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Hunters Pass Slide, Dix and Hough 12-24-16

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  • Hunters Pass Slide, Dix and Hough 12-24-16

    Trip on 12-23 not the 24th

    Pictures Here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskPbwfXU

    Slide climbing partner Claudia and I started our winter season climbing Hunters Pass Slide. We arrived from Elk Lake and returned over Dix, Hough and Lillian Brook Path.

    We've climbed this slide several times including a conservative try last winter. Familiarity is probably the reason we selected it. Knowing how to get to and out of the slide with the early season deep snow was important to us.

    It was a good thing we started at 6am start because the whole loop took us 13-1/2 hours. Snow conditions in the valley were not too bad. One group signed in on the 21st for four of the Dixes with a return by Lillian Brook. Since then 2-4" of new snow covered the trail. Beyond Lillian Brook turnoff there wasn't that much more snow but it was unbroken.

    We've learned our way to this slide which has an entrance at a small waterfall. We took the waterfall with snowshoes then changed to crampons just above it.

    The main feature of this slide is a steep ramp/gully a third of the way up. On this trip it was partly filled with snow knee to thigh deep at the bottom. I climbed part way up the left side then decided to bail and climb up out of ramp/gully to the climbers right. Both of us were concerned about a contouring traverse a couple steps at the top. Instead of following me, Claudia decided to go up the right side that also had some snow and an exit that looked more reasonable. After we'd accomplished that the rest of the climb was a steep icy climb avoiding the more difficult parts.

    The return was a long one. After the short out to the trail we were greeted by deep snow with a weak crust that made for slow going. Someone had been up the trail from Round Pond so gladly the route was packed down and all the way to the Beckhorn. We arrived at Dix about 130 and we agreed we'd have all we could do to get back to the Dix trial before dark. The path from the Beckhorn to Hough was unbroken and slow going through knee deep snow. Soon after starting up Hough from the col we lost the path for 5 minutes or so....this is the most difficult section for route finding....but Claudia found the path again, though it was difficult to know for sure until the last bit where the path levels and contours around cliffs. From Hough summit the track of the group on the 21st was there but mostly blown in.

    We got off track again nearing the junction with Lillian Brook path.

    At the col I had to convince Claudia I knew were Lillian Brook path is since all traces were blown in. Convincing entailed going where I thought we should go then shouting back "it's here." I've been on Lillian Brook a lot, even before there was a path, and was just here in good conditions a month ago with Ebbinghaus.

    Everything was going well, and we'd gotten off the steeps, then in dim light I lost the track in very open woods. We floundered for 10 or 15 minutes. We got our map out and took a compass bearing, though Claudia said "It's just west." Claudia took the lead following the compass and fortunately in another 5 or 10 minutes we crossed the path again. It was now time for headlamps. After that I didn't lose the path again.

    From Dix trail to our vehicle it was still another two hours of slog but it ended a great day.

    Don
    Last edited by Hear the Footsteps; 12-25-2016, 03:58 PM.

  • #2
    Mighty impressive, Don and Claudia. Congrats on a successful trip!

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    • #3
      Nice, Don & Claudia! Looks like the freeze thaw added some ice though there was enough snow to make it safe. Inspiring set of photos and trip!

      Thanks for the Buttress shots too. Now I'm planning!
      May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

      www.adirondackmountaineering.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mudrat View Post
        Nice, Don & Claudia! Looks like the freeze thaw added some ice though there was enough snow to make it safe. Inspiring set of photos and trip!

        Thanks for the Buttress shots too. Now I'm planning!
        I knew you'd like the Buttress Pics.

        Don

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JoeCedar View Post
          Mighty impressive, Don and Claudia. Congrats on a successful trip!
          Thanks Joe, So far this season we are getting more of real winter aren't we?

          Don

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          • #6
            Like the old days when a 46 peak wasn't taken for granted...

            In December 2009, I needed two days to climb Dix for #552.

            Who knows? Maybe the trend won't last.


            Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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