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Mt Pemigewasset
November 23, 2008

Route: Mt Pemigewasset Trail


2557 ft

Vertical Climb:

1316 ft


3.6 miles

Who Went:

Paul (solo)

This was my second hike of the day. In the morning, after an aborted attempt (due to my inability to drive up the slippery Zealand Rd) to climb Mt Hale via Zealand Falls Hut and the Lend-a-Hand Trail, I had quickly changed my plans to climb the much lower Sugarloaf peaks. As this climb was less than I had planned for the day, I decided to drive on over to Franconia Notch in the afternoon to climb Mt Pemigewasset (Indian Head), a small peak that I hadn't yet climbed.

I parked in the Flume Visitor Center parking lot and took the Mt Pemigewasset Trail, which left from the west end of the lot and then crossed under the two lanes of I-93 before reaching the gentle slopes of the mountain. I had recently bought a pair of STABILicers to use when crampons were overkill. Although they gave decent traction, several of the spikes had broken off while climbing Sugarloaf, so I wasn't really happy with them and decided not to put them on just yet.

The trail angled moderately up the mountain, first heading north and then curving back to the west and southwest. Right before the summit, it turned left and steepened, soon reaching the top from the north. It was considerably warmer than it had been in the morning on Sugarloaf, and after taking a picture of myself, I was ready to take my hood off.

To the west, there was an interesting cliff with a sheer drop, behind which stood North and South Kinsman. To the south, the long thin ribbon of I-93 wound though the hills into the distance.

The most interesting views, however, were in the east where the much higher Franconia Range towered over the notch. Mts Liberty and Flume each had a slight touch of rime ice, but Mt Lafayette was draped in a thick coating of rime and snow, looking solemn in its winter attire.

Before heading down, I decided to put on my STABILicers since I was much more likely to slip on the icy trails during my descent than while climbing. Back at the car, I was dismayed to discover that a few more spikes had broken off. This should not have happened as I was careful to avoid stepping on rocks. I was also disappointed in the STABILicers' rear straps, which tended to slip off my heels. Later, at home, I returned them and bought a pair of Katoola Microspikes, which have fared far better and are much lighter to boot (pun intended).

Trailhead. The Mt Pemigewasset Trail leaves from west side of the Flume Visitor Center's parking lot, first crossing under I-93.

Self-portrait on the summit of Mt Pemigewasset. The Kinsmans are behind me in the distance.

South-facing cliffs and the Kinsmans from the open ledges of Mt  Pemigewasset.

Looking south Like a pair of intertwined ribbons, the two lanes of I-93 wind through the distant hills.

Mt Liberty (left) and Mt Flume (right) from the summit of Mt Pemigewasset.

Mt Lafayette. Rime-covered Lafayette is the northernmost and tallest peak on Franconia Ridge.

Back down again. Mt Flume from the Flume Visitor Center's parking lot.


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