New winter rules for Katahdin
Solo climbers allowed, no minimum group size
Great news! I am packed and ready to go. Maybe I can find some ice up there.
See the park web site for more information. winter rules and regs and the NEice forum for discussion.
Source: post by greenmtnboy
Photo: South Basin from Chimney Pond by AOC
More info from apaulcalypse:
I just got off the phone with Baxter State Park (not sure if it was a ranger, just whoever picks up the 207.723.5140 phone line). According to the woman I spoke with,
a) There is no ‘gear inspection’ on arrival. You do not need to, say, have every item on a checklist, and the rangers will not deny you climbing based on what’s in your pack.
b) Climbing on Katahdin CAN still be closed down in bad weather. I asked for some examples of what constitutes ‘bad weather,’ and she listed wind chills significantly below 0, whiteouts, high avalanche danger, “things of that nature.”
c) Yes, you can climb any route as a party of two. There is no longer a minimum team size.
d) As far as she was aware, there were no designated start / end times for climbs; that is, you can climb whenever you want. She did caution that is inadvisable to be out climbing after the sun goes down, though.
e) Ropeless, technical, free-solo climbing IS allowed. If you want to hike or climb alone, there is a winter solo camping and climbing form to fill out, along with an itinerary. You can climb ropeless alone or with partners. There is no specific hardware rack required, just gear appropriate to the terrain.
– Also see the article By Steve Prettyman Winter Climbing on Mt. Katahdin
Under the section titled “Party Size and Composition”
“Those wishing to camp and/or climb solo (alone) must submit completed ‘Solo Camping and Climbing Form’ [link in original text] with the original reservation request, or with the Chimney Pond Ranger if climbing solo but functioning as a member of a pre-existing camping group.
The ‘Solo Camping and Climbing Form’ does not authorize a winter climber to participate in unprotected free solo climbing on technical terrain (routes that would normally be climbed with the use of ropes and means of protection).”
Was this question explicitly asked during the phone call? If so, was the inconsistency in park policy brought to the park’s attention?