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Gothics via True North: 12/27/11

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  • Gothics via True North: 12/27/11



    My friend Mike came up from FL to visit his family and decided to spend a day up here on an adventure. I’d taken him up the trap dike a couple times in previous years, but his wanted a taste of winter hiking. So, almost a year after he mentioned it, we embarked on our hike. Joining us was a friend from my church named Jim…a 46r, but also new to winter hiking. I sent my sights on one of the tamer slides, Gothics’ True North Slide and they agreed. The route was roughly 12 miles over almost 4,000 vertical feet. With warm temps (30’s/40’s) and such a meager snowfall, I figured the conditions would be pretty conducive for this climb.

    We started at 7:30 a.m. at the Garden and bare-booted until the drainaged from the North Face/True North. The trail was barely covered and we broke throught the layer of ice often…pretty much what I expected…no trail breaking today. A warm southern breeze occasionally blew throught the woods. We took our time, rested often and enjoyed the temperate day and humor at each others’ expense.

    Once at the turnoff, we quickly put on crampons. They were a mixed blessing, again due to conditions. They often caught on the forest floor which was only covered by a couple inches of snow. Obviously they worked fine on the ice, but that was often unsupportive in the stream, though it became solid as we reachd the base of the slide around 11:40.

    Climbing was pretty straight forward with the primary seepage covered with some ice. The beautiful bulges were fun to climb if not very steep. The slide’s edges were mainly snow which, though deeper, still gave way to the sphagnum underneath. Again we took our time for rest, pics and equipment malfunctions/adjustments. The warm breeze gave way to a harder gusty wind. The impending weather front was nowhere to be seen at this point leaving the crisp views extending beyond Whiteface to the north. It had the look of a winter day with dominant colors of steel blue and brown. It was such a contrast to the 24th on Algonquin with its pallette of colors across the spectrum.

    Toward the top of the slide, where it’s steepest, the ice covered the center. Mike and Jim held to the edges a bit more while I played on the ice, happy to have a couple partners along. Near the top, my axe broke through releasing a pressurized spring of water which arced up several inches befores soaking the ice below. …Another good opp for a picture and break. Once at the North Face, we saw it was not yet covered by ice or snow except near the top and some isolated areas.

    Once at the summit (2:30 p.m.), we quickly ate a few bites of lunch in the driving wind. Our views lasted only a few minutes as snow began to blow in. The warmth of the morning was replaced by an icy chill that crept into my hands. Jim and Mike remained quite warm and protected under their shells as the humor indicative of the entire morning stayed off the cold.

    The views were less than 50’ by the time we reached the intersection with Armstrong and began the descent down the Beaver Meadow Trail. The crampons were a blessing on the slick path until we reached a point where they were contacting too much rock. My teeth still hurt from the sound of the scraping. Jim and I switched to bare boots (not recommended) and slipped our way down while Mike threw on the only pair of microspikes that I had. In the meantime, darkness had enveloped us and a heavy wet snow replaced the dryer snow above.

    About halfway down, I noted a new slide coming off the ridge and intersecting the trail, though hit almost went unnoticed in the darkeness and snow. Jim brought my attention to it by saying something about blowdown. After some involuntary acrobatics on Jim’s part (and mine), we reached level ground at the base of Beaver Meadow Falls. I’ll have to say that his fall were much more dramatic! A large pile of trees adorned the bottom of the falls, obviously coming over the top from the aforementioned slide. The area prior to the bridge over the Ausable was also remodeled. The bank had been eroded back about 30’ , replaced by a field of stone.

    We found ourselves on the road at about 7:00 p.m. when the fun began. We were all tired as is normal. Only a death march of about 3 miles stood between Mike’s car which we’d left in the parking lot near Rte. 73. The snow flipped to sleet and quickly to a driving rain about a mile from the car as the creaking snow underfoot switched to a slosh. I felt the rain invade a couple areas in my armor. Luckily the temperature was relatively warm. As we reached the register, the wind increased and the temp dropped about 10 degrees. Now cold and wet, we reached the car at about 8:00 p.m. dreaming of a good meal and warm fire. Ahhh, another winter adventure even if it wasn’t through feet of snow!
    Last edited by mudrat; 11-27-2020, 10:14 AM.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

  • #2
    Nice Kevin! I thought that would be more grown in than that.


    • #3
      Originally posted by masshysteria View Post
      Nice Kevin! I thought that would be more grown in than that.
      Thanks. It's more grown in each time I'm on it especially at the bottom. The mid to top is really just moss and a meager few very small spruce.
      May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.