Tuesday, September 10, 2013



MITTERSILL TO CANNON: 9/9/13

After getting some beta from Erin Paul Donovan and Amy Patenaude, both of whom had recently done this hike, I checked out a newly marked legal hiking route on the ski trails/service roads of Mittersill and Cannon ski areas. The development of this hiking route was mandated by a bill passed by the NH Legislature. (The bill originally related to leasing the Cannon ski area to a private company, but only the hiking route provision made it into the final bill.) Blazed in yellow, the route is a mixed bag as far as footing goes, but offers tremendous views, especially from ledges at the summit of Mittersill Peak.

The route starts by the new Mittersill chairlift, at a parking lot off the road into Mittersill Alpine Village.



The grassy corridor at the start shows that it hasn't received much use yet.


Yellow blazes, many on thin metal posts, mark the route throughout.


A nice shaded grassy section not far up.


The least attractive part of the route is a 0.25 mile/400 ft. climb up a steep, loose section of a gravel work road. It seems every hiking route up Cannon needs to have an ugly stretch.


The views compensate for the bad footing.


Part of an old lift rusting in the woods. Mittersill Ski Area was originally opened in 1946 by Baron Hubert von Pantz of Austria. After several poor snow years, it closed in 1984. It was acquired by the state and reopened for skiing in 2009, and the new chairlift was installed in 2010.


A pleasant section of the route.


The turns onto various ski trails are well-marked.


Morning fog lingers in the valleys to the NW.


After passing the upper terminal of the chairlift, the route follows the historic Richard Taft Trail, cut by the CCC in 1932.


Lots of asters blooming through here.


The entrance to the backcountry Tucker Brook Ski Trail, with its famous "13 turns."


The open summit of Mittersill Peak (3630 ft.), a NW spur of Cannon that was once called Mt. Jackson.


Ledge perches beside the trail offer some excellent views, including this look at Coppermine Col, the deep pass between Cannon and the Northeast Cannon Ball.


Nice vista of the Cannon Balls and Kinsmans. This is a nice spot to hang out for a while, with a wide view west to Vermont as well.


Looking back at Mittersill Peak while climbing the Upper Ravine ski trail towards Cannon's summit.


From the summit tower on Cannon, the views were phenomenal this day, with 110-mile visibility reported by the Mount Washington Observatory. In this photo, Camel's Hump, the Worcester Range and Mt. Mansfield (L to R) are clearly visible on the Vermont horizon.


It was an Adirondack day, with Macomb Mtn. visible through Lincoln Gap in the Green Mountains.


Another angle on the Cannon Balls and Kinsmans.


Close-up of the Kinsmans, with Mt. Moosilauke peering over in back.


I-93 winding southward from Franconia Notch.


Looking down into the Coppermine Brook valley on the west side of Cannon.


The bulky south ridge of Cannon.


Hanging out in the tower. Saw only two hikers up there, along with a couple dozen Tramway riders.


Benchmark under the tower.


View of Franconia Ridge from the Rim Trail.


For the descent, the Mittersill route starts beyond this passage under the Tramway/summit cafeteria building.



You walk into the views much of the way down.


A field of goldenrod near the bottom of the route. This new option for hiking Cannon is an interesting and scenic alternative to the usual steep, rough and rocky fare on the regular hiking trails. It's a 5 mile round trip with 2500 ft. of elevation gain.




15 comments:

  1. There is so beautiful. I realy enjoy viewing your photos. :)

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    1. Thank you, Karolina. You have some beautiful mountains in Poland.

      Steve

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  2. This is fantastic Steve. I had no idea this route had become legal. So many times from the summit of Cannon, have I wished I could go over to Mittersill. And that's an interesting fact about it once being called Mt. Jackson.

    I think this is a great alternative for hiking Cannon.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Joe

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    1. Thanks, Joe - Mittersill is a nice destination on its own. Hard to beat the views along this route on a clear day.

      Steve

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  3. Excellent Steve!

    A few years ago, I hiked what I perceive to be this same route! Of course that was before it was an official route. It's terrific that this route has been formalized and is now 'official'.

    I totally agree with you that Mittersill Peak is a wonderful destination on its own merit. But, it's nice to have the option of trekking on over to Cannon as an 'add-on'.

    Now I'm being greedy, but it would REALLY be nice if they would eventually construct a trail that would enable doing a loop of Cannon by using the new Mittersill Trail + the Kinsman Ridge Trail. Maybe something like a trail that would run just west of Echo Lake and link the Tramway area with the trailhead for the new Mittersill Trail.

    John

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    1. I agree, John - it would be nice if there were a loop option that didn't involve a road walk. I think the first time I visited Mittersill Peak I came down from Cannon, then descended the Tucker Brook Ski Trail and hitchhiked back to my car. It's nice to have Mittersill now as an "official" and "legal" destination.

      Steve

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  4. Nice report on an interesting route, Steve. I remember Mittersill Ski Area, but I never knew about this hiking route. It looks like a great hike, and maybe more mellow than some of the other routes to Cannon.

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    1. Thanks, BC - it's definitely more mellow than the regular Cannon routes, and on a clear day the views are endless.

      Steve

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  5. Fantastic place. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Steve-
    Any idea if this is going to be a seasonal trail or will it be open in winter?
    John

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    1. Hi John,

      The wording in the bill says it can be restricted when the ski area is open if needed for safety reasons:
      "The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development shall, after consulting with fish and game department, develop a hiking corridor from the base of Mittersill Mountain over the summit of Mittersill Mountain to connect with the Kinsman Ridge trail at the summit of Cannon Mountain. The department may restrict access to the hiking trail only during times the ski area is open to the public and only if restricting such access is necessary to promote safety."

      I guess it depends on how that last phrase is interpreted. Keith and I snowshoed to Mittersill Peak a few years ago before it was officially open, though there were a few skiers using it at the time. Would make a nice winter route on a non-windy day.

      Steve

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  7. Thank you to you Steve and John, for this idea.

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    1. Thank you, Yvon - it's a nice new way to do Cannon.

      Steve

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  8. As you know we did it friday and we like it. Thank you to you and John for the informations.

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    1. Hi Yvon,

      Glad you and Annie enjoyed it!

      Steve

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