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Skylight 2017-12-29

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  • Skylight 2017-12-29

    Deb and I signed in at the Loj trailhead at 06:30 with an empty parking lot. Not surprising considering that it was about -25 degrees Celcius. We scampered along in spikes trying to warm our fingers and toes up, stopping several times to adjust clothing to the difficult conditions. My heel was bugging me a bit and I stopped to adjust my boots a couple times as well without much success. Something was up with my achilles, but it was not too bad so I decided to keep going and see how it fared. By the time we got to Marcy Dam, we had warmed up the extremities and we stopped to switch to snowshoes once on the trail to Avalanche Lake which looked like it had been used by more skiers than hikers. The temperature never warmed up all day, which made it difficult to perfect the layers. I constantly was stopping to remove a layer when I began to overheat, and then add it back again as I became chilled a short time later. Every time we stopped (briefly) meant that fingers were back to being cold again, but fortunately thawed fairly quickly once motion was resumed. The snow got deeper as we ascended, and by Lake Arnold, the snowshoes were required for efficient travel regardless of any regulations. Travel across Feldspar swamp was a piece of cake as everything was frozen solid and buried under a half meter of snow. The climb up to Lake Tear was a little tougher as the trail was only lightly broken out, and some fool had covered it with waist deep postholes. Nevertheless we reached Lake Tear of the Clouds in good time and stopped for a quick break before continuing. Our post-holer and perhaps two other snowshoers had turned around here, so the trail breaking was now our job for the rest of the way. Deb said to me that we should be at four corners in about ten minutes, but with the snow now over a meter deep, the trail finding, and the spruce trap springing, it took us more like thirty. The four corners greeted us with unbroken snow spreading out in three of the directions and any thoughts of climbing Marcy today after our completing our primary mission evaporated. The half mile up Skylight took an hour. Deb and I traded snow shoveling duties as we plowed our way slowly up the trail. Occasionally the snow was dense enough to walk on top of, but most of it was a breakable wind slab on top of a base of fluff. Finally our efforts were rewarded and we broke out of the trees for an easy and icy scamper to the top. Wind and brutal cold temperatures made our stay very brief as we tagged the summit, snapped a couple of photos of the spindrift coming off of Marcy, and ran back to the shelter of the trees before frostbite took its toll. The descent was much easier than the climb, and in practically no time at all, we were back at the four corners where we layered up and sat down to some hot tea and frozen sandwiches. Again, the rest was short lived, because even in down jackets we were quickly shivering. The rest of the day was just a slog, though my achilles (which I had completely forgotten about up to this point), was getting worse, especially when hiking on the flats. I took to using my heel lifter on the snowshoe even on flat terrain which did wonders to alleviate the problem. We took one more break at a lean-to near Marcy Dam, and met two people hiking in, the only people that we saw all day. We switched to microspikes at the dam, and then slogged the last hour, with my heel now really bugging me. Headlamps were turned on at the MacIntyre junction, and mercifully the empty parking lot showed up a short time later. Total hike time was eleven hours.

    A few pics:
    http://web.ncf.ca/mbowler/hiking/adk.../skylight.html

  • #2
    Very nice! That trailbreaking pic...!!
    ADK 46/46W, Grid 237/552
    Photos & Stuff

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    • #3
      <sigh> Such a beautiful place! Thanks for the TR and pics; the housebound appreciate it!
      Looking for Views!

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      • #4
        Really cool TR!

        Yeah trailbreaking as you did take its toll....... quite an adventure on an otherwise "REGULAR" 46. Kudos to both of you.
        8000m 0/14

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        • #5
          Originally posted by autochromatica View Post
          Very nice! That trailbreaking pic...!!
          Yes, bring a snow shovel. Thanks.
          Don

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          • #6
            Yeah that trailbreaking pic is serious. Great pics, great report, you guys are animals!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hear the Footsteps View Post

              Yes, bring a snow shovel. Thanks.
              Don
              CatskillKev might suggest something other than a shovel. Just sayin.
              ADK 46/46W, Grid 237/552
              Photos & Stuff

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              • CatskillKev
                CatskillKev commented
                Editing a comment
                If that's snowshoeing, what is post-holing?

            • #8
              beautiful pics, especially the light of the last one!

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              • #9
                Kick steps, clear snow, repeat. That's proper mountaineering right there. Nice effort, especially with a nagging pain. Did you ever figure out what the problem was?
                My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

                Comment


                • mbowler
                  mbowler commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It has been an on-and-off injury for years. Fortunately, usual mode is off. Also fortunately for this hike it turned itself off for most of the hike until the return. Hiked pitchoff with no problems 3 days later.

              • #10
                Yes, great photos, impressive hike.

                What kind of goggles are you using? Did they fog up at all?

                Comment


                • mbowler
                  mbowler commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Hi Daniel,

                  They are a double lens ski goggle that I have had for 20 years. And yes they do fog a bit if you breath into them, but usually not a problem if it is windy. I only wear them above tree line. I need to get one of those neopreen face masks one of these days that has vents for breathing.

                  Cheers,
                  Mike
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