Trip Report: North Twin, West Bond, and Galehead

Finally I can see the end of my 4000-footer list.  This was my second to last planned trip to get them all complete this season.  When I done my pemi loop a couple years ago, I did not knock off some of the side trips so this trip was just to pick up my slack from that trip.  I had planned on making this my last trip, but scheduling worked out such that I had a larger time slot to take advantage of to fit in this longer of my two remaining hikes.

My family and I went up on the next before and rented a little AirBnb cottage and my wife drove me to the trailhead on Saturday morning.  After I pounded my large Red Bull and bagel that is becoming my staple pre-hike food.

Trip stats
Distance: 17.45 miles (though my maps said a couple more than that)
Elevation Gain: 5554 ft
Total time: 7:45 hours (7:30am-3:15pm) – About 30 minutes of rest in total
Weight: 12 pounds (2L water, dried food/candy, jacket and shell, sleeping bag liner, Tyvek square, phone, headlamp, kit, Gossamer pack w/ pad, GPS)
Peaks: North Twin, South Twin, West Bond, Galehead
Water Consumed: 2.5L total (should have had more)

The trip started with ye old walk in the pleasant woods, which transitioned into a steeper and steeper climb up the side of North Twin.  As far as 3000 foot climbs go though, it wasn’t that bad.  The terrain didn’t get into that totally nasty boulder sheets that you can get on some mountains (Moria, even a bit off South Twin) nor those nasty root ledges that go up and down (coming off Bondcliff for instance or up the back of Killington).

View from “not summit” on North Twin

When I got to a clearing, I quickly realized it wasn’t the summit, but it was a great view of the north of North Twin and east over to Mount Washington.  I also realized that I quickly had to put on my shell or I was going to freeze to death.  It was great hiking weather but at the top that wind on a sweat filled wicking shirt was brutal.  I was shocked by how warm I was after making that change.  I never needed my insulated jacket at all.

I stopped briefly at the summit of North Twin which wasn’t quite as good of a view as I had had previously, in my opinion.  I moved on to South Twin which I knew was going to be much more open and higher.  The trail on the North Twin Spur was very easy and I quickly made it to South Twin.  Up until that point, I had not seen anyone on the trail.  When I got close to South Twin, that changed quickly.  There were several groups on the summit.  I snapped a couple pictures and kept moving since the wind was still very strong and I didn’t have the summit to myself.  Coming down South Twin on the Twinway was a traffic jam.  I passed four or five medium sized groups in a row.  I’m guessing it was the Galehead post-breakfast hut troupe that caused that much bunch up.  I said hello and moved quickly past them.

I hadn’t been using my map at all and I sort of forgot what was supposed to come next and how far I had to go to get to the West Bond Spur.  So I was surprised to stumble on Guyot without thinking.  Guyot is such an open mountain without cover and it’s always a fun one to find in the midst of that ridge walk on the Twinway.  I said goodbye to the AT and continued on toward the Bonds.

Awesome Bondscliff in the background from West Bond

As I approached the Guyot campsite I heard some one shouting and it sounded like she was shouting “Bear”.  So I tightened up my pack (to feel ready I guess) and moved toward the campsite to see if I could help.  Turns out it was an older hiker who was actually shouting “Karen”.  She had gotten separated from her hiking partner and was trying to alert her to stop.  I had seen the partner (“Karen”) about five minutes before moving at a fairly rapid clip I thought at the time.  She asked me to blow my backpack whistle and I was excited to use it for the first time really so I gave a long, loud blast.  She thanked me and went off to try to catch her friend.

I continued onward, found the spur and headed on toward West Bond.  Turns out I had the whole mountain to myself which was great because it was awesome.  It’s probably one of my favorite because it juts out a bit in the middle of the Pemi basin and has views of the major peaks and back toward Bondscliff which is a great view.  I had lunch there of a pepperoni and cheese sampler I had gotten from the nearby gas station for a steal at $4.75.   As I came back from West Bond on the spur I past one solo hiker and two doubles which was going to make their experience not nearly as solitary.

Galehead – best view in the Whites

I climbed back up South Twin which was steep but not very long, past the South Twin crowds, and down toward Galehead.  I hate that section and had changed my whole plan to avoid having to climb back up South Twin from Galehead.  It’s only .8 miles and 1000 feet but for some reason it feels longer than that.  I didn’t even like it coming down.  I paused for a break at the hut, dumped my pack and poles, and ran up Galehead.  I discovered in that ascent that I don’t hike well without poles these days.  I step fairly recklessly expecting to catch myself with my poles and when I don’t have them I stumble all over.  I’m sure I’d get used to it, but it was interesting to note the difference in my stepping pattern.  Galehead summit was AWESOME, LEGENDARY.  You all should check it out.  I’m curious why there’s even a trail up there and whether it existed before peakbagging was a thing.

Anyway, after that I strapped my pack back on, carefully climbed down Garfield Ridge, and then more quickly headed down Gale River Trail.  I passed three hut croo on the way down with their enormous wooden packs on their back.  Wow does that make me feel out of shape watching them speed up the trail with that weight.

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