North and South Crocker Mountain
4,228 ft. & 4,052 ft.
Climbing Prep for The Presidential Ridge Winter Hike
The Prouty Mountaineering Program
(the first Prouty Challenge Event benefitting Dartmouth-HitchcockNo rris Cotton Cancer Center)
Prep Hike #9 – 6.2 Miles
January 8, 2012
Southand North Crocker from Sugarloaf
The Crocker Mountains
Crocker Mountain is the 4th tallest mountain inMaine, with two peaks over 4,000 feet, both accessible via the AppalachianTrail. Skiing at Sugarloaf, I’ve looked at Crocker for over 50 years, but neverclimbed it in winter. Crocker has two giant glacial cirques clearly visible fromSugarloaf which appear tempting for spring skiing, but are probably impossibleto ski in any but the best snow winters. I have been planning to climb thePresidential Ridge in New Hampshire with my old friend Rudy Rawcliffe overPresident’s Weekend, and when Rudy called up proposing Crocker as a traininghike I jumped at the chance. The mild January weather has made skiing prettytough in the East, but the climbing has been great.
Rudy on the summit of South Crocker
The name Crocker dates back to the original naming of thetownships in the region, immediately after the purchase of 1 million acres ofland in the area by William Bingham in 1793. Crockertown was established on thewest side of the Carrabassett River, and the Town of Jerusalem on the east.This is cold and mountainous country, and Crockertown was first settled in 1880by two intrepid souls in the area of Campbell field.
We set off around 7:30 AM up the Caribou Pond Road on Rudy’sATV, covering the 4.5 miles to the Appalachian Trail in about 15 minutes –fabulous! After slogging through Adirondack Park all summer to get to the baseof the mountains, this was a real treat. The road was in pretty good shape, andthe snow depth increased slightly to around 4 inches by the time that we got tothe trailhead. The weather was sunny, around 20 degrees with a slight breezefrom the NW – a great day for a hike. There had been nobody into the trail – wehad the place to ourselves.
The trail was snow covered, and had no obvious tracks – otherthan 3 moose, a fisher, two partridge and a fox. We were talking the whole wayup, otherwise I’m fairly sure that we would have seen one of the moose – thetracks were really fresh. It is really funny how the moose follow the hikingpaths all winter – right to the top of these Hills. By the time we got to thetop of the slides the snow was pretty deep in some drifts and the going was alittle slow. I was very glad that we did not have to walk the additional mileagefrom route 27.
On the slide above the pond in the cirque
Making snow on Sugarloaf across the Valley
Sugarloaf from the summit of South Crocker
Rudy on the summit of North Crocker
The hike over to North Crocker is only a mile, so we left ourpacks on the South Summit, and hoofed it over through the new snow. The summitwas in the clouds, so we beat a quick retreat back to our packs and lunch.
The Author dining al fresco on South Crocker
Crocker is a great winter hike, and offers some spectacularscenery and laudable ROC- return on climb. The views are limited from thesummit, but there are some terrific views from the slides. Next up – climbing the Oceolaswith my friends Rick Morse and Pete Volanakis.
Views across the cirques on Crocker
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