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Adams via Valley Way/Scar Trail/Airline (ADVANCED)

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ANSWER ALL THE RSVP QUESTIONS COMPLETELY. I ask for specific information about your last three hikes and DATES and conditions as well as for your history in climbing the higher Presidentials (which peaks you have climbed and when). I do this to gauge preparedness, so I need complete answers. You will be taken off the attendance list if you do not provide this information.

Mts. Adams via Valley Way/Scar Trail/Airline

We will create a loop begins at Appalachia and uses the well-travelled Valley Way trail to reach the Scar Trail. The Scar trail cuts up to the Airline trail, is exposed and provides us with some views up to Adams early on in the hike. Views are very motivating! :) This also avoids a steep section of the Airline Trail.

The Airline trail is a ridgeline trail that ascends Adams with great views along the way, especially along the Knife Edge section of the ridge. It is also VERY EXPOSED so weather will be an important factor. We will take the Airline trail up to the summit of Adams (or as far as the weather conditions allow), then double back.

On the descent, we will use the Upper Bruin trail to drop down off the ridge and reconnect with Valley way, making the descent a little less exposed and probably a bit faster.

If we are feeling up to it, there are various side trails that would allow us to vary our route back to Appalachia on the lower part of the return. Some of these pass interesting features and viewpoints and do not add significant distance or elevation changes.

Short daylight requires an early start and you will need headlamps. This will be a full day. Plan on a full day of snacks, food and water. Late fall in the Northern Presis can have any kind of weather. Be prepared for cold temperatures, rain, snow and the DARK.

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I will review your responses to the questions to confirm that each person is prepared for the distance and elevation gain involved. If you do not answer the questions completely, you will be moved to the "NOT GOING" list.

Be prepared for cool and potentially poor weather conditions. DO NOT WEAR COTTON OR DENIM. If you have questions about how to prepare or how to dress, ask them in advance.

I am now requiring microspikes & winter weather clothing on the Northern Presis - last weekend (10/13) it was full winter on Jefferson. This weekend (10/21) it was wet with limited freezing rain on the summit of Adams. You cannot know what to expect.

Answers to FAQs

  • Poor weather conditions cancel this hike. We will keep any eye on the weather and notify everyone of a final decision on Friday afternoon.
  • Because the weather can vary dramatically at different elevations, it is possible that we will not summit. If you want to summit Adams, you can help make that possible by making sure you are prepared with gear for all weather conditions.
  • This IS NOT a traverse, so we will NOT need to carpool to another location.
  • We will meet in the Appalachia Parking Lot.
  • Sunset will be at about 5:54 pm.
  • This hike will be VERY EXPOSED. It is fall, so come prepared for rain, snow, sun AND cold conditions.
  • There are a lot of water sources on this trail but the water is not potable. Bring enough potable water for a long, rugged hike.
  • We will pass near Madison Hut. The hut will be CLOSED, so I do not intend to go there.
  • Headlamps and microspikes are required and you should expect that we may come out of the dark on this hike. Hikers should always be prepared to come out in the dark if necessary.
  • We will START AND FINISH TOGETHER. If you cannot hold your speed down to match that of the group (if necessary), this is not the hike for you. I require participants to wait at trail junctions, major water crossings and summits so that the group can exchange information and reset their pace.
  • I am NOT a speedy hiker, but I do keep a steady pace. I'm doing about book time these days.
  • The distance, pace and location means that is an ADVANCED hike. I expect people to average book time.
  • If the conditions are prohibitive, I have no qualms about turning around. The mountain will be there another day. I would like you to be around for another day too.
  • My hikes area always dog friendly, but please know the limits and abilities of your dog & bring appropriate amounts of food and water. This is a rugged trail with a lot of exposure and rocky terrain. I will not be bringing my dogs on this hike.
  • I will watch the weather carefully and post weather updates during the week leading up to the hike. I rely on NOAA and MWObs for my forecasts.
  • I will provide attendees with my cell phone number in advance of the hike.
  • No, I will not change the start time for this hike. I choose my start times carefully based on when we should be off the mountain.... or at least safely into the homestretch.

Most of the payoff comes in the form of great views & enjoying the outdoors. If the weather looks like it will be miserable, I will reschedule, possibly to the next day if it looks clearer. Please plan accordingly.

RSVP Questions are NOT optional - If you do not provide me with a phone number to try and contact you on the morning of the hike (if necessary), we will NOT wait for you at the trailhead.


"Plagerized" Trail Descriptions from the AMC Guide will follow shortly
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Copyright © the Appalachian Mountain Club. All rights reserved do not distribute

Valley Way to Scar Trail (2.4 miles)

Scar Trail to Air Line Trail (1 mile; 1hr)

Air Line to Adams Summit (1.9 miles)

Adams Summit to Upper Bruin via Air Line (1.2 miles)

Upper Bruin to Valley Way (.2 miles)

Valley Way to Appalachia (3.8 miles)

Book time is approximately: ***TBD***

Total Distance is: 5.3 miles (Ascent) 5.2 miles (Descent) = 10.5 miles


DISCLAIMER (SHAMELESSLY PLAGERIZED FROM ANOTHER MEETUP HIKER): MY ROLE AS ORGANIZER IN THIS HIKE IS SOCIAL. I AM NOT TRAINED TO BE A GUIDE, NOR HAVE I RECEIVED TRAINING OR INSTRUCTION IN HIKING SAFETY. WHILE I TRY TO HEAD OFF SOME OF THE PROBLEMS I HAVE SEEN (OR EXPERIENCED OR EVEN CAUSED) IN THE PAST, MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT YOU WILL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY. IF MY DISAPPEARANCE DURING THIS TRIP WOULD CAUSE YOU MORE THAN ANNOYANCE AND INCONVENIENCE, THIS IS NOT THE TRIP FOR YOU. THERE ARE ALWAYS RISKS IN HIKING IN THE MOUNTAINS. IF YOU ARE NOT CONFIDENT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THE RISKS, PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP (or change your RSVP to no). WHILE I HAVE CLIMBED THIS PEAK BEFORE, I HAVE DONE ALL MY RESEARCH VIA GUIDEBOOKS, INTERNET AND ADVICE FROM OTHER HIKERS, SO IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOME INFORMATION IS NOT ACCURATE. I AM PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF MAKING STUPID OR MINDLESS MISTAKES, SO PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND COME PREPARED WITH APPROPRIATE KNOWLEDGE, EQUIPMENT AND JUDGMENT.


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  • Kate K

    Go TEAM BACON!

    November 12, 2012

  • Mike 5.

    Awesome hike.

    November 11, 2012

  • Laurie W.

    Beautiful day on Adams with a strong, fun group of hikers.

    November 10, 2012

  • Kate K

    The wind held off and we had a FABULOUS ascent, albeit somewhat tough (for me, at least!). Too bad it didn't actually count as winter hike!

    1 · November 10, 2012

  • Kate K

    Temps up slightly - wind slows in the afternoon - I think it will be clear and we will have to judge how hard the wind is when we get above treeline.

    November 9, 2012

  • Elle T.

    Do we have to stay together below tree line, too? I do appreciate the level of organization this trip coordinator has come to in order to safely get everyone back to the trailhead, but keeping the group clustered together sounds a little too controlling for my tastes and experience level... Do you have any advice (like "sit this one out" or "hey, its not like what you're imagining; you should come" or "why are you even in our meetup group? psssh.")?
    Any of those would be constructive.

    /L-Train

    November 8, 2012

    • Elle T.

      ALSO: to those of you going on this hike, give some love to the RMC - that area is all maintained by this little mom 'n pop trail crew.

      November 8, 2012

    • Kate K

      I'm working on my RMC100 - love these trails!

      November 9, 2012

  • Kate K

    Weather looks good for tomorrow! Summit forecast with wind chill is -9 though, so be dressed for WINTER conditions. Hopefully the wind will hold off. FORECAST: Partly sunny, with a high near 22. Wind chill values as low as -9. Very windy, with a northwest wind 45 to 55 mph decreasing to 28 to 38 mph.

    November 9, 2012

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