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Tabletop and Phelps 12/01/16

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  • Tabletop and Phelps 12/01/16

    I strapped my spikes and snowshoes on my pack the night before, trying to convince myself it would bring snow to the high peaks overnight.

    I woke up at 3h15 on my own, as is often the case when an exciting hiking day is coming. I fired up mountain-forecast and was delighted to see 9 inches had reportedly fallen overnight.

    I hit the road in 15 minutes and was pulling in the hpic lot at 7 sharp. First one of 4 that would sign the register today.

    It was raining heavily as I started on the trail and the rain did not stop until I reached the phelps fork. Another great opportunity to test some gear in challenging conditions.

    The going was easy with no ice or snow, just quite a bit of water due to all the recent rain. That all changed once I reached the tabletop path. There was no more path, there was a brook. I can deal with an inch of running water, but not 3-4 and more in flatter muddy areas. So I whacked a few hundred yards until the running water in the path became manageable. I felt thankful that happened before spruce trees became so thick that I would be left with no good options.

    All that water I was concerned about made me forget about something I was very much looking forward to, snow! Where was it? As I kept going higher I came to realize it didn't come to the party and I mumbled I might as well have strapped a 5 pound rock to my pack instead of those tree snagging protrusion s...

    As I neared the summit, or so did I believe, I was greated with the worst kind of shoulder season bog. You know the one with 3 inches of slushy mess hiding everything underneath and that gushes muddy water everywhere at each step? It was much longer than I assumed it would be. Tabletop, right, I get the name now.

    All these efforts were finally rewarded with dense fog once I reached the summit. I walked past the sign, overlooking a clearing of low growth for a hundred feet and that was the extent of what I saw. Please tell me the view of Marcy is nothing to write home about.

    Phelps on the other hand was much more enjoyable. I noted that the trail is in really bad shape in places early on. Why do people feel the need to always walk around obstacles? Sometimes even for no apparent reason. The trail must have been more than 20 feet wide in places.

    Anyway, there still was running water in the trail, but nothing compared to tabletop. I also barebooted it all just like tabletop. No spikes necessary yesterday, the stayed on the pack with the snowshoes. With all that water there was always a spot of bare rock to get a good grip on.

    There's quite a lot of paths crisscrossing the top of phelps. I didn't take much time to investigate, but I wondered if I could find the path going down the north east side that connects with the klondike trail.

    The skies cleared a little bit and I remained sitting on a small bare rock ledge just below the summit for 15 minutes enjoying glimpses of the great range between the clouds and partial views of wright which I hiked two weeks ago.

    The walk back to the car was uneventful and I checked out at 3 having only crossed a squirrel all day. 12.7 miles and 4400 feet in 8 hours total. I might have taken it a little easier than usuall, and the going on tabletop was tougher than I'm used to, but it's impressive how footwear and pack weight have an impact. I was wearing my old Asolo afx 535 instead of my light winterized trail runners and my pack was 6 pounds heavier than two weeks ago on the Macintyre range. Moving pace was 1.9 vs 2.3 mph.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Natlife View Post
    Please tell me the view of Marcy is nothing to write home about.
    The view of Marcy is nothing to write home about but is nice to write about in trip reports.

    FWIW... I was about 20% slower in winter last year as compared to summer.

    Sounds like you had fun even with the not so great conditions. Well done.

    Comment


    • #3
      What kind of device were you using to get that ridiculous elevation gain, 4400 ft?

      The simple elevation differences are:
      Loj to TT; 4427-2180 = 2247 ft
      Ph jct side trail to Phelps: 4161-2900 = 1261 ft
      Total = 3509 ft
      Add for small ups/downs about 200 ft

      Real" total ascent of about 3700 ft

      Please understand this is not a personal attack. I am just pointing out that many devices people use report numbers which are total nonsense.

      Comment


      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Trail Boss... how accurate do you find the trails in OpenStreetMap on caltopo? I generally just use the USGS 7.5' Topos and find that my tracks diverge quite a bit from the drawn trails. I think that's where most of the erroneous cumulative ups & downs come from. A poorly drawn line can give the illusion of a lot of rolling hills when the actual trail just follows a contour line and gains no elevation. Whether it's caltopo or Goggle Earth if the line is not correct all that planning data is bad too. GIGO.

      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment
        Not sure I follow you. Google Earth's inflated values for ascent are a result of how it uses Google's Digital Elevation Model (DEM). For example, when calculating elevation profiles, both Runalyze and Caltopo report lower, more realistic, ascent values despite the fact they also use Google's DEM. Three apps relying on the same DEM yet one (GE) consistently reports higher values.

        The trails shown on USGS topos of the ADKs are typically outdated.

        The accuracy of a trail depicted in OSM depends on who drew it and what they used as a reference. Ideally, the author should rely on several tracklogs. Strava's heatmap is a good source. It also demonstrates why a single tracklog is only an approximation of the "true" route. Get about a half-dozen and now you've got something good.
        Seward and Seymour: http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#15/-...16902/blue/run

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        I am woefully ignorant how the results of the elevation profiles are calculated but what I'm driving at is the data for that calculation has to be taken from whatever section of terrain the line for the trail is drawn over. The kmz file that I download from GIS.NY.GOV that is all of the NYSDEC hiking trails represent a pretty close approximation of where the hiking trails are. When I overlay that in Google Earth and look at an elevation profile for a section of trail I'm assuming that the trail is drawn in the right spot. The elevation data points that are used to create that profile, I assume, come from points along that line. What I meant was if the line is drawn poorly, the data points are crummy, and thus produce a result that is inaccurate. Does this make any sense? Or am I totally missing the point? I'm only talking about planning out a hike. I don't mean taking a tracklog after a hike, laying on Google Earth and seeing what the elevation profile looks like. On caltopo when I use the USGS 7.5 Topos for planning a hike I know the trails are off. You can see this when you attempt to measure distance or profile and adjust for it. The light gray lines that pop up when using these functions appear to be the actual locations of trails and I assume are using more accurate data points to draw the profile. You get totally different results for the ele profile if you attempt to hand draw the profile by tracing over the trail drawn on the map. Get what I'm driving at?

        For my own edification I just took a recent tracklog from Wakely Mountain. The track in Garmin Basecamp said 1712' of ele gain. In caltopo it was calculated at 1861' and Google Earth it was 2006'. However, for prepping the hike I used the DEC trail info from the kmz file I got at GIS.NY.GOV and it said the hike would be 1696'. I now understand that each manipulates the data differently which brings us back to our main discussion but all I was attempting to say is that if the DEC trail info I typically use is drawn in the wrong place then the ele profile will be inaccurate. For Wakely there were a few places on the upper half of the hike where the drawn trail diverged quite notably from the track. This is true on nearly every trail I look at. Just curious how much the small inaccuracies of the input affect the information I'm seeking pre-hike.

    • #4
      I woke up at 3h15 ... Hit the road in 15 minutes ...
      ​Daaayyuuuum, son! What do you wolf down in that paltry 15 minutes? Or is brekky catered by Mickey D's?

      ​A portion of TT's trail doesn't look like a deep rut for nothing ... it's a gutter. I had pulled my punches when describing its potential conditions here, but you've confirmed what I had suspected ... it's an active gutter. Too bad; I was hoping it'd be less runny.

      Here you go. On the right day, TT offers several interesting views.


      Marcy viewed from Tabletop.
      Looking for Views!

      Comment


      • Natlife
        Natlife commented
        Editing a comment
        The nearest Timmy's takes care of that since the Saeco is a little too noisy for a 3am latte when my better half is sleeping.

        Talking about views, yesterday I was wondering where the best quiet place would be to set up a hiking chair and marvel at grand views of the great range for hours.

        And I'm going left and right here, but when I was on phelps I noticed the northeastern peak next to tabletop probably was higher than 4000 feet with more than 200 feet of gain on the col of the parent peak. I validated on USGS topo that is rises between 270 to 300 ft to 4304 ft. Why is it not counted as a separate peak? I must have the rules wrong.

      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment
        FWIW, I rarely play games with a photo's color palette. I'm not a fan of the current craze for pics with a surreal, often lurid, appearance. The photo above is what my camera saw without HDR or filters or color-tweaking in post.

        Having said that, it is guilty of registering a bit too much blue which is a common problem in winter (white snow reflecting blue sky and scattering blue light everywhere). Marcy's summit probably looked a bit whiter to the naked eye than it appears in the photo. It was a "bluebird" day but with some atmospheric haze so the left side looks like "Azure Blue", transitions to "Brandeis Blue" and finally, especially the upper right, to "Persian Blue".
        http://www.commonground191.com/journ...blueshades.jpg

        There's also the camera's (automated) attempt to set the right exposure level. For example, the sky in this shot is almost "Ultramarine" as a result of properly exposing the snow-encrusted tree.
        https://www.flickr.com/photos/948111...7663176295481/

      • All Downhill From Here
        Editing a comment
        HDR is a plague.

    • #5
      Originally posted by Natlife View Post
      That all changed once I reached the tabletop path. There was no more path, there was a brook. I can deal with an inch of running water, but not 3-4 and more in flatter muddy areas. So I whacked a few hundred yards until the running water in the path became manageable. I felt thankful that happened before spruce trees became so thick that I would be left with no good options.

      Why do people feel the need to always walk around obstacles?
      No incongruencies here, right??
      #8335W, Solo 46W
      Four Season 31/46
      46 Grid 256/552
      NE 111 113/115


      One list may be done, but the journey is far from over...
      Half Dome, 2009

      Comment


      • Natlife
        Natlife commented
        Editing a comment
        Context matters. So, no.

    • #6
      Originally posted by JoeCedar View Post
      What kind of device were you using to get that ridiculous elevation gain, 4400 ft?

      The simple elevation differences are:
      Loj to TT; 4427-2180 = 2247 ft
      Ph jct side trail to Phelps: 4161-2900 = 1261 ft
      Total = 3509 ft
      Add for small ups/downs about 200 ft

      Real" total ascent of about 3700 ft
      My average of field measurements from two hikes - 3650'.

      Natlife - I don't know if you're familiar with this useful resource, but here is a measurement of water levels on the Hudson River in Newcomb:



      Had you proceeded with your Haystack/Basin plan, it's possible you may have been turned back at the crossing of John's Brook.

      Comment


      • #7
        Originally posted by Makwa
        ... The kmz file that I download from GIS.NY.GOV that is all of the NYSDEC hiking trails represent a pretty close approximation of where the hiking trails are.
        "Approximation" is the key word. In practice I've found the DEC's trail data to be highly simplified and, occasionally, wrong (I guess due to being outdated). A long time ago I mentioned the trail to Ampersand is shown to run up the wrong slope. However, I feel the DEC's data is, normally, a reasonable approximation of the actual route.

        ... When I overlay that in Google Earth and look at an elevation profile for a section of trail I'm assuming that the trail is drawn in the right spot. The elevation data points that are used to create that profile, I assume, come from points along that line. What I meant was if the line is drawn poorly, the data points are crummy, and thus produce a result that is inaccurate. Does this make any sense?
        ​If the trail drawn runs up the wrong slope (i.e. Ampersand example) then, sure, it's a lousy representation of the actual route and whatever distance or ascent it claims is likely to differ from what you measure when you hike the actual trail. On the other hand, even if it runs <50 feet off to one side or the other of the actual route, that's not going to significantly skew the calculations (unless 50 feet to left puts you over the edge of a significant change in terrain, like a cliff).

        ... On caltopo when I use the USGS 7.5 Topos for planning a hike I know the trails are off. You can see this when you attempt to measure distance or profile and adjust for it. The light gray lines that pop up when using these functions appear to be the actual locations of trails and I assume are using more accurate data points to draw the profile. ...
        ​Those gray lines that "pop up" are trails sourced from OpenStreetMap (OSM). A significant number of OSM's High Peaks trails now have my fingerprints on them; I can vouch for their accuracy.

        ... For my own edification I just took a recent tracklog from Wakely Mountain. The track in Garmin Basecamp said 1712' of ele gain. In caltopo it was calculated at 1861' and Google Earth it was 2006'. However, for prepping the hike I used the DEC trail info from the kmz file I got at GIS.NY.GOV and it said the hike would be 1696'. I now understand that each manipulates the data differently ...
        ​ ... and that's what accounts for most of the discrepancies: "each manipulates the data differently"; they either use different Digital Elevations Models (DEM), or use them differently, and/or use different smoothing algorithms. Very few mapping tools report "raw ascent" and employ some form of massaging.

        ... if the DEC trail info I typically use is drawn in the wrong place then the ele profile will be inaccurate.
        ​Yes but only if it is waaay wrong and not just a little bit off to either side of the actual route. The way the mapping tool calculates ascent is far more likely to influence the results.

        For example, import a tracklog into Runalyze. It offers you a choice of three DEMs, the size of the threshold ("step height") and to use/not use smoothing. When you start tweaking all those "dials" you discover you can produce an ascent to Allen that varies by (worst case) hundreds of feet. Basecamp, Garmin Connect, Caltopo, Strava, etc don't let you tweak the values and simply enforce their own secret recipe for calculating ascent. That's why each app is likely to report a different value for ascent despite given the same tracklog (although they're usually in agreement for distance).

        So far,I've only found only one mapping tool, Suunto's Movescount, that exclusively reports "raw ascent" (sums up each incremental increase in elevation). Its liable to report an impressive result for total ascent because it doesn't smooth out (erroneous) transients (and vertical accuracy for a GPS is only 20 meters). Garmin Connect lets you choose (use a DEM or "raw ascent") because should your tracklog's elevation data be based on a barometric altimeter, you'll want "raw ascent" because an altimeter is more "vertically accurate" than a GPS (~3 meters)

        ​I consider the "gold standard" to be the average of several ascents recorded by a temperature-compensated barometric altimeter. Then I tried to find a mapping tool that produces results identical to Joe's data. So far none of them are "dead on" but two come awfully close (usually a little bit lower than his results). Both Garmin Connect and Runalyze (using 3m threshold, Google DEM, and no smoothing) produce realistic ascent values (i.e. close to Joe's data).
        Last edited by Trail Boss; 12-03-2016, 12:06 PM.
        Looking for Views!

        Comment


        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks TB. Great stuff as always.
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