We’re not “meandering” up Megunticook or “tiptoeing” up Tumbledown.
We’re “kicking” it up the biggest rock in Maine… all in the name of charity!
“Climb for Charity”, is a corporate giving event, organized by Colby & Gale, for the purpose of raising funds to help support Maine-based, non-profit organizations. This fall, in the name of charity, we will be traveling to Baxter State Park to climb Mt. Katahdin – Maine’s highest peak – to benefit the Travis Mills Foundation. All C+G and MW Sewall employees are invited and welcome to be a part of our first ever “Climb for Charity” event. Those making the trip should plan on traveling together as a group, and hiking in teams. There will be pre-determined routes to the summit of Mt. Katahdin and for those wanting a shorter, less strenuous hike, there will be the option to make Chimney Pond the final destination before returning.
Participation in “Climb for Charity” is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Colby & Gale was able to purchase the last (10) available reservations for Columbus Day weekend 2023. Each “Day Use Parking Reservation” (DUPR) is good for (1) vehicle or (5) individuals, (A total of 50 people). Everyone entering Baxter State Park or attempting to climb Mt. Katahdin must have a valid “Day Use Reservation.”
C+G and MW Sewall employees taking part in the “Climb for Charity” are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the event by seeking additional sponsorship from businesses and individuals in their community. Doing so will increase the amount of Colby & Gale’s charitable gift and help bring greater awareness to the non-profits that serve our communities. (We are working to streamline this process so that sponsorship commitments can be easily made and fulfilled online).
For Park information please visit: https://www.friendsofbaxter.org/know-before-you-go
When & Where?
Our inaugural climb is scheduled to take place during Columbus Day weekend, 2023.
The specific date will be determined by weather conditions and which day, (either October 7th or 8th), is more suitable for hiking. Travel, to and from Baxter State Park, from our Damariscotta Campus will need to be thoughtfully planned in order to maximize the usage of our “Day Use Reservations”.
Giving back is a key component of our company’s culture. It’s something we’ve valued since day one, and it’s evident in the non-profits we’ve partnered with as we’ve grown. Through giving, we wish to recognize, empower and involve our employees in a process that stresses the importance of community involvement, citizenship and giving back.
If you wish to participate in the “Katahdin Climb for Charity” please RSVP Kerri Lincoln at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1st.
Continue to check this page for topics such as:
- Scheduling Updates
- Physical Conditioning Tips
- Q&A’s About Baxter State Park & Mt. Katahdin
- Preparation Group Hikes
- Fundraising Ideas
- Hiking Gear & Essentials
Training for Katahdin
The Need-to-Know on How to Prepare to Climb Maine’s Tallest Mountain
By Victoria Gray, Owner of The Wilderness Guru / Registered Maine Guide
Although the summit is at 5,267 feet, the trailhead parking is around 1,000 feet. This means you’re looking at 4,000+ feet of elevation gain in 4-5 miles. Yikes!
On top of this, there isn’t a nicely packed, even trail to follow. Every footfall on your journey will land on hard, rough, uneven granite. You’ll have to hoist yourself up and over incredible boulders, scramble ancient rock slides, and maintain balance on different types of loose footing. And if there’s any moisture at all, you’ll be sure to slip a time or two, even with the grippiest of boots.
With all this said, it’s important to prepare yourself both physically and emotionally for this treacherous climb.
The following categories are general guidelines for Katahdin physical and emotional training. The exercises mentioned are by no means an exhaustive list, they’re just meant to help you get on the right track!
1. Endurance & Cardio
No matter which way you slice it, you’re looking at an 8 – 12 mile day when climbing Katahdin. That’s a long time to be on your feet, and with a 15 – 20lb pack strapped to your back nonetheless! It’s a good idea to begin your endurance and cardio training a few months before your planned summit date. With that short of a training period though, you’ll want to ramp up the frequency of your hourly workouts to twice a week or more.
Basic Exercise Ideas:
- Climbing Stairs with a 15 – 20lb pack
- Power Walking with weights or a 15 – 20lb pack
- Jogging or Running
- Our favorite: Hiking Other Mountains (of smaller or comparable size)
2. Core Stability & Balance
Our core strength is vital for just about every movement the human body executes. At a very basic level, the core allows our limbs to operate in bipedal opposition while maintaining an upright, or orthograde, posture. The core’s strength determines the health of the spine – really the skeletal system in general, along with improving scores of coordination and balance capabilities. When pushing your body to its limits with a hike like Katahdin, you need to be able to engage your core – especially when you find yourself walking down steep declines that mainly consist of slippery granite scree.
Basic Exercise Ideas:
- Scissor Kicks
- Plank Variations
- Our favorite: Hiking Trails with rocky, uneven terrain
3. Stabilize the Lower Body
Without fail, someone on a hike of mine will begin to feel the weight of their day’s decision in the lower extremities on the way back to the trailhead. Usually it’s an ankle, a knee, or a hip. And it makes sense. When you climb Katahdin, it’s an “up-up-up to the summit” kind of hike, so naturally, the reverse would be “down-down-down to the trailhead”. Having that constant downward impact causes major stress for the joints; they are quite literally bearing the brunt of the situation. The best way to prevent this unfortunate end to an otherwise enchanting day is to train beforehand. You’ll want to strengthen the major players in the lower body – hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, ankles – any and all are encouraged to show up for your training. Strength training these muscles can be done as often as possible, even just 20 minutes daily can make a huge difference.
Basic Exercise Ideas:
- Lunges (with or without weights)
- Leg Lifts from a tabletop position
- Ankle Exercises with a Theraband
*If you have pre-existing joint pain, the best tool for your decent of Katahdin is a set of trekking poles.
I like to say there are two kinds of hikers: the hikers who use poles and the hikers who haven’t tried them yet.
Not only do they lessen the impact of downhill walking, they offer substantial balance aid.
Seriously, they will become your new best friend on any elevation hike, they’re wonderful!
Emotions naturally rise within us as we find ourselves on the edge of our energetic resources. Humans tend to either blossom or wilt in adversity, and undertaking a challenging mountain climb is no exception to circumstance.
Practice listening to your emotions, to your body. Doing so is a skill that is often overlooked in the outdoor athletic space, but can make all the difference in determining whether a goal, a point of connectivity with nature, or even success in an emergency situation is achieved.
It’s truly a beautiful experience to get in touch with your emotional self and ground during times of intense stress or challenge. Oftentimes our emotions tell us how our bodies are truly managing and can be helpful tools for letting us know when to stop for rests, when to eat, and when to rehydrate. Countless injuries can be prevented when we listen to these emotional messages relaying the body’s limitations.
On the flip side, sometimes our emotions impose limitations through mindset and are untrue to where we are physically. As a Special Operations Veteran once told me, the human body is capable of completing physical tasks far beyond the point of when our mind tells us to stop. The biggest part of emotional training for Katahdin (or any physically demanding challenge) is learning to step outside of whatever A-to-B goal you’ve set for the day and reflect on the situation in front of you. What I mean by this is it’s important to understand when to leave the anticipated goal of summiting behind (due to safety reasons) or when to push beyond your mindset limitations. Only you can ultimately be the one to determine that decision, though sometimes having a trusted Guide with you can offer great insight, accountability, and support.
Here’s How to Prepare for Katahdin’s Emotional Challenge:
- Separate your Well-being from the Activity at hand
- Shift your Goal from “Peak-Bagging” to “Experiencing a Physical Personal Journey”
- Remember the Hike ends at the Parking Lot or your Campsite, not the Summit
- Be Prepared to Turn Around before Reaching the Summit when faced with Safety Concerns
I’d also like to slide in here at the end that it is completely normal to experience an emotional release at the summit of Katahdin. Aside from the pure pride in self for accomplishing such a major feat, there is also a magnificent, humbling spiritual energy that sweeps across the summit as easily as the breeze. Many people who are touched by this energy weep for loved ones passed, revisit a difficult personal situation they overcame, or are just simply moved by the beauty of the views.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a mountain by its height. I hope you’ve found what you’re looking for as you continue to prepare for Katahdin. Remember, the physical exercises outlined in this article are guidelines and should only be incorporated into workouts after consulting with a health and fitness professional or your doctor.
Victoria Gray, Owner of The Wilderness Guru / Registered Maine Guide
Gearing Up for Mt. Katahdin
Gear you need for hiking Maine’s biggest “hill”
You’ve probably heard the Mark Twain quote “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.” Nothing could be more true for Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park. The weather can change quickly, a warm summer day can quickly turn to winter-like conditions and then back again. A healthy respect for this mountain is essential to ensuring you have a great time and are prepared for whatever the mountain dishes out.
What you wear on your hike and you pack is equally as important as the planning you put into your trip. Be sure to wear your gear on all of those local hikes before hitting the trail and always remember, “cotton kills.”
You’ll want trail runners with good tread or hiking boots to manage wet rocks and roots and your steep ascent. Waterproof is a plus, as well as a lightweight shoe. Some recommended brands include: Merrel, New Balance, Asolos, Keen, Solomon, Columbia – among other brands. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on shoes, it will be worth it – and be sure to break them in before your hike.
Check out Switch Back Travel’s Best Hiking Footwear Brands of 2023:
Wool or synthetic and always pack an extra pair of socks just in case. It feels so good to change socks at the top! Smartwool Light Elite Micro Socks are a good choice. Side note – clip your toenails before your hike. It’s a well known fact that no one talks about, that long toenails can be painful heading up or down a mountain.
Synthetic or wool. With all of the scrambling that you need to do, having some protection for your legs is a good idea. It also helps you stay warm if the weather turns. It’s not that uncommon on the mountain for low clouds to turn to sleet, even in late summer.
You’ll want a synthetic base layer and warmer layer for the peak. Smartwool layers keep you warm above the treeline.
Weatherproof outer layer
A wind and rain shell is a must and depending on the weather more might be needed.
Check out Switch Back Travel’s Best Hardshell Jackets of 2023:
Check out Clever Hiker’s Best Rain Jackets of 2023:
Depending on how much you like to pack, a pack of at least 30 liters is a good choice. This allows you to pack everything you need for a well-prepared day.
What’s in Your Pack?
You’ll want AT MINIMUM – 3 liters of water or more for your hike. The amount of water you carry all depends on the weather and your knowledge of your hydration needs. In case of an emergency, there are spots to filter water on the trail but not many once you are above treeline (which will probably be the majority of your hike). We also recommend Gatorade, Iced Tea, or some other sports beverage or powder – it will taste great on the summit!
This is quite possibly our favorite part of packing. Determining what you want to eat on the trail is a precise science that must be perfected after many days on the trail. You’ll want foods that are high in protein and fat and help you replenish your electrolytes. Pack a lot of snacks – fruit, beef jerky and GORP are necessities.
Check Out Hiker Crate’s The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Food for Your Day Hikes
Not everyone likes hiking with poles, but they are definitely a good tool for anyone who has knee problems or other injuries that have the potential to flare-up on the trail. Strap them to your pack when not in use or have them to loan to a hiking companion if the need arises. LEKIs or REI Carbon poles are a good choice they are easy to transport and light to carry!
Here are some recommended essentials to keep in your pack.
More to come on this in a later post.
- First Aid Kit
- Compass or GPS
- Extra clothing- hat, gloves, neck warmer, raincoat
- Sunscreen, Chapstick & sunglasses
- Duct tape… You never know when you need to repair something on the trail
- Knife or razor blade
- Matches, lighter and firestarter
- Bandanna or sweat towel
- Camera, phone w/extra batteries or Go Pro
- Zip ties
- Tissues and toilet paper
Below is a link to Baxter State Park’s Official Website.
The site offers great hiking tips and DAILY updates for weather and conditions, and just about anything you need to know to plan your trip, hike or stay on Mt. Katahdin.