Old Man of the Mountain

On May 3rd, 2003 the symbol of New Hampshire fell from his lofty perch.

On June 13, 2003 I went to visit what was left of him.



The Old Man of the Mountain as he was.

This photo by Rob Gallagher shows what was lost of the famous profile.

It was actually a difficult hike getting to the Old Man of the Mountain because you have to get off trail to reach him and I didn't know that.

During some of the repair efforts and monitoring of the Old Man of the Mountain's condition over the years a small helipad was built. It was built for the workers and supplies that would be flown up to him. If you hike up the Kinsman trail you will come to an area that opens up called Profile Clearing. From there you hike out onto the rocks. If you go out far enough you will see a small grass square bordered by railroad ties. That is the helipad that gave access to the Old Man of the Mountain to the workers. Once you make it to the helipad you still have to descend a bit to get to the site.

The first time I hiked up to the Old Man (when these photos were taken) I didn't really know what route to take. It was only seeing the helipad that aided me in making it to the Old Man of the Mountain. 

Here is an epoxy 'gutter' built above the Old Man of the Mountain used to channel some of the water away from him and I assume also reduce ice that would form behind him during winter.

Here you are looking down at the top of the Old Man of the Mountain from above. Some of the rocks above him were fastened with cables to the mountain to help fight movement.

Here is another view of that epoxy 'gutter'.

Here you can see the 'supports' that were embedded into the top of the Old Man of the Mountain to try to keep him from pulling away from the cliff face.

This view shows some more of the epoxy and the main road leading south.

Here is a view looking down at Profile Lake.

Here is a view slightly lower than the one above. If the Old Man of the Mountain was still in place you would be seeing his profile from this angle.


Some of the supports used to try to hold off the power of nature. You can also see a block of hard rubber coated with silver paint. It was originally underneath one of the supports as it bore the stresses. Unfortunately nature eventually won over the supports.

Those  vehicles down below look pretty small from here.

The photo above and below show the rock field below. The Old Man of the Mountain's final resting place.

It is believed that the darker rocks along the inside edge are pieces of the Old Man of the Mountain.

Update 2006:

August 20th, 2006 I went up to visit the "Old Man of the Mountain" again. The site still looks pretty much the same as it did during my first visit. Here are some photos from the August 20th 2006 hike.

Here is a view from the bottom looking up from Profile Lake area.

Here is view along the trail on the way up.

Not really a hard hike but when your 46 and smoke it seems harder than it is!

Here is the Old Man of the Mountain Helipad

Looking down from above the top of the Old Man of the Mountain

A different angle of those rocks above the Old Man of the Mountain

Another view of the top of the Old Man of the Mountain. Those 'supports' would have been attached to the top of his head. You can see that the whole cliff side area is pretty fractured.

The attachments hanging in mid air with nothing to hold onto anymore

Not much has changed in 3 years

Same shot I took three years earlier. Only different is there is a little bit more debris on that little ledge. Mother nature is still at work. I feel eventually even the supports for the Old Man of the Mountain will eventually join him at the bottom.

Update 2009:

I hiked to the Old Man again, this time my wife joined me. We took the Cannon Mountain tramway up. Then we took the same route down to the old man. We had a hard time finding our way back up to the top of the mountain in order to hike down.

This time there was more change to the Old Man's remains. More of the epoxy had fallen away and one of the "hooks" fell off one of the arms.

Next time (if there is a next time) I have to find the old "Rock climbers" trail that goes down from the old man instead of going back up and then down. My wife and I got to the bottom just before we ran out of light. It seemed tougher to me this year, maybe it's just because I'm 3 years old than the last time and 6 years older than the first time! Plus, I'm 49 and still smoking!

Here are photos from the 2009 hike:

The Tramway made it easy to get to the top, nice views along the way.

My wife Rachelle at the viewing platform at the very top of Cannon Mountain. (another nice view)

From the top looking toward the side the old man is on.


Part way to the old man looking back up the way we came. Tough to travel when there is no trail.

View looking down at the Helipad. Doesn't look that far away but it took a lot of 'bushwacking' to get to it!

Rachelle taking a break and having some water...or maybe after hiking with no trail she wanted to throw the water at me?

After 3 years back again to see what is left of an old friend. My wife stopped at the helipad and I joined her later on the way back up to the top.

Some changes in 3 years, more of the epoxy is gone but also one of the 'hooks' on the end of the support arm.



One of the 'hooks' is gone!


Photo of me at the Old Man.


Rachelle greeting me when I made it back up to the helipad. From there it is still a long way back up to the trail. It ended up being a lot longer than we thought it would be.

At this point I wished I had a helicopter!

Tough to see in the photo but if you look close you can see some adventurous cliff climbers. We met then on our way back up. We should have followed them to the old rock climbers trail. It would have saved us a lot of effort and time.

Rachelle on the trail as we neared the bottom.

I regret now that I never hiked up to the Old Man of the Mountain while he was intact. I feel as though I missed seeing something special up close. But now since I have been up to the site three times I feel closer to this fallen monument.

If you are interested in reading about the history of the Old Man of the Mountain you may want to check out the book, "Saving the Great Stone Face" by Frances Ann Johnson Hancock. It was originally published in 1984 so the book does not talk about the loss of the Old Man of the Mountain.

Check out a few of the links below

Old Man of the Mountain Memorial

Old Man of the Mountain Wikipedia