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Trail to Colvin via Lake Road packed out 3/17/17

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  • Trail to Colvin via Lake Road packed out 3/17/17

    Hike Colvin via Lake Road on 3/17/17.
    Party of 4 including David.
    Post-holing and breaking track most of the way, but we packed down the trail enough for easy snowshoeing on the way down.
    Crampons would have been ideal for near final .5 miles of the accent.
    lake road looks ski-able on classic skis now as well.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum glad you had the chance to hang out with Topofgothicdd
    "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
    Ed Viesturs


    • #3
      I heard you earned some high praise from Topo! Nice job!


      • #4
        Last Friday, March 16th, I had most of the day off and was ready for an adventure. While I was getting my skiing gear together, Topo asked me what I thought I was doing. I replied that there was a crap-load of snow out there, and that we should go to Whiteface! He informed me that, yes, there was a crap-load of snow out there, and no, we were not going to Whiteface, that we were going hiking, and to break some trail. After a few back and forths, he poked me in my belly and informed me that we both could use a good workout. Not wanting to get into it with him (he can be a real pain), I changed out my skiing gear for hiking gear. “You know, with this much snow, we may not make it to the summit today”. He assured me that he’d take care of that.

        Right about ten we left our car behind in the Ausable parking lot, being only one of three cars in the lot this morning. While I might have expected more hikers venturing out, there was a ton of snow, and only the truly hardy (and touched) would be out in these conditions. A minute later two young men were returning to their care. When I asked if they had gotten an early start, they informed me that they had started down a totally un-trodden road, and given up after only a few hundred yards. Well. Not really the hardened Adirondack spirit, is it? Topo sniffed, ever so quietly, and we hit the road.

        Once we signed in and were past the gate, it was not long before the ski tracks stopped. Except they did not really stop, but they went off to the right and into the forest. From there on it was trail-breaking time. I had signed in as our destination was simply ‘breaking trail’, with hopes of summiting something. For the next fifteen minutes or so we stomped out the trail, packing down a good eight plus inches with every step. While I was concentrating on the snow beneath my snowshoes, Topo piped up ‘look there’. I did, and not far ahead, the ski tracks had reentered the road. Shortly after that, the skis were abandoned, and the fellow travelers had changed into snowshoes. We carried on.

        Not too long before the Cut-Off trail, I saw the three young men ahead in the distance. As we approached, they introduced themselves. Jake, Sam and Tom. They hailed from the Berkshires. Topo and I joined their merry group, and off we went. They did a strong job of packing down the snow, now no longer the 30” of fluff which had finished falling just 48 hours before, but a mid-grade snow. One by one, we all took our turn out in front, stepping aside when needed. At least two of the gang had somewhere around thirty peaks under their belt, and they had done Dial and Nippletop not too long before, though those hard-packed conditions were swept away by the very recent big snowstorm. None of them had done anything quite like this. Jake and Sam had asked their friend Tom along this trip, with Tom not knowing quite what was in store. It was a one hell of an initiation for all of them. Good thing they had asked Tom along, since Topo thinks it took all of us to get us to the summit (and keep me from his ire!)

        Topo and me were in front when I suddenly stopped and called to the back of the line. In a familiar place, I asked the last in line (Jake?) to step back a few feet and look to his right. While he did not see a clear trail, we all dropped down to the clearing. Topo know that quick zig-zag, so he started digging in the vicinity of where there junction should have been. About six inches down, he found the signage. We were just over a mile from Colvin’s summit. We stopped for a few to refuel.

        On the way up, Topo warned of doing too much too fast, all the while letting the knee-deep newbies know that they were doing great. At times we were rising more than twenty feet a minute. There are many hikers who would love to ascend that fast in the best of conditions. For me, most of the new steps broken out found me knee about level with the step in front of me. While I was behind Jake, who has a good three inches on me, and likely more in the legs, I did not even try to step high enough and just plowed over what I could. Note to self: get behind someone short!

        Half way up the last pitch Topo whispered in my ear ‘told you I’d take care of it’. Now, there’s no way he could have known others would be out there, could he?

        While I again warned of trying to do too much, they kept a steady and impressive pace. There were strong hikers out on the trail at that time who I knew were not moving anywhere near this pace. My main contribution came when we approached a few of the ‘moves’ as we neared the top. Once again, TMax’s whippet came in handy, and while I misjudged how close we were near the summit, soon enough we were on the last obstacle. While sketchy, and though only I had truly aggressive snowshoes, with care and patience, we all made it to the summit! The views were
        amazing this day, with the Great Range raging in all her glory. Topo insisted in getting his picture taken with his new friends.

        Too soon it was time to descend. Optional/Mandatory, as the saying goes. It did take much care and slow going to drop the first forty feet. I suggested down-climbing on the now snowless ice encrusted steep trail. And yes, the vegetation would not mind if you gently and graciously asked it for help. Sam dropped into the hole and became spotter for anyone who needed it. One by one we down-climbed the icy pitch, and then made our way precariously backwards along the well-known very narrow patch of travelway. With only a few minor issues, and no real harm done, we were on our way again. After the last little element, in which I demonstrated the ‘Adirondack Buttslide’, Topo reminded me that we still had a business to run, and being Friday, I might want to act with some alacrity, and beat feet.

        We thanked them for assisting this old man to the summit, said our goodbyes, made sure they would be in touch and we were off. All in all, it was less that 5-1/2 hours, six miles and three thousand feet to Colvin’s summit from when Sam, Tom, and Jake had first left the parking lot. Not bad for anyone, let alone those not exposed to such conditions previously. Topo did what he does so well, fall quickly down a mountain (and without getting him or myself injured!). Eight and a half hours after leaving the lot, we were headed for home. Not our fastest time for Colvin. Heck, not even for Colvin and Blake, or for Dial and Nippletop, though it was a most satisfying hike. We returned to multiple voicemails, even more emails, and all the guests to take care of. I think it took less energy while we were out hiking that day then after we returned to TMax-n-Topo’s, but, so it goes. Thanks guys!