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courtesy BConnell
Brian's Mt Adams Panorama
After taking in the glorious views and weather from the top, we headed back down to Thunderstorm Junction to pick up our packs. We were aiming to make this a loop hike, and our descent route would follow the broad ridge to the west of King Ravine, down to a point far below where we could then rejoin with our ascent path, and from there back to the car at Appalachia. The most expedient trail (one of many criss-crossing the terrain around here) was a trail un-excitingly called "The Spur Trail".
Back to Thunderstorm Junction
The nature of the high Presidentials
Heading down Spur Trail
Our descent down the Spur Trail was straightforward and scenic. The first stretch ran down through nice open alpine terrain, down to about the 4800-foot mark, where we encountered trees again. The above-treeline terrain had been almost entirely free of snow, but as soon as we entered the scrub, a fairly thick snowpack remained. Although we had our snowshoes, the postholing was minimal enough that we didn't feel it was necessary or beneficial to put them on, so we slipped and heel-stepped our way down through the trees towards Crag Camp.
Heading down
Approaching treeline
Return of the Snowpack
Knight's Castle View
Crag Camp Below
Snowy Forest Trail
After descending through the sun-dappled upper forest for about half an hour or so, we arrived at Crag Camp, situated right on the western rim of King Ravine. Crag Camp is run by the Randolph Mountain Club, and is quite a tidy little place. It is a first-come / first-serve shelter that does not always have a caretaker present. Which was the case when we arrived. In fact, the place was entirely empty, which was suprising for such a beautiful weekend. The camp sleeps 20 and the cost was $20 a night for non-members. Very, very reasonable.
Crag Camp
Crag Camp interior
Castle Crag's Living Room View
We had a nice long break at Crag Camp, admiring the fantastic view of King Ravine one gets from its main living/dining room. All good things must come to an end, however, and although we were getting somewhat weary of what was becoming quite a long day (we had been on the go for 10 hours so far at this point), it was time to move on.
Crag Camp's View
Lower King Ravine
Spur Brook
The trail down from Crag Camp to the Randolph path was steep and a bit tricky. We were in the zone of transition from snowpack to dry ground and that meant many intermittent icy and slippery sections. We eventually grew tired of tiptoeing around these obstacles and resorted to our microspikes - after which the descent became more straightforward.

By the time we arrived at the 5-way junction along the Randolph Path, the snow had all but disappeared, and we reverted to bare booting. From here it was an easy, non-rough trail back east across the mouth of King Ravine and across Cold Brook to rejoin with the Short Line trail.
Re-crossing Spur Brook
Bridge over Cold Brook
Randolph Path
What had been a pleasant and warm spring day up at 5000 feet was nearly a scorcher down here on the lower slopes at 2500 feet. We stripped down to t-shirts and no gaiters and plodded the last mile or two down easy trail to the Appalachia Trailhead.
Beautiful warm afternoon
Down Short Line
Spring is springing
Back at the power line cut
A successful day
Farewell to the Northern Presi Range
So, in summary: a long but rewarding and useful training day in the Whites. And the Northern Presidentials are a location I visit too rarely!
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Great Gully Climb, King Ravine - click map to view
Mt Adams via King Ravine and the Great Gully Route - Climb Data
Start Time: 5:16a.m.
End Time: 5:47p.m.
Duration: 12h30m
Distance: 14.13 km (8.78 mi)
Average Speed: 1.1 km/hr (0.7 mph)
Start Elevation: 1335ft (407m) *
Max Elevation: 5812ft (1771m) *
Min Elevation: 1333ft (406m) *
End Elevation: 1376ft (419m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 4452ft (1357m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 4406ft (1343m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
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