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Snowy Redfield from the Loj - September 30

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  • Snowy Redfield from the Loj - September 30

    The predicted overnight "light rain" sure sounded more moderate as it beat down on the tent all night and into the morning as we emerged at 5:30am. We camped on South Meadow road and drove to the Loj to have breakfast and coffee under the covered porch. We were surprised how many people started up the trail as we ate in the dark and rain.

    We signed in at 7am, a few minutes after the rain stopped, though of course it was raining from the trees all morning. As we hiked towards Marcy Dam we passed many people - footwear ranged from minimalist running shoes to winter boots!

    I made a few silly mistakes on this trip. The first one was really stupid: I checked the forecast for Lake Placid, not the mountains. This was especially stupid because in May 25, 2013 I hiked up Phelps with a foot of snow on top, while it only rained in Lake Placid. I should have known.

    The second mistake was assuming I knew the most direct trail to where I was going, without actually checking the map. I'm basically a 2 time 46er (just have to re-do RPR because my second time I turned back just below the summit) and I take it for granted how well I know the trails. I forgot that the easier and more direct way to Lake Arnold follows Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam. We went via Van Ho past Indian Falls, adding a half mile and a few hundred feet of elevation gain and loss to our day. Plus that trail is just plain harder than Avalanche Pass Trail. In the grand scheme of things not a big deal, but I was already a little anxious about the snow we encountered just past Indian Falls and the cold temps for our 8lb Papillon. I realized my mistake when we got to the junction with Arnold Lake Trail.

    The snow started just past Indian Falls and was about an inch deep in places. It continued along Arnold Lake Trail and didn't seem to be melting fast. It was cold and overcast. I was definitely mentally prepared to abandon summit plans if the snow became too deep on the way up.

    A pleasant surprise was how easy the floating logs were. In fact, the entire Lake Arnold trail was easier than I was expecting, and we arrived at the Mount Marcy trail junction sooner than I thought we would.

    Surprisingly, the Redfield trail was in good condition, even dry in parts. We reached a lookout to the Great Range and were amazing by the beauty - it was covered in snow! The dark clouds around it made for a dramatic view. I wondered how people were faring up there.

    It wasn't until about the last 20-30 minutes that we encountered snow on Redfield. Suddenly the trees were blanketed in thick snow, creating (what I think it was TrailBoss called) A Cold Car Wash. Well this was extra cold, as snow fell and piled on us and our packs.

    After 4.5 hours and 9 miles exactly, we arrived on Redfield. We didn't linger, as it was too cold and snowy to have lunch on the summit. Plus I wondered if the clouds that were now obscuring the Great Range were coming our way.

    We found a dry spot on some rocks in the brook to have a quick lunch, our poor Papillon shivering in my lap the whole time. I snuggled him as best I could while eating. Of course, the coldest Kim and I got was toward the tail end of lunch, and just after lunch. We hiked fast to warm up.

    By the time we got back to the Lake Arnold area the snow was mostly gone, and we took the easier trail down to Marcy Dam - and it wasn't until then that we fully realized how much easier it was. ha!

    We got back to the Loj at 4pm, exactly 9 hours including stops and 17.5 miles.
    46/46, 45/46

  • #2
    Nice! Always look forward to hearing the first snow report.


    • #3
      I was camped at S. Meadows Friday (and Sat. ) too!
      Project-100: 100 peaks, one winter.


      • Faline
        Faline commented
        Editing a comment
        Sure was busy, eh! We got the last site by the parking lot.