Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Epic Katahdin Hike


Last weekend I had the pleasure to hike Mount Katahdin and it was the most "EPIC" hike I have ever had. For those of you who are adventure nuts, Epic may not be a word you use to describe hiking.

But this was! Cathedral trail to summit to knife edge and down via Heelon Taylor. No problem right? Wrong.
We took 6 hours to make the beautiful summit. The views up the Cathedral trail were to die for.
While at the top, we saw two through hikers reach the summit. They had done the 2000+ mile hike all the way from Georgia on the AT.

I felt my first rain drop at the summit. We started across the Knife's Edge as more clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. I give my friend Marc Gasbarro who is afraid of heights (the AMC trail guide recommends against the Knife's Edge trail if you have a fear of heights) a ton of credit for hiking across the Knife's edge. We moved to South Peak where the Knife's edge started to get interesting. Soon after that the skies opened and the wind and hail came down. My hands were getting cold, and I was scared. At one point we thought we heard thunder, but it was just the wind.

The Knife's Edge was the longest 1.1 mile of my life! Just when you think you are going over the last summit, there is another one. And when you finally get close to the end, you have to down climb a "Trail" down a 50 foot cliff off of Chimney Peak. The knife's edge is rated a hike, but this is in my opinion, unroped free climbing down 5.0- 5.1 terrain. Only one or two down climbing moves, but with a nasty fall below you, it was enough to make it freaky!

3 hours after starting on the knife's edge, we reached the other side. But we weren't done yet. Now we had to descent approximately 4000 feet down the "easier" Heelon Taylor trail. No easy feet. Still plenty of boulders to walk down the face of, and loose rocks to ... DOH! ... Down goes my buddy Mark Vendome and twists an ankle. With a sprained ankle, he still had to hike 3.3 miles down! Well major props to Mark, he hiked out on a sprained ankle, and this was no easy hike. It was boulders and rocks all the way back to the Roaring Brook Trail 0.1 mile from the Parking Lot.

Check out my photos on http://ourkatahdintrip.wetpaint.com/photos

Thanks, skierbrian

With over 7 hours over tree line, and a 13 mile hike. This was an Epic hike.
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