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Hikes In The High Peaks Over The Next Few Weeks

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  • Hikes In The High Peaks Over The Next Few Weeks

    I am new to this forum and the Adirondacks. I made a few trips out last year for the first time (Marcy via Hoevenberg and Algonquin/Wright via Avalanche Pass) and am very interested to see more of the Adirondacks. I hike quite a bit in the Whites of NH (48k year round and 44/48 Winter) so I am not new to hiking but new to the Adirondacks.I consider myself reasonably experienced and have all of the possible equipment I would need. I am also a solo hiker.

    Anyway, I booked a campsite for May 19-22 and am planning possible hikes. My hikes last year were much later in the year so I don't have a real feel for the mud/bug/Spring season in the Adirondacks the way I do with the White Mountains so I'm trying to get a feel for what sort of conditions I can expect that weekend. Of the hikes I was hoping to complete, this was what I was thinking (n order of desirability):

    1) Gothics via Pyramid/Sawteeth
    2) Nippletop via Ausable Club/Bear/Dial Mtns
    3) Giant Mtn

    So my specific questions would be the following:

    1) Given the good Winter this year would any of these routes still require snow shoes at the current time? I have and would bring but mentally I've moved on to "Summer" mode so I'd likely pick the route that did not involve bringing shoes.
    2) Is the mud on any of these routes bad enough for trail closures (such as what VT does on many trails).
    3) Is the parking situation at this time of year as bad as Summer? My only parking experience is with the Loj, which was pretty crazy. I usually get a pretty early start (7AM or earlier). Is the lot for Ausable Road a problem at this hour?
    4) Any recommendations on a good map set for the High Peaks? I bought the National Geographic map which I honestly can't stand. There are way too many symbols, etc and the scale is so small it is borderline unreadable. I use CalTopo often and print my own maps but I am noticing a lot of discrepancies between the two for the High Peaks area. Are there better sets out there anyone would recommend for the High Peaks?

    Would appreciate any info on the above hikes, comparable alternatives that might have better conditions or just general advice on the area. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Welcome to the Forum.

    1 - Without further snow accumulation, I would doubt that snowshoes will be required, but I would carry some traction. I hiked the Colvin Range (including Nippletop and Dial) and Giant one week ago and managed easily with microspikes and bareboots respectively. Two weeks prior to that the Lower Great Range required snowshoes above 3000', but that info will be far outdated by May 19.

    2 - I've never known the DEC to close trails due to mud. The last trail closure was during Hurricane Irene. I think Giant would be the driest of your options. BTW, most peakbaggers will add Rocky Peak Ridge to the Giant hike,

    3 - That is a Canadian holiday week-end so the area is busy. I suspect that you will probably be safe finding parking before 7am. I usually start earlier, around 5 or 6 and have never had a problem at any trailhead.

    4 - Many people, myself included, prefer the "Trails of the Adirondack High Peaks map published by the Adirondack Mountain Club and the excellent accompanying guide book.

    https://www.adk.org/explore-adk/publications/

    Comment


    • DayTrip
      DayTrip commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks. That is the guide I have but it didn't come with maps. I'll track those down.

      That Rocky Peak Ridge looks like a nice hike. Love ridge walks, which was one of the reasons I was looking at the Nippletop route. This looks like it might be an even better version of that. Are you suggesting I do from the East and travel to Giant as an out and back? Do you know what the parking situation is on that side road? Will this route be less crowded than coming up the trails from the Rte 73 side?

  • #3
    What Thomas said - especially, get the book and map.

    Welcome over from VFTT - the ADKS arte beautiful and strange; you will love it!

    Comment


    • #4
      From my experience, the Garden is the only lot you'll want to be careful about. It's small enough that it can fill up with weekend backpackers on Friday and you'll only get a spot on Saturday with luck no matter the time.

      The rest are generally clear at 7am. Last Memorial Day the tiny Elk Lake lot filled up at 8:40am. (We got there at 8:45am.) The Ausable Club parking and the Loj are big enough that there are free spots until about that time too.
      ADK 46/46W, Grid 235/552
      Photos & Stuff

      Comment


      • DayTrip
        DayTrip commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks. I was warned about the hazards of the Garden on VFTT so I had been avoiding as a starting point. The two hikes I did from the Loj last year I was in the lot by 6AM and was able to easily park in the first lot very close to the trail head. It's quite a shock when you get out of the woods in the afternoon though and see all the lots full, cars running down the road, etc. Adirondacks popular peaks are even busier than the Whites from what I have seen so far (which granted has only been weekends).

      • greatexpectations
        greatexpectations commented
        Editing a comment
        parking in town at rooster comb or a public lot is an option for the garden too. its a mile and change and a little extra climb but personally i don't mind. if you are willing to stick out your thumb you can probably get a ride at least one way, lots of people try their luck at the garden long after the lot is full.

    • #5
      Thanks. That is the guide I have but it didn't come with maps. I'll track those down.
      The guide used to come with the map but now it must be purchased separately .


      That Rocky Peak Ridge looks like a nice hike. Love ridge walks, which was one of the reasons I was looking at the Nippletop route. This looks like it might be an even better version of that. Are you suggesting I do from the East and travel to Giant as an out and back? Do you know what the parking situation is on that side road? Will this route be less crowded than coming up the trails from the Rte 73 side?
      The most efficient route would be up and back from 73. There is ample parking there compared to some other trailheads. The Zander Scott (aka RIdge) trail is very scenic with numerous vistas along the way. There's nothing much memorable about the trail between Giant and RPR.

      The approach from the east is still on my to do list but from the reports I've read it is supposed to be a very scenic hike and many rave about it during fall colour season. Obviously a longer route -- about 13.5 miles/6000' vs 8 miles/4350'. Some do it as a traverse if you can spot a car or bike.


      Comment


      • #6
        One of the best ridge-walks in the Adirondacks is Jay Mountain. Not a 4k peak but one beauty of a hike! Lots of exposed rock!
        RPR from New Russia is one of the most scenic hikes in the High Peaks. Hough to Dix is pretty good too.
        Project-100: 100 peaks, one winter. https://project100singlewinter.wordpress.com/

        Comment


        • #7
          If you're interested in Giant + RPR, I suggest in that order, especially if it's warm and sunny. Assuming you get to the top of Giant by midday, you will have the sun at your back on the open ridge walk. Of course, you will need a second car.
          I also agree on Jay.
          Mike

          ADK 46r #8003; 6W
          2nd round: 16
          SL6r #596
          Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by MTVhike View Post
            If you're interested in Giant + RPR, I suggest in that order, especially if it's warm and sunny. Assuming you get to the top of Giant by midday, you will have the sun at your back on the open ridge walk. Of course, you will need a second car.
            I also agree on Jay.
            I'd 2nd this. Giant to RPR is definitely the way to go. I'd also recommend starting at roaring brook trailhead if you are to do this route.

            Comment


            • greatexpectations
              greatexpectations commented
              Editing a comment
              to further optimize, why not start at the roaring brook trailhead and then take one of the connectors across to the ridge trail. that way you get both the falls of the RB trail and open ledges of the ridge trail at the cost of only a half mile or so extra of hiking.

          • #9
            I did this hike SAT from the Rte 9 trail head. What a phenomenal hike! Weather was perfect and the trail was pretty much bone dry with a few very minor exceptions and bug free for the entire hike (I could nott make that claim about my camp site though!). Did not see any snow, ice or monorail at all and mud was very minimal and shallow. Cuffs of my pants didn't even get dirty. There was even some brushing done and a few fresh trees cut. Not a single blow down on the entire route. I turned around just before the actual summit of RPR just past Marie Louise Lake (approx 0.4 miles to summit) and enjoyed the hike back instead. I think getting all the way to Giant would have been a little too much for me with those deep up and downs and made for a very long day. Worked out to about 13.5 miles and 5100' of vertical. Took a ton of pictures and made a lot of stops. Thanks to all for the info. I see why many consider this hike a classic.

            Next logical question: what are some other hikes like this one? Across the valley looking toward Gothics there looked to be a very long, knife edged, bare ridge. Meant to take a compass bearing but forgot. Anyone know what I might have been looking at? It was very pronounced and definitely bare rock. Maybe Sawtooth or one of the Wolfjaws? If there is a trail on it I'd definitely love to hike that one.

            Comment


            • #10

              ​The East Trail approach to RPR and Giant is considered by many to be the finest hike in the High Peaks. Many interesting things to see along the way, varied terrain, lots of views, and a trail that isn't exceedingly eroded (there's a marked difference between it and the section between RPR and Giant). Hard to direct you to a comparable hike when you've seen the best!

              The only other trail reminiscent of the East Trail is the trail to Jay Mountain. Sort of a mini-version; lots of bare rock along an open ridge with great views.
              http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/44.3101/-73.6862

              ​You may have been looking in the direction of the Great Range but there's nothing there comparable to the East Trail. The vast majority of the Great Range is wooded and you only get views on the summits. Sawtooth, Upper and Lower Wolf Jaw are wooded, so is Armstrong. Gothics has a "ridge" but only a short stretch of it, on the summit, offers wide-open views.

              ​Things get more interesting south of Gothics. Its southern face is mostly just krummholz and the trail runs along bare-rock offering lots of views along the way (and some steel cables to serve as handholds so that hikers don't stray off-trail and into the krummholz). That's a unique bit of terrain ... but not like the East Trail.
              http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/44.12756/-73.85715

              ​You're back in the woods for Saddleback but it compensates with the most challenging "trail" of the High Peaks, namely a short section running down its south face, commonly called Saddleback's "cliff". It's steep barren rock that easily qualifies as Class 3 terrain. I've never hiked the trail in Huntington Ravine but I'm guessing this is the closest the Adirondacks have to offer. I'll let others correct me on that one.

              ​The Adirondacks don't have the long open stretches of open, alpine terrain found in the Whites. The south sides of Marcy and Algonquin have terrain that might remind you of some parts in the Whites. The stretch from Little Haystack to Haystack is also impressively barren.





              Looking for Views!

              Comment


              • #11
                This isn't the greatest picture but the ridge with the squiggly black line I drew over it is what I was looking at. It seemed to have a trail up it although I suppose that could have just been the way the light was hitting the ridge crest.

                Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!

                Comment


                • Makwa
                  Makwa commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I think you're looking SW at the Dixes. The pointy one is Hough. Left of it is Macomb then your squiggly is over Grace (formerly East Dix).

              • #12
                What Makwa said. That's the ridge with Elizabethtown #4, Spotted Mountain, and Grace Peak.
                http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.07...069&z=15&b=mbt

                ​No trail along it but lots of open terrain and a great bushwhack introduced to me by Neil.

                ​Trip Report: http://lookingforviews.blogspot.ca/2...013-06-27.html

                Neil's pics: http://adkhighpeaks.com/neil/outdoor...013/index.html

                My pics: https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=78437...100E680DD!2316



                Looking for Views!

                Comment


                • DayTrip
                  DayTrip commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks. I'll probably have to hold off on that until I'm more familiar with the High Peaks. Still don't know most of the peaks by sight, haven't traveled most of the main access trails, etc. Would prefer to have a better general knowledge of the area before I venture off trail (I'm reasonable with map and compass and bushwhack where I regularly hike but I still like having a certain level of know how with the posted trails and area before I take on stuff like that, especially because I hike alone). I think Dix is going to be my next hike so I'll probably get a much better look at that area and I can evaluate from there.
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