Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bagging some peaks in the Belknap Range

on a bike.

Grant sent an offhand email at the end of last week mentioning a ride he called a "climbing extravaganza" led by a local leaving from Gilford and heading into the Belknap Range. I love extravaganza's in general and looking at the topo I was very intrigued. A ride didn't really look possible in that area which of course means you gotta get in there and ride.

We met at the Elementary School in Gilford and immediately started the climbing basically straight up to Mt. Rowe. It was rough going in spots, leaves were deep and there was some runoff from the previous days rain but it was doable and at least an even mix of riding and hiking. We toped out to some gorgeous views of the Lake and the range.

The days crew

There is some definite BC potential up here for this winter

Looking to Gunstock and Mt. Belknap

Once we were on top of Mt. Rowe the riding turned quite a bit more rocky. Riding ridge line down into the valley between peaks and then basically dumping out onto and riding straight up one of Gunstock's trails. I made it as far as I could (which was much farther than I thought possible) and then hiked it from there.

Picture with my kill for the trophy case

The descent down Gunstock heading to Mt. Belknap was great, very craggy and unrideable in spots (unless maybe you had a DH rig). We then rode as far up as we could and then hiked it to the peak of Belknap, the highest of the day. There was some decent exposure up there with even more great views, I was too busy loading back up on calories to remember to take pictures though.

The descent off Belknap was by far my favorite part of the whole ride. It made all the hiking well worth it. Super technical but basically all rideable, lots of great ridge terrain coming off the top and some brake burning slab sections and great singletrack. Picking good lines was paramount and really made things interesting. There were more than a few gut check points and a few spots where I was lucky to be running a 29er.

We bottomed out in the valley and started our way up what I believe was Mt. Piper (or maybe Whiteface, I'm not sure) and I got a great pic of the back side of Belknap that appears to have some terrain prime for backcountry skiing.

I am liking the density of those trees...

Coming off Piper we hooked into an extensive network of doubletrack and fireroads for the haul back down into town. We ran into two jeeps who were (DL)mudboggin and a hunter or two. The doubletrack descents were really fast and very fun. Sketchy in spots with some baby head rollers that you couldn't really see due to all the leaves but nobody exploded. We eventually kicked out onto some pavement and we all let it rip on a short hill back down into town. I hit 42.1mph. Very fun but also kind of cold.

The GPS data from the ride appears to be a bit more accurate probably because we were more exposed and not under such dense tree cover like a usual MTB ride.

oh and while I'm at it I also got an awesome ride in on Saturday with Adam at FOMBA. We checked out a new trail I had heard about from a fellow NEMBA member. It was crazy...tons of real big built up features...teeter-totters, bridges, a giant A-frame over some swampy area, sweet lines built into natural rock outcrops. Lots of work went into this trail and it is AWESOME. Forgot the camera and also forgot that my new phone has a camera. Off chance I might try and get down to ride this again before the season is done, it was that good.


  1. hell yea....there is def some sweet bc for skiing out there....get some!

  2. you are out of your mind