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Climbing the Twins and Galehead in November


Climbing the White Mountain 4000 footers will get tougher in November with the onset of colder climate, seasonal and fireplace highway closings, chilly water crossings, and fewer sunlight hours. However the present should go on in case you’re mountaineering The White Mountain 4000 Footer Grid, which requires mountaineering all 48 of the 4000 footers, as soon as in every calendar month of the 12 months, totaling 576 summits. I’m taking pictures to complete 100 extra 4000 footers summits this 12 months (2021), which is able to get me about 2/3 of the way in which via the 576 summits required to complete The Grid. This can be a multi-year challenge, however that’s half the enjoyable of engaged on a giant peakbagging record.

Route Plan

  • North Twin Path – 4.3 miles; 2900′ ascent
  • North Twin Spur – 1.3 miles; 300′  ascent
  • Twinway – 0.8 miles
  • Frost Path – 1.0 miles (out and again to Galehead summit); 250′ ascent
  • Garfield Ridge Path – 0.6 miles
  • Gale River Path – 4.1 miles
  • Automobiles at North Twin Trailhead (Haystack Rd), Gale River Trailhead (Gale River Loop)

The primary of the fireplace and seasonal roads within the White Mountain Nationwide Forest have been gated this week and others will quickly comply with. This makes it tougher to journey from one finish of the forest to the opposite and to entry a number of the extra distant trailheads. There’s no set schedule for these highway closings, that are dictated by a number of state and federal businesses, and no public announcement of them both. TrailNH’s Forest Roads and Gates Standing has a crowdsourced record of the highway closures that’s very updated, nevertheless it’s all the time good to have a plan B in late autumn, winter, or early spring if a seasonal or fireplace highway you have been relying on to be open has been gated closed.

A frosty morning along The Little River
A frosty morning alongside The Little River

The fireplace roads resulting in the trailhead tons we wanted for this hike have been nonetheless ungated, though one close by highway is now closed. I anticipate that may change quickly and possibly earlier than Thanksgiving.

Karen fords The Little River wearing Wiggy’s Waders
Karen fords The Little River carrying Wiggy’s Waders

The primary a part of this hike travels on the North Twin Path alongside The Little River. We hiked up it to the primary stream crossing, earlier than passing it on an institutionalized bypass (dare I say bushwhack) that skips it and a second as properly. Once we got here to the third crossing, my buddies, Ken, Karen, and myself used Wiggy’s Waders to cross the river. That’s the largest problem in chilly climate on this route, that third stream crossing.

Ken crossing The Little River
Ken crossing The Little River

I crossed first after which rolled up the gaiters, put a rock inside, and threw them again throughout to Ken and Karen on the opposite aspect of the river. Karen crossed subsequent, and we threw the gaiters over to Ken, who came visiting final. Ken and I skilled a small leak, however Karen acquired throughout completely dry.

I’m repairing the leak with a tire restore patch and rubber cement and I anticipate we’ll be watertight once more. I totally anticipated having to patch them sooner or later, so this wasn’t a whole shock. They’re very light-weight and subsequently much less sturdy than I’d most likely favor. Nonetheless, we’ve used them on a couple of hikes with chilly stream crossings (Carrigain, Owls Head) that might have been far more tough with out waders.

Ken and Karen set a good pace as we climbed up North Twin Mountain
Ken and Karen set tempo as we climbed North Twin Mountain

As soon as throughout, we began to climb, and climb, and climb. The path climbs at a gentle grade that will get step by step steeper as you get increased. The floor of the path began off simply being rocky. Then it was coated with operating water, then ice, then a dusting of snow, rising to 4-6 inches of deep dry powder after we handed 3600′ of elevation.

Mt Washington and the Presidential Range (rear)
Mt Washington and the Presidential Vary (rear)

We reached an east-facing viewpoint at treeline and paused to eat. It was a stupendous clear day with 50+ mile views. Mt Washington and the Presidential Vary regarded grand bathed in daylight. Ken might even establish Previous Speck and East Kennebec to the north, fairly distant.

We continued via the Krumholz (dwarf timber) that defend the North Twin Spur Path from the wind to a different viewpoint on the east aspect of the mountain. From there we might see Franconia Ridge, Mt Garfield, and the Galehead Hut far under. That view by no means will get previous.

Franconia Ridge and Mt Garfield
Franconia Ridge and Mt Garfield

We handed the North Twin summit and continued one other 1.3 miles to South Twin. The winds have been a lot calmer than anticipated, which was a aid as a result of South Twin (4902′) can get nasty on a windy day.

Karen crosses over from North Twin to South Twin
Karen crosses over from North Twin to South Twin

Subsequent up was the steep descent to the Galehead Hut, dropping about 1100′ in 0.8 miles. The highest of the path is protected by Krumholz and was straightforward to hike in deep powder. However as we acquired decrease, we placed on our microspikes, as a result of the decrease half of the path is a little bit of a scramble, with ice, slush, operating water, and snow filling the gaps between the rocks. Till that time, we’d barebooted.

We met a couple of buddies who have been climbing up on our manner down and shared path and beer beta. Ed Hawkins, a well-known native hiker who’s hiked The Grid 8 instances, was going to go away a six-pack of beer underneath my automobile for after we completed our hike. We’d run into him earlier that morning on the Gale River Trailhead, our ultimate vacation spot. He’d been mountaineering to Galehead with a couple of of our different buddies. Ed all the time brings a cooler or two to hikes in his truck and provides aways drinks, each alcoholic and never, to the individuals he meets. I usually run into him on mountains. The man is in his 70’s, has two pretend knees, and may nonetheless hike us all into the bottom!

South Twin Mountain (4902’) from the lawn at Galehead Hut
South Twin Mountain (4902’) from the garden at Galehead Hut

The hut is a brief distance from the underside of the climb. We stopped there and dropped out packs on the entrance porch earlier than climbing to the summit of Galehead Mountain which is just a 250′ climb in 0.5 miles. There’s view of South Twin close to the summit, nevertheless it’s a fairly anti-climactic peak with a dumpy cairn on the summit surrounded by spruce and no view.

Karen and Ken pack up for the long march out. The hut is closed and boarded up for the winter.
Karen and Ken pack up for the lengthy march out. The hut is closed and boarded up for the winter.

From the hut, it was a 4.8 mile slog alongside a forested path to the Gale River Trailhead and my automobile. I hadn’t been on that path for a couple of years and it’s been rerouted fairly considerably, though the whole lot appears to be like totally different in late Autumn when there aren’t any leaves on the timber. We hiked out fairly shortly, getting again to the trailhead just some minutes earlier than sundown, which was 4:15.

Twins – Galehead Traverse

Ed and our buddies had simply returned from Galehead so we have been capable of share their firm over our drinks, earlier than taking off and reversing our shuttle. This had been an exquisite autumn hike in winter situations with an awesome crew. Winter is on the horizon, as you possibly can see, with numerous nice mountaineering left in retailer.

Really helpful Guidebooks and Maps:

Concerning the writer

Philip Werner has hiked and backpacked over 7500 miles in the USA and the UK and written over 2500 articles because the founding father of SectionHiker.com, famous for its backpacking gear critiques and mountaineering FAQs. A devotee of New Hampshire and Maine mountaineering and backpacking, Philip is the thirty sixth particular person to hike all 650 of the mountaineering trails within the White Mountain Information, a distance of roughly 2500 miles, finishing a second spherical in 2021. Philip is the writer of Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers, a free on-line guidebook of one of the best backpacking journeys within the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine. He lives in New Hampshire.

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