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2 Men & a Frog:Up the Dipper, down the Eagle, up the Diagonal Slides of Giant

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  • 2 Men & a Frog:Up the Dipper, down the Eagle, up the Diagonal Slides of Giant

    PHOTO ALBUM

    Nearly anything can happen on Giant Mountain when you mix several slides, David Gomlak and his stuffed frog, Topo!

    June 21st 2014: The Day in a Nutshell:
    Starting at 8:00 a.m., we hiked up the Zander Scott trail to 3,500 feet in elevation and followed the slab exposed in the early 1900’s by the great fires that tore through the area. We climbed the Dipper and bushwhacked to the East trail between Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge. For the heck of it we then ran up and touched the summit for a quick snack. Continuing along, we found the exit for the southern tributary of the Eagle slide and descended, generally zig-zagging down a hundred or so feet from the southern edge.

    At the base we followed the drainage down to the subtle intersection with the Finger Slide (mossy slab that ascends to the east-southeast into the alders before hitting the slide). Finding a safe place along the precariously stacked boulders of the Tropical Storm Irene-damaged drainage, we attained the ridge and bushwhacked to the drainage of the central gully (the seam between the Diagonal Slide and remnants of the Question Mark Slide). At 3,600 feet we topped a wall in the stream and found the drainage for the Diagonal slide (offset about 20 degrees north of the gully) and climbed it to the cliff band at the top. A traverse to the right with a few scrambles led back to the summit. We arrived back at the cars about 6:30 p.m.

    Approximate ROUTE & MOSAICS





    CLICK FOR FULL SIZE



    CLICK FOR FULL SIZE


    A Few More Details:
    The burned slab was a fun descent...old exposure slab with a bit of moss. Thereafter, we stayed around 3,400 feet in elevation following the terrain above Dipper Brook. The forest was pleasantly open for much of the on-contour bushwhack from the burn to the Dipper slide base. A small slide decorated the flank part of the way along...something for the future when I get bored. Topo (the frog) channeled through David during a couple areas where the trees tightened. As Topo complained, David placated him with reassuring words. I could see where this day was going!

    At the base of the Dipper we were joined by a small horde of blackflies. I expected some help from Topo, but apparently he wasn’t hungry.

    The Dipper is a multi-part slide broken in to three fairly distinct sections separated by bands of vegetation. The bottom is narrow wet and blocky. Part two looks like a 3-prong pitchfork and begins with a steep wall about 60+ degrees, but this is easily avoided via a left rising ramp that leads to the left side of the slide where there’s a bit of a staircase in lower (than 60) angle slab. This continues up on some even lower-angle slab until choking with vegetation again. The final and most sustained section begins in with more moss and quickly changes to clean wide slab.


    Center of the second section of the slide located here.

    I was alone on this the last time and avoided the steepest of pitches. With company, it I considered it “playtime” and experimented on some of the more challenging sections. It was a good scramble for the first slide of the day. The bushwhack up to the Ridge Trail is fairly tough so I decided to try an on-contour whack over to the East Trail. The 5-minute bushwhack was pleasant and fast!


    David and Topo racing up the top.

    After a quick break at the summit, I took us down the southern-most upper tributary of the Eagle Slide. David asked if this was the “dumbest thing we’d do this day”? “Yes,” I confirmed. Though exposed, the southern portion of the Eagle avoids the most difficult slab in the center. We switch-backed as we down-climbed from tree island to tree island finally ending up at the base of the slide. A quick traverse to the center led down the enlarged drainage slab to the confluence with the Finger Slide.


    Descending the Eagle slide tributary at the top.


    David on the bottom of the Eagle traversing to my position.

    Topo began complaining again when we began a 20-minute bushwhack toward the Diagonal Slide on the SW aspect of the next major ridge. The forest is a bit tight and choked with blowdown. An intermediate drainage briefly threw off my sense of position, but I realized it was the northern drainage for the Eagle and kept trekking north. Open air a bit farther along signaled a major drainage...the Central Gully.

    For those who haven’t seen this, it is a beautiful area. The water courses down the defined seam in the center of the mountain. If followed, it eventually leads to some small cliffs and separates the remnants of the Question Mark Slide and the Diagonal.

    A landmark wall at 3,600 feet in elevation sits just below the drainage for the Diagonal. Its slope is roughly 70 degrees, mossy and wet—seemed like a nice challenge to climb. About halfway up I realized the holds in the main water flow weren’t as robust I’d hoped. David stopped me and asked, “Kevin, before you try that, how do you get back to the trailhead?” I laughed as I considered the next move and the holds. I was about 15 feet up on a small terrace that led to the edge...a place I ended up by design as a bail-out route...which I used.


    Messing around on the mossy wall at 3,600 feet in elevation below the Diagonal Slide...not particularly recommended.

    I descended the Diagonal slide several years ago in moderately wet early spring conditions so my attention was on my footing not on the details of the slab. This was my opportunity to return to study the nooks and crannies of this challenging scramble.

    About 50 feet above the top where the slab laid down in slope, a subtle mossy slide entered from the left...the Diagonal. We ascended via a thin clean track amongst dry moss. A steep bushwhack then led to the wide swath of the slide proper. At the base it’s nearly 300 feet across and broken by a few tree islands. There are spots of moss and crumbling lichen, but it offered good traction with rock climbing shoes. It was all about face climbing up good friction slab with a few bulges thrown in for the first few hundred feet.

    Then it became more challenging and committing depending on the line. There are plenty of features to work with, but some are subtle (like a nub of feldspar or small pit of weathering). Mix this in with increased moss/lichen and it forces you to choose your lines well ahead of time while keeping your head. No Irene-scrubbed slide here!


    About 100' up the Diagonal Slide.

    As with any slide, you can choose hard or comparatively easier lines in most areas. The crux lies at about 75 below the top where tiers of overlaps form a significant barrier. I tried a few moves in the center where there seemed to be some good hand-jams available and down-climbed after scoping out the slab on top. I didn’t want to take a chance without protection so I found an area on the far right that gave me access to the upper slab, still a decent climb. I then traversed, dropped my pack and sent a rope down to David who was searching below for a good way up. There are trees to either side, but we kept the climb pure. A bit of steep slab led to a small boulder at the top.


    Yup, it gets steep in some areas.

    Our original plan was to descend the Bottle slide. We had plenty of time, but I’d made plans and wanted to be home by 6:30 p.m. so I cut the day slightly short. A 3-minute bushwhack led to the cliff at the top. A herd path then led to the right . A couple steep scrambles led to the ridge trail.

    It was a good day and, again on the summit, we ate a snack. David consulted with Topo and found him partially decapitated...eek! Is that stuffed animal cruelty? He vowed to keep him in the pack the next time the word “bushwhack” was mentioned while I vowed to stop eating frog legs.

    Thanks for a great day, David!!
    Last edited by mudrat; 07-03-2014, 06:32 AM.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

    www.adirondackmountaineering.com

  • #2
    Noticing the slide through the woods while hiking up Dipper Brook last year, I wondered aloud if anyone had ever climbed it before. Gregorykarl said "I'm sure Kevin's climbed it".
    Last edited by Crepuscular; 07-02-2014, 06:21 AM. Reason: hiking and bushwhacking? multi-talented!
    Crepuscular Rays: Dissolve into evergreens

    There's always gonna be another mountain
    I'm always gonna wanna make it move
    Always gonna be an uphill battle
    Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
    Ain't about how fast I get there
    Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side...
    It's the climb
    -Miley Cyrus

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Crepuscular View Post
      Noticing the slide through the woods while hiking up bushwhacking up Dipper Brook last year, I wondered aloud if anyone had ever climbed it before. Gregorykarl said "I'm sure Kevin's climbed it".
      Laughing! Yeah, this is my 2nd time on it. First time was back in 2010 after the NE & E face. It's a good one to combine with others on the mountain. It's also been around for a long time so I'm sure many others have played on in throughout the decades.
      May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

      www.adirondackmountaineering.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Looks like fun. Great shots of David and the frog. I hope Topo recovers soon . Keep on truckin'.
        You know I'm born to lose / And gambling's for fools / But that's the way I like it, baby / I don't wanna live forever "Ace of Spades" - Motorhead

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow, talk about taking the scenic route! Nicely done.

          Steve
          46/46 - #9464
          7/46 W
          NE115 - 53/115

          Comment


          • #6
            OK Kevin, I have two issues here...

            1) TOPO IS STUFFED???

            2) Please refrain from killing my husband.
            (I know he appreciated the rope - but I did even more!)
            Going where the wind don't blow so strange
            Maybe off on some high cold mountain range.
            Robert Hunter

            www.tmax-n-topo.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tmax View Post
              OK Kevin, I have two issues here...

              1) TOPO IS STUFFED???

              2) Please refrain from killing my husband.
              (I know he appreciated the rope - but I did even more!)
              Ummm...oops. I've offended the frog again. That must have been puffy white blood oozing from the seams after the third slide!

              I was warned during the trip that I'd be assuming several responsibilities at the hostel if anything happened to your hubby.

              The rope was good, it's fun to get it out and use it every now and again. Next is Gothics sometime or another...more rope.
              May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

              www.adirondackmountaineering.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I was told by a random climber (wait no, owner of alpine adventures in keene) that you will have a book out this year. And this better be in it. You whacko.
                "In truth, the forest hears each sound, each blade of grass as it lies down. The world requires no audience, no witnesses, no witnesses!" Conor Oberst.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by gregpphoto View Post
                  I was told by a random climber (wait no, owner of alpine adventures in keene) that you will have a book out this year. And this better be in it. You whacko.
                  Whacko...
                  I was on Gothics N. Face with R.L. & Karen today for their book!
                  Yes, that's the idea if all goes as planned; I'm wrapping it up now, then to publisher etc...a guidebook with 50 or so slides. The plan is to include 'normal' approaches--descending the Eagle doesn't fall into the normal definition of normal...just ask David!
                  May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

                  www.adirondackmountaineering.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    May I continue to live vicariously through you now and again?

                    Way to be!
                    "Most often, my weeks are countdowns to the days I spend in the Adirondacks." - JZ

                    http://www.facebook.com/justin.zaremski

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinzaremski/

                    Comment

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