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|08-15-2010, 05:04 PM||#1|
Slide Junkie, 46R 5430W
3 Days of Sliding: Day 2, Marcy SE Slide Set and Trail up Skylight to Rest
Marcy SE Slide Pics
I was not concerned about an early wake up since I was less than a mile from my next target, Marcy’s Southeast Slide (aka Phelps Slide). I had planned to ‘whack that then descend and bushwhack Skylight, but decided to leave well enough alone and enjoy a more leisurely day. I also wanted to ensure that the sun was already on the slabs for pictures…plus I was a just plain lazy.
The SE slide was a wide swath of slides, some with unique and some with combined trigger points. The ones closest to either side were well defined while the ones in the center tended to be broken a bit more with islands of vegetation. The eastern most two slides seemed to have the steepest ascents especially as they gained elevation. I wanted to ascend from the east, climb then cut across to the upper center portion and explore the top. The plan was to then cut diagonally down near the bottom of the defined slide that commenced from Schofield Cobble and bushwhack that nub.
After packing and topping off my water by 7:50 a.m., I walked a mere ten minutes to the first sweeping bend in the west trail up to the four corners. The woods were comfortably loose for the next ten minutes, though littered with ancient blow-down. I was soon on a drainage from the Marcy/Skylight col, but a little too high to see the lower drainage from the Phelps Slide. A one minute walk down the clear drainage allowed me to see a clearing through the woods which led in the direction of the lower wall of the eastern slide. It was now 8:10 a.m. and a quick walk through the woods put me on the correct path…a drainage about six feet in width.
I quickly met my first choice of the day when I saw the beginning of the far eastern slab. The low wall that I saw from Haystack wasn’t connected to this slab. I wanted to eat breakfast at the wall and, so, passed the entrance to the first slab. The main flow of water, just a trickle, also came from the second wider slab. The woods quickly opened and I climbed a series of open ledges to eat. Moss and small trees grew in the cracks as usual. The area was about 100’ wide and offered several choices for ascent. I chose one, climbed a bit and had breakfast…soaking in the view of Haystack’s west side and its small steep slides.
The top of the initial wall led quickly into another fifteen minute bushwhack. I berated myself for not taking the first slab as I pushed through and eventually found the rubble zone of the second slide. A set of animal prints led the way. I watched as the vibration of my own footsteps collapsed the defined sides of the tracks. I took another break on the top of the first steep pitch. The anorthosite was heavily pitted with small protruding crystals, both horizontal and vertical cracks and other handholds. In addition, it was free of lichen an moss, so it was easy to climb.
The slab the rest of the way to the top was primarily weathered and scaling in spots. This led to interesting ledges and layers that collected the morning shadows. The layering increased in the top third. I reached the top at 9:30 a.m. and bushwhacked west across a short strip of cripplebrush.
I exited onto the grass and observed the character of the third section. It was narrow and heavily covered in moss with a slightly lower angle. I climbed the remainder of this section, only a dozen yards higher and walked to the third section after, again, crossing some vegetation. This was defined by layers heavy flaking slab and only slightly wider. As I climbed, I quickly reached a seven foot ledge. Its vertical edge was pitted and shallowly layered. It offered no way for me to easily climb it so I followed the base until it decreased in height. A tree aided me over the edge.
It was nearing 10:15 a.m. as I reached the center of the portion that connects the central collection of slides at the top. Again, the slab became clean and traction sure. This was a more exposed section, but far from precarious. The angle was around 35 degrees and scattered trees and carpets of grass littered both to the sides and below. Small grooves of white, cleaned by flowing water had, over time, eroded into the darker surface of the slab. As I looked down the rolling slab, it appeared that someone had poured an opaque paint on a gray/brown pallet and let it run.
Throughout my crossing, usually at each new section, I’d take a break and either drink or simply soak in the view of Haystack’s western side. It’s features became illuminated as the sun rose in the sky. The southernmost slides near the bottom, although steep look navigable after a mild bushwhack from the trail to Panther Gorge. I made a mental note for a future trip.
Once I crossed the central portion, it was time to descend, but continue west toward the lower slab of the narrow slide leading to Schofield Cobble. As I descended, I noticed a small pool of water at its base, filled from the trickle of water down an adjacent slide close to me. I’m always amazed at the little creations that slides can harbor. The running water filled a rectangular pool created by a rift in slab sections and several large stones. Small birch trees laid claim over the oasis.
From the oasis, I quickly made it over to the longest western slide. It was narrow and again changed in character from the eastern or central portions. It was close to the ridge from which it originated rather than the flank of the mountain. The first pitch is a long section of open slab, a bit smoother than the east side but easy to climb. As the elevation increases, the character becomes defined by sections of rolling ledges and finally two larger sharply defined ledges that I decided to climb around rather than over. The top is again open, but wet and narrow until it bottlenecks into a small stream and the bushwhack portion of the climb.
I envisioned a slightly more open trek at the top, but the bushwhacking gremlins had their way with me and I found myself in tight woods once again. Mossy ground sucked the energy from my legs as I climbed seemingly forever upward without a view of the cobble. Over thirty minutes of hard labor later I gained a good view of the cliffs and the cripplebrush maze by which I’d scale it. I was trying to ‘whack directly to the overlook and overshot it by a few hundred feet, yup, a good fifteen minutes of wasted effort when all was said and done. My overestimation allowed me to climb angularly from the base directly below the cobble to the overlook rather than straight up. I don’t know if this really helped in the long run as it was all near vertical. It was also hungry…it tore the lower portion of my trekking pole out of the top portion which I noticed while resting on the overlook at about 12:20 p.m.
I needed a bit of rest, so I climbed Skylight via the trail. The summit was mildly windy, but the eastern side harbored some nice calm nooks. I spent nearly two hours relaxing and talking to some of the people on the summit. I needed to rest my legs for the assault on Algonquin the following day. Around 3 p.m. I made my way slowly to Uphill Brook Leanto and arrived around 4:30 p.m.
I spent the evening, after unpacking at the vacant Uphill Brook Leanto, climbing the waterfall and slabs of Uphill Brook. For those who have climbed Redfield, there’s an incredible waterfall on the left about ½ mile into the herdpath trek. It’s actually a 3 tributary waterfall made of huge chunks of stone. The main tributary is closest to the path. A small trickle of water was coming down the second, which is hidden from sight on the backside of central boulder set. The third tributary looks like an overflow tributary and is even farther set back and farther uphill as well. Dinner was eaten on the slabs above, all very dry from the low water levels. I reflected upon the day and realized that Marcy's SE slides are now in my top 5.
Mark L showed up at the leanto about 2 a.m. to hike the following day, but he popped a calf muscle ¼ mile before the leanto. Not a good thing. It was nice to have the company after two days of climbing.
Day 3 on Algonquin and two of its slides would test my endurance and my mindset, but in the end it would be good...
Day 3: Algonquin SE and E Slides
Last edited by mudrat; 01-17-2013 at 05:50 PM. Reason: add link
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