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Winter

[TR] Katahdin - Armadillo Route, III+, 5.8 7/31/2007

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Trip: Katahdin - Armadillo Route, III+, 5.8

 

Date: 7/31/2007

 

Trip Report:

Because the cc.com bretheren generously contributed beta for the trip, I'm posting a TR.

Thanks Kenford for the efforts. Thanks to all the folks that offered up beta for the trip.

 

No hard man climbing. No grand explorations. No FAs. But still worthy of a drop in the bucket of cc.com history to prove that random calls for beta sometimes get put to good use.

 

Sitting down with the calendar last winter, I realized this summer wasn't going to offer the same climbing ops as the last few. We committed to a two-week trip back east to see the family, and work had already filled up a lot of the other free time. What else could we do? Had to try to squeeze in a little alpine adventure during the east coast holiday.

 

I spent my childhood summers in Maine but had never been to Katahdin, so that's where we headed.

 

route_overview_2_small_.jpg

 

We planned on climbing the Armadillo Route on the north side of the mountain. This is the view from the 3+ mile, 1500' approach to the Great Basin.

 

Once there, we checked in with the climbing ranger. We had heard nightmares about red tape and silly hassles, but the ranger greeted us with a smile and a positive attitude. We talked a bit about the route, showed him our gear, and then he sent us off under glorious weather excited for us to be there.

 

route_overview_3_small_2_.jpg

 

From the Great Basin, its about 2500' to the summit. Two pitches got us over the initial easy buttress/waterfall, and then we got into endless, polished slabs cut with bushy ledges. We started soloing, then roped up and simulclimbed most of it. I kept wanting to head straight up to the buttress, but I kept getting shut down by loose dirt over polished slabs mixed in with wet seeps and shitty pro. I'd climb straight up, get to a shitty ledge, and then traversed back into the gully, refusing to accept our ultimate fate of just following the obivous weakness.

 

The stellar part of the route climbs up the right hand side of the big flake lying up against the bottom of the buttress. At the top, the route traverses onto the face across a hollow, thin expando flake, offering a couple hundred feet of solid exposure - super fun 5.8 climbing. Manky pins interspersed with decent pro, near vertical rock, and interesting face moves at the end of a long pitch made for fun climbing.

 

chimney_small_.jpg

 

Once on top, a sweet 5.7 fist crack climbs up from the top of the giant flake, past a fixed bong (prolly shouldn't be there), to a nice ledge out left. The route turns the corner, climbs back right and up to the buttress crest, and then runs along the ridge top for several pitches to the Knife Edge on super fun easy terrain with most excellent views and positions.

 

k_on_the_armadillo_small_.jpg

 

k_on_the_armadillo_3_small_.jpg

 

Once on top the, you meet up with the hikers, pack up the gear, and hike up and over. A few last glimpses of the route.

 

route_profile_small_.jpg

 

route_profile_3_small_.jpg

 

We really enjoyed the route. The actual climbing is pretty short with a lot more 4th and easy 5th class at both the bottom and top of the route. But we had the whole basin to ourselves, and we didn't expect such a grand alpine setting on the east coast. We didn't set any speed records, but he had a great time and soaked this place up for all it was worth, because we may never be back.

 

After waking up at 4:00 am and 15 hours of hiking/climbing, we got back to the car around 7:30, packed it up under a swarm of man-eating mosquitos, and drove off towards Bangor en route to Mt. Desert island. We finally pulled in around 11:45 pm - long day.

 

We spent the next several days enjoying childhood stomping grounds on the SW corner of the island - a cabin overlooking Duck Cove.

 

bluff_panorama_small_.jpg

 

Got in a little climbing at the Precipice.

 

old_town_small_.jpg

 

Ate popovers at the Jordan Pond House. Note the Bubbles in the background - one of the local crags in Acadia NP.

 

jordan_pond_and_the_bubbles_small_.jpg

 

Relaxed.

 

sunset_read_small_.jpg

 

The East Coast ain't so bad.

 

Gear Notes:

Small set of nuts and single set of cams to #4. 10-12 slings. Many fixed pieces and lots of simul climbing.

 

Approach Notes:

Roaring Brook to Great Basin - 3+ miles. Easy in easy out.

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Nice TR. I've hiked Katahdin many times but never from that side. Mmmm popovers!

Maine summers rock!

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Nice work Winters! Nope, the East Coast ain't bad at all, as long as you're anywhere north of Mass-ass-achusetts! Looks like a great trip...

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i cut my teeth backpacking and getting hypothermia on katahdin when i was 13, your TR brings back uncontrollable shivering memories, thanks!

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Great climb. Gotta love the NE. It's were I started before I fell in love with the Cascades.

 

Nice work Winters! Nope, the East Coast ain't bad at all, as long as you're anywhere north of Mass-ass-achusetts! Looks like a great trip...

 

Have you ever been to Ragged Mountain in Connecticut? At one point it was home of the hardest climb in the US. Vector (5.8), was put up by Fritz Weissner, who was nearly the first person to summit K2 before his sherpa thwarted his plans to climb through the night, and also the father of the Gunks. It's not alpine, but it hosts some major kick ass trad with stiff (aka true grades) that some westies might have trouble with.

 

Edited by Layback75

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Nice work Winters! Nope, the East Coast ain't bad at all, as long as you're anywhere north of Mass-ass-achusetts! Looks like a great trip...

 

Unless you're in New Hampshire, that place blows. (I kid, kind of) Nice TR Chris, looks sweet.

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Hell yeah nice report. Awesome to see my old stomping grounds. I spent many summers and winters going up to Baxter state park. Also spent a lot more time in Acadia. The climbing there is a lot of fun and super scenic, especially at the Precipice. I spent many summer days cragging there and winding down the day with bottle of wine, bagette and cheese on top of the cliff overlooking the Alantic ocean. Did you get on the Gargoyle on the Bubbles, fun? Jordan pond definitely makes the best popovers I have ever had.

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ken thx for the beta - just enough without spoiling the adventure.

 

i still have not climbed at the bubbles. seems like i always end up back at at the precipice for the couple of days i have when i blow through. next time. still want to climb at great head too.

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Yeah Great Head is really a lot of fun with some good exposure for as short as it is, definitely check the tide charts before going. Whenever I have climbed there it is always with some urgency due to the fact waves are lapping you feet. I forget the name of the route, but facing the cliff on the left is a beautiful steep 10b (or 10d I can't remember), but it can be climb almost any time.

 

As much as I love the PNW, I sure do miss Maine and NH sometimes.

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As much as I love the PNW, I sure do miss Maine and NH sometimes.

 

Me too! I don't think about it too much during the summer but now that I'm not going to see the sun for the next 9 months....

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