Trip report

Get High Hike #2: Mt.Adams

Hiking/Walk DATE: 06/27/2015 - 06/27/2015

Trip/Event Location: Randolph, NH

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh

Max # People: 15

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Very Strenuous

Mt. Adams, [5,799'] is the second highest moutain in Northeast but there is also nothing else second-rate about this ruggedly spectacular mountain! Some say that it's the most interesting

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

We will meet at Lowe's Store, on Route 2, that is between Gorham and Jefferson NH. The store also has a gas station. They charge a small fee for parking.

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

Trail Length: ~9.4 miles
Total Ascent: ~4700 feet

The Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains boasts "the worlds worst weather". The highest land wind speed ever recorded occurred in 1934 on the summit of Mt. Washington and was 231 MPH. While no recording devices exist on Mt. Adams, one can assume, due to its close proximity and relative height, conditions are only slightly "less severe" on its summit.

Mt. Adams is in the northern Presidential's and is between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Madison. Most trail guides suggest that this mountain only be attempted in decent weather conditions for two reasons. One, the views are considered by many to be the finest in the White Mountains and not to be missed; and two, by any approach, there is solidly 1 to 1.5 miles above treeline and completely exposed to the elements. Additionally, the rocks are jumbled and footing is, to say the very least, rough.

The forecast on the morning of our hike called for increasing clouds, winds aloft at 20 MPH, and summit temperatures in the low 50's. It turned out to be a great day to be above treeline! The sun was in and out of the clouds, but overall visibility was great  

At about 8:00 AM, we parked at Lowe's Store ($1.00 fee) on Route 2, met everyone who signed up for the hike and walked about 100 yds up the road to the Lowe's Path trailhead. The trail starts out gentle enough and soon passes a RR bed and several power lines. It was very muddy beneath the power lines! The trail at this point climbs moderately but steady for the first few miles. At we approached the Log Cabin the trail steepened noticeably.   

At 2.4 miles we reached the Log Cabin, a nice log cabin structure that is similar to a lean-to, but more enclosed. Beyond the Log Cabin, we negotiated the toughest stretch of the day. At about 4400', we reached “The Quay”, an open ledgy area that provided good views west.

We checked out the two-story Gray Knob Cabin that is favored by winter hikers for its wood stove. We got more water from jugs near the sink. There was nobody in the cabin and it was decorated with party balloons. I guess they celebrated marriage equality in the USA last night!

We returned to the Quay and resumed our climb up Lowe’s Path. We had 1.6 miles to the summit of Mt. Adams. We then reached the krumholtz zone and only the stunted, twisted trees of this zone remain. The trail moderates a bit and we entered the barren "alpine zone" soon after. From here on out, it is nothing but rocks, and tons of them at that. It was never truly steep, but extremely rocky and rough, with constant views!

At about 4.1 miles we passed by the minor summit of Adams 4 (5355'). We headed up gently to a place called Thunderstorm Junction in the saddle between Adams proper and another minor summit to the SW. There is a large cairn there. We were felt fine. Luckily, there was no rain, which would have made this ascent, downright dangerous. We chose to ascend the final .3 miles and 309 feet to the summit. 

There was hardly any wind that is quite amazing for this high peak! We reached the summit at 5799' and there were about 20 hikers at the summit having lunch and enjoying views. Even a beagle made it to the top!

Since it is the second highest mountain in the Northeast, and is placed in the middle of the most extensive alpine landscape in the eastern United States, bear with us as we exclaim that the views from Mount Adams are among the best! The rocky cone of Mount Madison is less than a mile to the northeast, and Mounts Jefferson and Washington line up to the south. At our feet, the mountain slopes plunged into the void of Great Gulf. We even saw Camel's Hump and Mt. Mansfield in Vermont!

After lunch we descended off the cone. It was slow going above treeline with all the rocks but we made good progress. While the summit itself was busy, the trail itself was eerily quiet throughout the day.  

We all did fine on this hike. This hike was “The Bomb”, we felt like true explorers and had huge smiles at the end.  

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

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