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It's been a few years since I've hiked the Kinsmans from the Mount Kinsman Trail. And one thing is clear: it's a better route than the standard Fishin' Jimmy/Lonesome Lake loop. It's a moderate first few miles with a steady slope to the top. Contrast that with the super steep and super eroded main trail which is considerably more crowded as well.
As much as I love the Mount Kinsman Trail, it wasn't in the best of shape. We started in the pouring rain and knew it was going to be a rough day. The first few miles were muddy, and up to the Bald Peak we crossed over three raging rivers. They weren't difficult to cross, but you definitely had to have your wits about you.



After tagging Bald Peak and heading back to the junction, the mud immediately began to turn to monorails of ice with a fresh coat of snow on top. We were the first party to hike the trail since the snow, most likely from the night prior. Higher up the trail, the monorails were unstable and very thin. There were a few pockets where the only way forward was to break through, but for the most part, you could traverse along a very thin path. However, just a foot off the monorail it was post-hole city. We put snowshoes on when the monorails start to give way for more filled in snow, but we still had to keep on the rails to not post-hole.
At the junction with the Kinsman Ridge Trail, the rain had given way for snow. It also sleeted and hailed on our way up. We were wet and cold, but actually were thankful for the snow rather than heavy rain. The trail was in decent shape once we pushed up to the summit of North Kinsman, but the views were non-existent.
We broke trail over to South Kinsman, with a fresh coating of at least 3 inches of snow up there. It was swift going compared to on the way up the Mount Kinsman Trail.
Again having no views, we beelined back the way we came and tried our hardest to not post-hole on the way down!
Total Time: 6.5 hrsTotal Distance: ~10.4 milesTotal Vertical Gain: ~3700+ feet