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Whiteface's Wilmington Trail has received a minor reroute.

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  • Whiteface's Wilmington Trail has received a minor reroute.

    From the DEC:

    A small section of the Whiteface Mountain Trail just above the junction with the Whiteface Highway (Wilmington Turn) has been rerouted to avoid the hazard created by variable ice conditions and the "rock cut" of the highway. (1/18)


    I assume it is this section where the trail rises steeply from the road and then (not visible in the photo) runs parallel for ~ 220 feet to a small clearing (and then turns away from the rock-cut). This clearing is often icy and slopes down to the abrupt edge of the rock-cut.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Wilmington Trail - Wilmington Turn.jpg Views:	1 Size:	96.2 KB ID:	483450

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Wilmington Trail - Clearing.JPG Views:	1 Size:	309.9 KB ID:	483451

    This article from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise indicates two hikers, in two separate incidents last winter, suffered serious injuries at this spot.
    http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise...iteface-trail/

    My guess is, at the very least, they've rerouted the trail away from the clearing (perhaps the entire section between the road and the clearing).
    Looking for Views!

  • #2
    I hope this really is directed at the clearing which I consider as an unnecessary winter hazard as well as improving the first step up from the highway.

    Awhile (years?) back a larger cut boulder was placed at the first step that helped when dry but I thought was only a minor improvement when icy. The top of the step slopes downhill.

    The clearing has been an unnecessary hazard for years and it is always icy. People will trample vegetation to avoid it. I'm among them. I suppose the probability of falling off the wall is small but the consequence could be fatal. Something that would be an easy high score and subject of mandantory action in an industrial hazards review and should have been dealt with years ago. How about a fence like along the steps in the 300 ft climb from the Castle. Anyway as my be obvious this thing is a hot button for me.

    BTW TB how high do you figure the rock cut is at the "clearing" 20 ft (~6 m) is my guess.

    Don
    Last edited by Hear the Footsteps; 01-28-2018, 05:47 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Don, I agree it's a ~20-foot fall. The DEC's report (below) says 25. Either way it's enough to cause serious injuries.


      It took a bit of digging but I believe these are the two incidents mentioned in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise's article.

      https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/109435.html
      Town of Wilmington
      Essex County
      Rescue: On March 4 at 10:46 a.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from Essex County 911 for a 26-year-old male from St. Hubert's, Quebec, who, while descending Whiteface Mountain, lost his footing, slid off the trail, went through the woods about 30 feet, then fell off a 25-foot vertical cliff to the Whiteface Highway below. The subject required medical assistance for serious injuries. Rangers arrived at a staging area on the Whiteface Highway at 11:45 a.m. Snowmobiles were taken up the highway to the injured subject along with Wilmington EMS. The subject was reached at 12:08 p.m. After a medical evaluation, he was packaged and brought down the Whiteface Highway at 12:36 p.m. Wilmington Ambulance transported the subject to a landing zone, where he was loaded into a Medivac Helicopter and flown to Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington, Vermont. The incident concluded at 1:35 p.m.


      https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/109486.html
      Town of Wilmington
      Essex County
      Rescue: On March 10 at 12:15 p.m., DEC Dispatch received notification of a 31-year-old male from Cohoes with a possible fractured femur near the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Three Rangers were dispatched to assist the subject. He was packaged into a litter and towed by snowmobile down the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway. The subject was then transferred to an ambulance at 2:38 p.m. and taken to AMC Saranac Lake. The incident concluded by 3 p.m. The Rangers were assisted by the Wilmington Fire Department, Wilmington Ambulance, and Lake Placid Ambulance.
      Looking for Views!

      Comment


      • #4
        [QUOTE=Trail Boss;n483453]Don, I agree it's a ~20-foot fall. The DEC's report (below) says 25. Either way it's enough to cause serious injuries.


        It took a bit of digging but I believe these are the two incidents mentioned in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise's article.



        Thanks TB. Whom ever is the authority with jurisdiction is lucky

        If I were the one that had fallen. I'd hire a good lawyer. Sue the state (well. probably some Authority) and win some settlement.

        Don

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hear the Footsteps View Post
          .......

          If I were the one that had fallen. I'd hire a good lawyer. Sue the state (well. probably some Authority) and win some settlement.

          Don
          I climbed Whiteface 3 days after the second incident, I remember that , I had to be very careful on the clear section above the road, that said, I was not wearing alpine crampons or microspike. I have to admit that I disagree with you regarding suing the state, there will always be risk involve and it is YOUR responsability to make sure you can handle them.

          If this game of litigation start to rise too much, you will not be able to do what we can do as it is now. There will be tons of rules to respect and there might even be associated fees to make sure there is always someone able to verify that you abide by the rules.



          8000m 0/14

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by nangaparbat View Post
            I climbed Whiteface 3 days after the second incident, I remember that , I had to be very careful on the clear section above the road, that said, I was not wearing alpine crampons or microspike. I have to admit that I disagree with you regarding suing the state, there will always be risk involve and it is YOUR responsability to make sure you can handle them.

            If this game of litigation start to rise too much, you will not be able to do what we can do as it is now. There will be tons of rules to respect and there might even be associated fees to make sure there is always someone able to verify that you abide by the rules.
            Hello Nanga,

            I admit, Americans are quick to sue.

            And I respect you of all people of your view on personal responsibility.

            And I admire your accomplishments and want to emulate them. My hiking and climbing partner admire you an speak warmly of you.

            However this isn't ice climbing or slide climbing. The expectation here is a hike to a summit on a marked trail

            And I just think this is 'low hanging fruit' for the taking of American lawyers.

            And unfortunately a reroute is in my view of proof or an admission of a wrong.

            And I expect to add to this...... if I can find the post where I saw this as a hazard.

            Regards.

            Don

            Comment


            • #7
              I think we can all agree that there are many fall-hazards on High Peaks trails. I don't think anyone wants *all* of them eliminated. However, I believe we can also agree that there are a few sections where the trail seems more 'ornery' than is necessary.

              Some sections seem like the worst possible choice of all available options. For example, that spot on the Wilmington Trail can become the nastiest part of the entire trail. Yet it's not like it's the only possible route up though there and I'm glad to hear they've changed it.



              There are areas that have become hazardous due to erosion and because they run along the fall-line (the north sides of Armstrong and Upper Wolf Jaw are prime examples). However, some spots almost seem designed to be bad! These come to mind:



              1) The north side of Basin is very similar in design to the issue on Whiteface. There's a rocky ramp than runs west to a cliff-edge then makes a hard turn north. It used to run right along the cliff edge until that section collapsed (!) a few years ago and was rerouted a few yards away the edge. Is there a real need to preserve the route down the ramp? Why not reroute the trail to head north immediately?

              2) There's a section on Basin, during the descent into the Saddleback-Basin col, that's needlessly steep and hazardous. A simple switchback could avoid it.

              3) Perhaps controversial but if I had to design a trail up Saddleback's south face, I wouldn't pick the existing route up the ledges. It's certainly unique and challenging (and fun, given good weather) but the so-called 'winter-route' is just a few yards off to the east. It has no exposure and would need one, maybe two, ladders to make it accessible at all times. It would feel far more like existing High Peaks trails.

              Looking for Views!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
                I assume it is this section where the trail rises steeply from the road and then (not visible in the photo) runs parallel for ~ 220 feet to a small clearing (and then turns away from the rock-cut). This clearing is often icy and slopes down to the abrupt edge of the rock-cut.
                I was lucky because of my ignorance.
                In winter at this particular point I did not know that I was supposed to hike on this trail, I have not noticed this trail and just used the road itself (as quite a few other hikers on that day).


                Originally posted by Hear the Footsteps View Post
                If I were the one that had fallen. I'd hire a good lawyer. Sue the state (well. probably some Authority) and win some settlement.
                Why to sue NYS if an easy walk around exists?
                I apologize for being old-fashioned, but I believe that each person should be responsible for his own steps on the trail.
                Last edited by Yury; 01-28-2018, 10:33 PM.

                Comment


                • gebby
                  gebby commented
                  Editing a comment
                  When I did Esther and Whiteface in winter we tried to get up to that clearing and that first step up that @HeartheFootsteps alluded to was just too high and icy and we could not get up it, though we were able to come down it.

              • #9
                I climbed WF and E on Jan. 22 and saw the new bypass which is marked with red/black flagging. It parallels the old trail just a few feet above it and avoids the ice-covered open rock ledge. It joins the trail just a few feet above the icy area. It is a minimal reroute and I thought it might have been done by individuals. I expect that in a few years the trees will die and slide off, rejoining the open ledge.

                Nothing has changed at the high ledge steps adjacent to the road, which has plenty of ice. Someone had tied an unnecessary rope to a tree there.

                Comment


                • Trail Boss
                  Trail Boss commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Joe, thanks for clarification.

              • #10
                Here is what I wrote in my journal about a decade ago about that spot...

                We continued on, still ahead of schedule until we hit the final section of trail which went up the ridge to the summit. Here we hit our first ice problem. A short scramble on slick ice over a couple rock ledges. Fortunately with Andy's ice climbing expertise, some rope and a pair of ice tools that we brought, we managed to get over it after spending about half an hour in logistics. Another 50 meters up the trail we hit our second ice problem. This time it was a slick ice slope, which dropped over a substantial cliff. To slip and fall here meant death, but with help and coaching from Andy, all three of us made it across safely.
                Winter mountain hiking has risks. Deal with them or turn around and go home. This section of trail is no problem in summer conditions. If you are the litigious type, please leave the mountains now.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Isn't there already a winter work-around? I've never taken the stairs in the winter, but then again I've never had an issue with the existing trail in the winter.
                  My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

                  Comment


                  • FlyFishingandBeer
                    FlyFishingandBeer commented
                    Editing a comment
                    moosebeware Thanks for the heads up. That's really good to know since I was going to be heading up WF this Saturday with a buddy, and we'd talked about doing some exploring near the summit.

                  • JoeCedar
                    JoeCedar commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You will definitely encounter ice (out in the open) as well as deep snow (in wind-protected areas) on the trail up the ridge to the summit. I used snowshoes to the summit, but there has been more rain since I was there. I doubt Microspikes or Hillsounds would be improvement over MSR (or good Tubbs) snowshoes. Carrying crampons may be a good idea but changing into them on the ridge would not be fun.

                  • FlyFishingandBeer
                    FlyFishingandBeer commented
                    Editing a comment
                    JoeCedar I had that experience a couple of years ago; it wasn't fun at all. I'll have to play it by ear, but Hillsounds, Tubbs, and crampons are my standard winter kit.

                • #12
                  Well, I've never taken the trail up from the aforementioned area, I've always taken the stairs. Winter and/or summer 5 or 6 times. The stairs have never been a problem, given the railing. But that does not mean mb is wrong. The takeaway, bring crampons! Hell, for all 46W hikes, bring them!
                  Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

                  Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
                  Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
                  Past President Catskill 3500 Club
                  CEO Views And Brews!

                  Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

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