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Old 11-19-2012, 10:30 PM   #1
mudrat
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Great Slide on Grace: 2012 November 18

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PICTURES

After several days of conferring with friends, passport issues (sorry Trail Boss) and technology issues the target was set: Grace’s Great Slide. Google Earth (a really rough route) shows the mileage/elevation at around 11 miles/3700’. Greg Karl and I set off at about 8:15 a.m. with temperatures somewhere in the mid-20’s Fahrenheit.

My last visit through the Boquet River Valley was a few years ago so I was anxious to get back and explore. The water was at normal levels so the river crossing 10 minutes into the trek went without issue though it was fun discerning the dry rocks from those partially encased in ice. Farther along after the crossing from the North to South Fork Boquet, the perks of hiking during mixed season, free of a canopy of leaves, became apparent as E-Town #4, and Spotted came into view. They looked far off and oppressively high to my still-tired mind.

As we reached the confluence with the drainage from Dix’s east face, I looked up to another impressing sight…the steep Beckhorn Slide coated with snow and ice. I was glad I’d prepared for all conditions with gear over-kill: rock climbing shoes, crampons (low hiking boots for the crampons), microspikes, an ice ax and trail runners that I was wearing at the time. Call me neurotic, but I’ve been caught in bad situations one too many times to not be cautious. Looking forward a few hours…I’d use all but the rock-climbing shoes later in the day (though part of the upcoming climb might have been easier if I’d taken a minute to put them on).


Looking up the slide from near the bottom.

Greg called out the elevation at various benchmarks along the way until we reached the drainage of the Great/Not So Great Slides at about 2600’. We were hiking in about 2 inches of snow with occasional patches of ice by this point. The herd path climbed steeply before it crossed the bottom of the first open slab. Beyond, it wound through the woods en route to its intersection with the Grace-Carson herd path just west of Grace’s summit. I’d hoped the rock wouldn’t be as icy since my last trek up this slide was in full winter conditions. ‘Tis the season for ice, though. I put the microspikes on my trail runners at this point.

A few minutes later, I changed into the boots and crampons to climb up the center of the icy run. Greg trekked along the side for a bit before joining me just below the most dominant feature of the mid-slide section, a 6’ ridge of stone. The ice began to clear slightly above this. Before I knew it we were changing back out of the boots/crampons into the trail runners again. Greg kept the spikes on and aimed for icy/snowy areas while I gravitated toward any open rock while gingerly working upward. I couldn’t avoid the ice/snow at all times, but made sure I was protected when necessary. The mixed climbing increased the difficulty until about 3800’ in elevation.




Upper Pitches to the Side

Nearing the top, the conservative route follows the chute to the right where it leads to the summit ridge. Steep pitches of mixed stone/ice beckoned from the left. I should have used the rock climbing shoes at this point, but chanced the sneakers. Calling a spade a spade, I was just lazy and tired of changing footwear and the pitches fell within my comfort zone. Stopping on occasion to enjoy the stone creations, I slowly climbed and found myself beneath the near vertical wall of the ridge. Greg appeared to my right and we ascended our respective routes to the top which we reached at about 12:20.

We found a comfortable spot of stone and enjoyed a leisurely lunch warmed by the sun. After a few minutes and with stomachs full, we focused our attention on Spotted Mountain…about a mile’s bushwhack down the ridge to the northeast. By now, my sneakers were soaked (the boots give me blisters so I didn’t want them back on my feet). The exertion kept them warm even coated with snow. I love open rock and the ridge is riddled with it. Occasional runs of black ice made it more challenging than a summer trek especially during the scramble down the far side of Spotted.


Greg climbing up Spotted Mtn.

We hoped to be back at the car without use of headlamps, so we didn’t spend the time going up E-Town 4. Rather, we bushwhacked down to the South Fork Boquet from the col just before. A more pleasant bushwhack, I can’t imagine! The open forest on the gentle slope had some easily avoided blowdown and we never strayed more than a few hundred feet away from the small drainage. This nearly paralleled the S F Boquet near the bottom before merging (see the last pic of the set). A quick climb up the opposing ridge set us back on the herdpath. I couldn’t resist slipping into the stream (darn icy rocks) at the final crossing 10 minutes from the car. 4:45 p.m. saw us back at the car and on the way to get pizza. Thanks for the company, Greg!
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Last edited by mudrat; 01-17-2013 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:03 AM   #2
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Nice writeup and pics Kevin! I'm adding the link to my pics so both sets will be accessible from this thread:

https://picasaweb.google.com/curugroth/GreatMystery

For me, the slide wasn't the centerpiece of the hike, but just the most convenient and scenic way to get up that side of the mountain—especially since it is nonstop views once you are up. I would gladly have stayed in the trees for most of the climb and just popped out occasionally for the views, but since I carried the crampons, I figured I might as well use them. Even so, I stayed as much as possible in the snowy seams and off of the ice.

The lower part of the slide is tucked away out of the sun for most of the day, so on the ascent we saw a reversal of the usual distribution of ice and snow—lots on the bottom, a dearth toward the top and its nearly complete absence on the cliffs. The final climb on open rock was fun.

Anyway, this is one hike I never tire of, in any season. Thanks again … for not subjecting me to too much of the verbal excrescence you call humor—and for a great hike.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:21 AM   #3
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amazing guys.... pure Fun with friends....
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the great report and pics. Nice to see what the area looks like currently. The hike up that slide and out along the ridge has been one of my favorites in the ADK, so far. First time I did it last July, I went too far left at the top of the slide, probably not the best route. A few weeks after that, I returned with my daughter and we took the better route just to the right of the rectangular summit. I look forward to returning to that area again.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snav3 View Post
First time I did it last July, I went too far left at the top of the slide, probably not the best route. A few weeks after that, I returned with my daughter and we took the better route just to the right of the rectangular summit. I look forward to returning to that area again.
The views are magnificent! As many times as I've been on the summit, I'd never been down the ridge. This seemed like the perfect opp for that. Yup, right below/along the headwall is the easiest exit and the way I chose a few years ago during a winter climb. This time I exited left up the walls of rock...I wanted to get one last exposed climb in before winter. I wouldn't recommend that exit for everyone, though!
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for the TR, now I'm really bummed I couldn't make it. :(

"Mixed rock and ice", "magnificent views" and "easy bushwhack"; sounds as good as I hoped it would be!

PS
Great photos! I like the "snow hedgehog".
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the TR, now I'm really bummed I couldn't make it. :(

"Mixed rock and ice", "magnificent views" and "easy bushwhack"; sounds as good as I hoped it would be!

PS
Great photos! I like the "snow hedgehog".
Dont be so sad, you have miss Mudrat one liners....
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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Well it seems, that the Slide on Grace, had actually a potential for good glissading....

Good pics, make you want to go see for yourself.

Anyway, hopefully, we will have other opportunity in a not so distant future for another good outing.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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Nostalgia welleth up....that route up East D - I mean, Grace Peak via E-Town#4 and Spotted Mt. was one of my very first bushwhacks (1992). I was a rank amateur back then and marked my route with surveyor's tape just to be sure I could find my way out. Now, I use the ADKHighPeaks flagging exclusively. It's all about pride.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:44 PM   #10
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another thanks for the fun read
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:54 AM   #11
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another thanks for the fun read
My pleasure!
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