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Climbing Facts

State Connecticut
Highest Peak Mount Frissell
Elevation 2,380 feet (725 metres)
First climbed ?  
Vertical Gain AMC Parking ~540 feet (165m)
Total Distance (One-way) AMC Parking ~1.2miles (1.9km)
Estimated hiking time 1.5 - 2 hours return
Difficulty Hard (steep)
Required Maps Connecticut Road Map & Topographic Map
Nearest town Salisbury, CT ~6 miles
GPS Co-Ordinates 42° 2' 58" N 73° 28' 57" W
Date climbed October 2010


Connecticut - Mount Frissell

| About Mount Frissell|

Apparently nearby Bear Mountain is often mistaken (and infact marked) as being the highest summit in Connecticut. Bear Mountain is indeed the highest 'free-standing' mountain in Connecticut, however the true high point is a relatively uninspiring point along a walking trail on the slope of Mount Frissell (whose summit is actually in Massachusetts).

Nevertheless, climbing Mount Frissell is still fun and has been one of the harder of the 'low' summits I've attempted so far. This is because the trail is pretty steep in places and gives the feeling that you are actually in the wilderness (unlike many of the other 'low' summits which are simply by the side of the road or adjoining a carpark.

Reaching Mount Frissell is also a little complicated and a topographic map of the area will ensure you actually find your summit (although a detailed map isn't necessarily required for this climb).

I arrived at Mount Frissell from the South and used the 'standard' Mt Washington Road trail, so will only write on this.

Head toward Salisbury, CT. Heading north along US 44, take a right onto Factory Street. This road winds up a hill and at about 1200 yards, the road splits. Take the left-hand "Mount Riga Road". From memory, there are also signs toward Mt Riga.

Follow Mt Riga Road for about 2.2 miles. There are numerous signs along the way saying this is private property (I think does not include the road). The road is dirt and while a little bumpy is ok for a 2WD.

At the end of the road take a right along Mt Washington Road. Follow Mt Washington Road approximately 3.1 miles. It might feel as though you have driven too far, however you'll pass a concrete road barrier (off the side of the road) and shortly after there is a small parking area on the right. There is a sign hanging on a tree which reads "AMC Parking". There is a gate behind the sign. This is the best place to park.

About 50 feet further on there is another smaller parking/turning area (with a sign along the lines of "do not park"). You'll also pass a stone MA-CT marker on the right.

The start of the trail is on the left. There is a small clearing and trail enters into the woods at the far end. You'lll know you're on the trail as there are red painted stripes on many of the trees.


| High Point Trail |

I have a terrible confession to make....

I didn't actually reach Connecticut's highest point. I certainly climbed ot the summit of Mount Frissell, but it was not until I got home that I realised the summit of Mount Frissell is infact Massachusetts. And it's not the highest point of anything (other than Mount Frissell).

But how did this travesity occur. Climbing Mount Frissell is probably not the most sort after summit in the area. There are dozens of walking trails in this part of world and probably more interesting summits than this. Of course, being the highest point in Connecticut means dozens of climbers attain this point every week and was of course the reason Tiana and were here.

We arrived late in the day, about 3pm and I thought the walk would be little more than a stroll in the woods. We'd back in the car in 15 minutes I thought. Tiana was wearing flats and I not much better in a pair of sneakers. As we passed the first hikers on the way back from the summit, kitted out in hiking boots, backpacks and walking poles that I begun to wonder exactly how hard this walk would be.

The first section of the trail is easy. Only slightly rising, with Red markers painted on numerous trees, the walk was infact really quite pleasant.After a short while the trail reaches the base of Round Mountain and the climbing begins. Not hugely difficult, the trail is however steep and climbs up several boulders. Covered in Fall leaves, this made it only more difficult.

About 45 minutes from the start of our walk and we were on the summit of Round Mountain. From here we could see Mount Frissell, a little higher in elevation. The views from Round Mountain were fantastic, with red and orange tree covered hills in all directions.

The trail drops back down the far side of Round Mountain and soon starts climbing back again. While not quite as steep, there are a few rocky sections close to the summit.

Eventually the trail splits to the left and right. To right I could see a cairn of rocks and a registration book. I thought I'd conquered Frissell. Although this was true, this is not the highest point in Connecticut. I falsely filled in the registration book thinking my job was done.

To reach Connecticut's high point, you need to take the left hand trail which actually heads back downhill. I did infact follow this trail, but only for a short while. I was looking for the tri-state point of NY, MA and CT. I must have been within a whisker of actually reaching the highpoint when I glanced toward the sky and realized it would start getting dark in a couple of hours.

It was now just after 4pm and we still had to get back to the car. I turned back and quickly walked back to Tiana (who was still waiting on the summit). We returned slowly back to the car reaching it right on 2 hours from leaving.

| The Weather |

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High 34° 36° 46° 58° 71° 78° 84° 81° 74° 62° 50° 37°
Avg. Low 11° 14° 24° 34° 44° 52° 57° 56° 48° 37° 28° 18°
Mean 24° 25° 35° 46° 58° 66° 71° 68° 61° 50° 40° 28°
Avg. Precip. 3.0 in 2.8 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 4.0 in 4.3 in 3.7 in 4.4 in 3.5 in 3.3 in 3.7 in 3.4 in

(weather measured at Lakeville, CT ~6 miles away)

| Watch the Climb on YouTube |

Part A

Part B

Part C

On this adventure: Roland & Tiana