Mt Adams had been on our list of the couple of remaining Presidential summits that we haven't hit yet (along with Jefferson). I've also wanted to do King Ravine although I had just considered a hike around the Ravine floor and not going up what appeared to be an impossible headwall. Reading the trail description again though it didn't seem overly crazy. I'm still dealing with acrophobia and will likely never make it into Huntington Ravine and some of the other equally vertigo inducing locations in the Whites, but King's sounded doable. And so we had a plan...
We decided to get a head start on the rest of the group to give our several-weeks-since-hiking legs a chance to warm up and we hit the trail at 7:30 - about 1/2 hour ahead of them. We made good time on the Airline and Shortline and were taking a break at the King Ravine Trail junction when Tim, Val and Mark caught up with us. The lower sections were nice and the early morning air still had some coolness - particularly when compared to Friday's 100 degree heat.
Nice walking on the Shortline
Heading up the lower King Ravine trail
Tim claims one of the monster boulders
Heading across the ravine floor we came to the Subway - a section of particularly large boulders with a path leading over, under and through them. The group split here and Tim, Val and Nat headed into the maze while Mark and I took the high road on the El (Elevated) bypass around the Subway.
The Subway entrance
Tim, Val and Nat above the Subway
Top of the Subway from the El
Nat getting ready to squeeze through the exit
Looks like she had fun!
Nat heading into the Ice Caves
There really is ice in here!
Views back down the ravine
Soon after the caves we reached the base of the headwall. Looking up we tried to figure out where on the wall the trail went. It didn't really seem like it was possible that any of the lines up could really be a trail. Basically it's 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!!
Reaching the base of the headwall
Looking for the path. Hmmm.
One big pile o' rocks!
Nat checking out the views
Huge outcrop on top of Durand Ridge
One steep ledge. The blazes do *not* go up here!
The profile of George Washington greets us at the top.
The final scramble
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 then headed off on the Gulfside Trail to Thunderstorm Junction to attack Jefferson from the other side.
Mt Madison and Madison Hut
Looking back down the chute
Down to the ravine floor.
Lunch at Thunderstorm Junction before heading to the summit
Celebrating #25 on the summit of Mt Adams
Mark and Tim enjoying the summit
Nat with Mt Washington behind her along with all our other Seek the Peak friends
Mt Jefferson from Adams. See you soon...
We headed down the Spur Trail toward Crag Camp getting the increasingly amazing views back into King Ravine and across Adams to Madison. After a hot climb we had been blessed with cool breezes along the ridge and at the summit. It was just an incredible day to be above treeline!
Madison and Quincy Adams over King Ravine
Tim enjoying the view from Knight's Castle
Arrow shows trail
Entire headwall route seen from Crag Camp
It was a hot walk down the rest of the way with the cool breezes long gone in the trees. It was an enjoyable walk in any case and the way down the rest of the Spur Trail, Randolph Path and the Shortline went quickly. Unfortunately my knee decided to act up the last couple of miles but that did nothing to take away from a fantastic hike. Ah, the joys of aging knees. We dashed back to the campground, took a wonderful cool dip in the lake and got down to the Seek the Peak dinner just in time for turkey! We had a blast for the rest of the evening and were very happy to hear that this had been one of the most successful Seek the Peak events ever, raising over $180,000 for the Obs. Fantastic! The "after party" at the campground was great (thanks Kevin and Judy) and it was nice hanging out with even more friends. All in all a perfect end to a perfect day!
Postscript: On Sunday we'd planned to hike with the group again but sadly my knee had other ideas. While they headed off to Cabot we had what turned out to be a great day hiking a few miles of the Moat Mountain trail, having nice lunch at Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery (yum) and then hiking the Lost Pond trail. The nice easy miles got my knee stretched out and back to normal and we thoroughly enjoyed the bluebird day and the views from some unplanned vantage points.
The Kilted Clan - top Seek the Peak fundraisers! (Erich should be here too!)
Post Seek the Peak sunset
Mt Washington from North Conway on Sunday
Mt Washington over Lost Pond
One more day to go in our long weekend and another mountain seemed to be calling - but that's another story...
LOTS more pictures from Mt Adams, Google Earth route view and route map here: https://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/KingRavineMtAdams72311#
And of the Seek the Peak event and Sunday here: https://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/SeekThePeak2011?authkey=Gv1sRgCMzd64-htcj2sQE#