Tuesday, January 26, 2016


On a gorgeous sunny afternoon I enjoyed an interesting bushwhack to the 2489-foot middle peak of trailless Acteon Ridge, a western spur ridge of Sandwich Dome. After an approach on the hard-packed Old Waterville Road and Yellow Jacket Trail, I used snowshoes the whole way, even though the cover was very thin in the softwoods. At the top sunny ledges provided fine views.

I climbed alongside this frozen brook for quite a distance.

A split boulder with a branch of the brook running through it.

The ice flow winds down through the hemlocks.

The "Yellow Jacket Boulder," a favorite playground for some local backcountry climbers.

Wide-open hemlock forest.

A cliff on the flank of Bald Knob.

Fangs in the forest.

In hardwood glades, the snow was deeper, but still only 6 inches or so.

A rock wall that goes ever on...

A triple-trunked white ash.

Another rock face looms ahead.

I climbed this steep ledgy slope dotted with a sparse cover of oaks.

Along the way, a small ledge with a limited view.

Peering back down at my route.

The upper part of the approach to Middle Acteon Peak was through surprisingly open conifer forest.

This snowy, sunny ledge beckoned for a leisurely late lunch break.

From here there's a massive view of Sandwich Dome and the two Black Mountains.

The lower Black Mountain, which I bushwhacked to the week before.

The lower Smarts Brook valley and the Campton Range.

This old slide patch on the flank of the higher Black Mountain looks interesting but tough to get to.

Nice spot to hang out!

More ledges a little higher up.

Sandwich Dome beyond Sachem Peak.

Jennings Peak, Sachem Peak and the Dome.

The sharp nubble of Jennings.

The densely wooded summit of Middle Acteon peak, with a small jar and register for peakbaggers.
The probable first ascent was in 1877 by AMC members F.W. Clarke and Prof. C.R. Cross, who were conducting barometric observations on the various peaks of Sandwich Dome. They gave it an elevation of 2545 ft.

Title page for the register. This ridge was actually named in the 1870s by AMC explorer Charles E. Fay for another Acteon, who was the last sachem, or chief, of the Pemigewasset tribe.

My name was in there from a previous visit in 2006, when Keith D'Alessandro and I bushwhacked down the ridge from spectacular Sachem Peak. (Photo by Keith).

A late afternoon vista.

Parting shot of the two Black Mountains.

Following my tracks back through the hardwoods.

This scene typifies the interesting terrain on this rugged ridge.

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