kitchen, crew quarters and improve the restrooms.
After the break at the hut we set off for the final target for the day. A half mile and ~550 feet in elevation and we were standing on the summit of Madison. We enjoyed the breeze and the scenery.
Hiking the Northern Presidentials is a little more work than most other areas. We were getting tired and we still had an exit hike ahead of us. Slightly rested and recharged we grabbed our packs and started out. From Madison Hut we took Valley Way.
For the most part this trail has very good footing but for some reason it seems to take forever no matter how fast my perceived rate of travel. It took us 2 1/2 hours to descend even though it felt like we were flying.
Thanks everyone, it was a really fun day. I’m glad we hiked the caves this time through King Ravine.
There are 92 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)
What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- I love these peaks! I've been up them several times before via King Ravine, and somehow never got to see the Subway and the Ice Caves. I also had always wanted to hike down to Star Lake. Saturday was my dream come true for the Northern Presidentials. Great scenery. Great company. New side trails. And a great new pack. :-) - JR
- Wow!! That was a great hike. John & Mike. Thank you for bring me back to the embrace of the Whites and thank you guys for being such good company. My mind will glow for a long time under my bunt skin. Cheers to you all. - liketodo
JR Aug 8, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Comment: I love these peaks! I've been up them several times before via King Ravine, and somehow never got to see the Subway and the Ice Caves. I also had always wanted to hike down to Star Lake. Saturday was my dream come true for the Northern Presidentials. Great scenery. Great company. New side trails. And a great new pack. :-)
liketodo Aug 7, 2011 at 7:16 PM
Comment: Wow!! That was a great hike. John & Mike. Thank you for bring me back to the embrace of the Whites and thank you guys for being such good company. My mind will glow for a long time under my bunt skin. Cheers to you all.