Lincoln's Left Arm

I gave it my best shot today. I bushwacked up the ridge toward the Lincoln summit via the route that Tyler had outlined - more or less. I hiked up Falling Waters to the spot where it crosses the brook for the last time at the 860m contour (before it bangs right and slabs up along the old road bed). I headed straight up the hill  Bushwack Route
where I had test-climbed on Tyler day, and then up to the ridge and worked my way up pretty far. I got to the 1200m contour (about 3940ft) where I had to turn back. This is almost the elevation of the Greenleaf Hut (about 200ft below it) but on this ridge it was still about 600-700ft below treeline. I turned back at noon. I had decided earlier that because I was solo I wanted to make treeline by noon or turn back.

The best footwear for today's conditions would've been snowshoes - but when I started out I hadn't even made it to the trailhead and I felt a *SNAP* from my Tubbs and noticed that I had just popped a crucial rivet. Luckily I had my crampons in the car and went back for those. The steep part of the ascent was crampon-city, but once up on the ridge snowshoes would've been a great help. I was postholing between knee and bellybutton deep. Several times I dropped in so far that after a few minutes struggle to get out I looked in the hole and couldn't really make out the bottom. I was on snow at least 6ft deep.

The hike starts out looking exactly like you'd expect from the woods around Falling Waters: deep forest of spruce, red pine, birch, maple, etc. But then it starts to close in. Much of the time delay was due to having to push through extremely dense growth. This is NOT a good hike if you have even a little claustrophobia. Many times I had to get down on my chest in the snow in order to find a route while crawling through the branches. On the way back down, following my footprints, I frequently couldn't see them through the spruce branches.

Most of the experience involved getting whipped in the face, postholing, breaking branches, struggling and climbing.... and being wet. I anticipated having to change frequently, and with temps in the high 20's or more, snow, sleet and light drizzle to start, I was soaked. I went through four pairs of gloves, three hats, and my Precip was soaked!

At around 11:30 I had reached the part of the ridge where it is Looking Down On The OBP
noticeably narrow - obviously dropping off left and right within 100ft of where I was and narrowing rapidly as I ascended. This narrowing also reduced the number of route options. Weirdly, the ridge is heavily forested. I know there is exposure up high, but it seems like tree line is a lot higher than on Lafayette. I took some brief footage (Click Here to view) that I made at about noon when I thought I'd have to turn back. But after eating a sandwich and having some water I took a deep breath and actually belly-crawled through that spot and kept going for another 10 minutes or so - eventually reaching a point where the trees were just absolutely impenetrable and the snow menacingly deep. (The video makes it look like it's relatively open, but it's an illusion. The spot in the video has to be *crawled* through.) I really did try to continue on but I gave up while flailing about up to my nipples in snow in the high tangled boughs of a deep fence of spruce. Where I turned around you could only see about two feet ahead.

At around 3,700ft I used my axe to hack a pattern of nicks into a dead tree trunk (at about head height). Next summer I'm going to find that tree and see just where the hell those marks are. They better be 20 feet up.

That said, it was a little over three hours from car to turn-around point, and 1:45 back down - basically a 5 hour jaunt. It was just as well I turned back then. Temperatures were started to drop and the wind was picking up. Pics are posted on Picasa.

It's really an interesting place though - I'm going back one day.


  1. muthaz sounds like quite the adventure. any idea what caused the rivet failure? is it repairable or time for a replacement?

    no good adventures for me over the weekend. sick kid + sick wife = domestic slave

  2. No clue, g-$$$. It just popped. The other shoe looks good. Maybe it's from kicking kittens.

    It should be repairable. Tubbs is good about free repairs. I may have to rig a repair myself if I need those shoes before summer.