At right is a photo taken several years ago from the top of Maine's Mt. Katahdin (5,267 ft) in the middle of February. Believe it or not, the park is actually open in the winter for individuals brave (or perhaps STUPID) enough to climb its frozen slopes. While its altitude is barely worth noting, compared to the peaks of the rockies, struggling against its typically high winds and extremely low temperatures the winter will find the average adventurer challenged. Those who do attempt will be richly rewarded by solitude, views and an overall experience that is unparalleled.
The issue with this climb has always been about the details. Baxter State Parks unrealistic "mandatory" equipment lists, advance access notice and a minimum party size all worked together to create unnecessary hurdles that made winter access to the summit next to impossible. All this has changed however.
Last evening, I received a phone call from my long time climbing buddy. He informed me that the park was changing its winter regulations this year. Most notably were changes to the group size (solo now possible), mandatory equipment now (recommended) and the access notification shortened by several day. With these changes, Katahdin has become more accessible to the hobbiest mountaineering crowd. I am already planning a return to the summit this Feb/March!
For more on the changes see here: Baxter State Parks New Winter Regulations