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Redfield and Cliff from Upper Works, 1/29/18

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  • Redfield and Cliff from Upper Works, 1/29/18

    After recent thaws, rains, and re-freezing, I expected hard glazed trails and paths. But someone (¿Joe Cedar?) had reported decent conditions at elevation. I hit the trail loaded for bear: Poles, ice ax, microspikes, full crampons, and snowshoes. I started barebooting, and except for a few spots where the trail was glazed and steeper, that was fine. The high water crossing bridge over Calamity Brk. wasn’t needed, but I did need to look carefully for where there seemed to be thick ice, or rocks underlying the ice. Anticipating steeper grades soon, I put on microspikes at the Calamity l/t. I followed tracks skirting the edge of Flowed Lands, and at times was walking on ice. So here the micros were needed more for pure ice rather than glazed inclines. At times the ice broke and I plunged millimeters to the underlying ice and dry snow. This was disturbing, but more disturbing was that I became accepting of hearing the ice break and feeling my foot start to go down. This didn'’t seem like a healthy mindset for winter hiking in the long term. The path around FL rejoined the trail at the Herbert Bk. l/t. At Colden Dam, for the first time in many winters, I found every rung of the ladder was clear and accepting of my feet.
    I remembered the trail up along the Opalescent as steep, and still picturing a hard glaze awaiting, and the hard packed trail having not allowed me to posthole, I opted for microspikes to get me to Uphill Brook l/t. They turned out to be needed, but that’s all that was needed. And the trail wasn't as steep as I remembered.
    On the herd path, there was one round-trip set of very fresh boot & crampon prints. On the way up Redfield, there was a rare posthole off to the side, but I couldn'’t tell if it was made by that recent person, or days earlier in warmer, softer conditions. The packed route was in the tributary a lot.
    For Cliff, I changed to crampons and made the ax more convenient. Crampons turned out to be essential. Once or twice a pole tip glanced off the ice, but the ax and crampon combo kept me balanced and in place. So, speaking as someone who isn'’t an ice climber, I’'d say an ice ax is also essential. You’d need either an ax or excellent knowledge of alternate routes. At Cliff’'s summit, I had been hoping to find tracks indicating that someone had forged a direct route up from Livingston Pond at Flowed Lands. But by the time I summited, I didn’'t like the idea of bushwhacking in the dark to follow a route of unknown quality. So I was content to find no sign of such a route.
    Water sources: I needed water after Cliff, and used the ax to enlarge a small existing hole just before Uphill Brook spills into the Opalescent. In most places this day, running water was either frozen over or approachable only over questionable ice.

    I didn't see another hiker all day.
    [edit: Forgot to say that while keeping the crampons on all the way up and down Cliff, I may have postholed 2-3x when stepping too much to the side. I filled those in. The herd path is solid.]
    Last edited by MarkL; 01-31-2018, 08:07 PM.
    Mark
    A bad day in cripplebrush is better than a good day at work.

    Remaining Winter NE115 peaks as of 3/11/10:

    [None]
    Yes!!!

  • #2
    Excellent report, thanks you!
    If by chance some day you're not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled ~ Red Skelton

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    • #3
      At the Herbert Brook lean-to, there is a short cut to the LC-Marcy trail. Just bushwhack maybe 100 yards through the marsh to the Opalescent and cross it on the ice, follow the trail on the other side past some campsites and a lean-to, then turn right at the Opalescent and hike up to the bridge and pick up the trail. Of course, this depends on a safe crossing on the ice of the Opalescent.

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      • #4
        What Joe said. It's already mapped in OpenStreetMap. It's a distinct (but unmarked) path in summer and often more visible in winter when used by skiers.

        Speaking of skiers, I've also mapped it as part of the ski route from ADK Loj to Upper Works. The ski route clearly shows the connection from the Herbert Brook Lean-to, across the Opalescent, past designated campsites and the Opalescent Lean-to. This route is fairly level and avoids the ladder at Colden Dam and the lumpy trail along the western side of the dam.


        Crossing at Colden Dam provides the iconic view of Avalanche Mtn and Mount Colden. However, the view from the Opalescent crossing, near Herbert Brook Lean-to, is impressive as well.


        MacIntyre Range and Mount Colden from the Opalescent crossing near Herbert Brook Lean-to

        The actual crossing point obviously depends on the river's condition. In summer, I've had good luck by starting from between the two large boulders on the west side (left side; visible in the photo above).
        Looking for Views!

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        • #5
          Thanks for that advice, Joe, and for the second link showing the ski route, TB. This was the first time in a long time hiking up the Calamity Trail in winter, and it reminded me that I've always wanted to do the Loj-UW ski-through. I'm moving that to the back burner now, from not even being on the stove.
          FWIW, and I hope to see other people's numbers, I traced 3 approaches for R&C on my old Topo! program and here's what I found. This is from the Topo! set that included NY and all of New England. Other people using this program were adding 10%, maybe more, to the mileage figure the trace came up with. That's what I did with the mileages below. I didn't adjust the elevation gains, though I think that was also necessary. Elevation gains include uphills on the way out.
          To Uphill Brook l/t, round trip
          From Loj via L. Arnold .46 46 46 46 46...14.8 miles... 2,420'
          From Loj via Avalanche L. & L. Colden ..16.0 .." .......1,850'
          From UW............luaP deirub I..............14.8 .." .......1,700'
          Mark
          A bad day in cripplebrush is better than a good day at work.

          Remaining Winter NE115 peaks as of 3/11/10:

          [None]
          Yes!!!

          Comment

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