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Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Blake, & Sawteeth - Sept 29, 2017

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  • Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Blake, & Sawteeth - Sept 29, 2017

    I'm working on a 10th round of the 46 and needed these 5 peaks for the round (not complete yet). Normally, I wouldn't pair Sawteeth with the other 4 peaks, but the weather looked great for hiking (55-60 F and sunny), and it gave me the chance to hike on some trails I had never been on before.

    I started out at 8:40 AM at the gate, made my way up the Lake Road and turned left up the Leach Trail for Dial. The leaves are starting to fall on the trail, and made footing a little sloppy at times. As I gained elevation, the leaves on the trail faded and footing was better. Overall, the trails were about as dry as I've seen them, which made for good time. There was very little mud, or even wet rock for that matter. I summited Dial and then Nippletop. As I descended Nippletop to Elk Pass, I realized that this was the first time I had ever hiked these peaks in a clockwise direction. The trail is certainly steep, but the dry conditions made for good time. I stopped briefly to take in the views at Elk Pass, which are really quite striking. I wish I had brought a camera with me.

    Colvin and Blake were next. Descending from Blake to the col, I turned left down the Elevator Shaft trail, which is very steep, dropping over 1,400 feet in 1.1 miles. I had only done this trail before in the winter. The steep narrow trail, coupled with the leaves and lots of roots certainly made this section slower. I'm sure this trail doesn't see near the use as the others in the area, most likely because once you descend to the lakes, you are committed to at least another 2,000 feet of elevation gain just to get back to the trailhead. Once down to the bottom of the Elevator Shaft, I followed the trail along the stream connecting the two lakes. This is just a beautiful section of well maintained trail.

    I started up the trail from Upper Ausable Lake toward Sawteeth, and stopped in just a few hundred yards to filter water where the trail crosses Shanty Brook. I wish I had more time to relax by the water here, as this is quite a pretty spot. Continuing up the trail to Sawteeth, the trail is quite gradual for some time, which of course means that it will get quite steep later, and boy does it. The final push up Sawteeth is quite steep, and it felt steep. What I noticed most about this trail was lots of dirt under my feet. Virtually no rocks, an amazing feeling in the High Peaks. I wish I had a video because I'm sure that most of you won't believe me! Once on Sawteeth, I decided to descend via the Scenic Trail since I had never hiked it before. The trail is 3.0 miles back to the Lake Road (vs. 2.2 miles back via the Weld Trail), and it is rugged. Even once the trail descends to Lower Ausable Lake, it is still very rugged (lots of ups and downs) along the shore. Again, the leaves made for somewhat sloppy footing, especially traversing the slope prior to hitting the shore. This trail is significantly more effort than just the additional 0.8 miles.

    I was feeling pretty good once I hit the Lake Road and looking forward to a dinner date if I got home by 5:30 PM, so I jogged the Lake Road back to the gate.
    46R #4772W

  • #2
    That's a big day and it looks like you burned through it! The south side of Sawteeth is indeed a pleasant trail, like you said, thanks to the fact that it receives little traffic. Given its typical ADK fall-line design, that would change in a hurry with more traffic. Any chance you measured the ascent for the hike? Last time I was there I had minor electronic glitch that makes me doubt my numbers.

    Comment


    • autochromatica
      autochromatica commented
      Editing a comment
      Thomas, I have the full loop (descending the Weld Trail, not the Scenic Trail) at 8,000 vertical feet total. From between the lakes to the summit of Sawteeth is 2,100-2,200 feet of climbing, but compared to the typical DNCB loop there is no re-ascent of Colvin so you save a little bit.

    • Thomas
      Thomas commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Sean. My watch recorded 8100 but my GPS only 7195. I had a feeling that 8000 was closer to the mark.

    • Johnnycakes
      Johnnycakes commented
      Editing a comment
      I use Topo! software to calculate my mileage and vertical gain. I'm starting to notice that my vertical gain comes up significantly short of what folks calculate with their smartphones, GPS, etc. I had this hike at 7,500 feet of vertical gain. I usually add 10-15% to the mileage that the software calculates, and this has proven to be a fairly accurate correction factor.

  • #3
    Originally posted by Johnnycakes View Post
    I'm working on a 10th round of the 46 and needed these 5 peaks for the round (not complete yet). Normally, I wouldn't pair Sawteeth with the other 4 peaks, but the weather looked great for hiking (55-60 F and sunny), and it gave me the chance to hike on some trails I had never been on before.
    What a great hike.

    How in the world can you be working on 10 rounds and have never been on those trails? I deliberately incorporate them even when I don't have to!
    ADK 46/46W, Grid 235/552
    Photos & Stuff

    Comment


    • Johnnycakes
      Johnnycakes commented
      Editing a comment
      I don't know why I didn't get to these trails sooner! I just never paired Sawteeth with anything on the other side of the lake and never took the scenic trail before. When hiking Sawteeth, I was usually adding on some peaks from the Range Trail, so always looking to minimize total distance and elevation gain. The scenic trail up Sawteeth will be a definite repeat though.

  • #4
    I recall our brief meeting near the Loj several weeks ago and you definitely looked like you could pull off this hike and still have gas in the tank to jog back to the Ausable Club! Well done and congratulations!

    ​FWIW, Neil and I did a variation of this route in December of 2013 (part of his training for Project 46). After Blake we returned over Colvin to the Lake Road, via Gill Brook Cutoff, and then turned south to Sawteeth. I recall Neil had to do some mind-fu to get me to add the 5th peak! A pause and a snack did wonders to improve my frame of mind and the ascent/descent went by very smoothly. Glad I did it. Pretty sure I was blabbering the whole way up. However, I don't recall anyone jogging back that evening. I calculated ~8500 feet (using Google Earth at the time). It's the re-climb of Colvin that nudges the elly gain a bit higher.
    Looking for Views!

    Comment


    • Johnnycakes
      Johnnycakes commented
      Editing a comment
      I forgot to mention in my first post that part of the impetus for the hike was simply so I wouldn't have to climb back over Colvin! As for the Lake Road, I do get tired of that road some times and just want to get it over with. Next time I'm hiking back along the Ausable River, in an effort to hit some new trails.

    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      FWIW, I found the West River Trail to be smoother than the East River Trail plus you get to see Beaver Meadow Falls and Wedge Brook Cascades. There's nothing like that along the East River Trail however you do get up close to a waterfall in the river and to Bullock Dam.
      http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/501...2185/-73.82185

    • Johnnycakes
      Johnnycakes commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the recommendation Taras. I will try the West River Trail next time.

  • #5
    Wow! That is some very impressive hiking. Having just done Nippletop and Dial counterclockwise a few days ago, a lot of this trail is still fresh in my head, and I'm kind of amazed you can cover that much ground in that amount of time.

    Comment


    • #6
      Little Brown Mushroom named it Dinicoblsa. Kinda rolls off the tongue.

      Sawteeth tends to be a loner when planning efficient rounds or 12-m grid. It is better to combine it with DNCB than as a side trip on a GRT. In my files I recorded ascent/descent as 7956/7896 ft and distance of 21.8 miles (another time it was 8087/7969). For discussion purposes, call it 8000 feet, a pretty good day!

      He wanted to do it in winter, but I talked him out of it. Riding down the elevator shaft in deep snow would be fun but going up Sawteeth on an unbroken trail after DNCB would be a killer.

      Comment

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