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Whiteface Ski Slides 2b-3-Lake Placid Slide 2015 May 24

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  • Whiteface Ski Slides 2b-3-Lake Placid Slide 2015 May 24

    Mileage/Elevation Gain: 9 Miles/4600 feet.
    Duration: 9 Hours
    Partners: Christina Nash (Moosebeware) & Loren Swears
    Mosaic: (missing slide 3)
    Other Trips up Whiteface Slides

    Three slides, three willing souls. Christina Nash mentioned a trip up Ski Slide 2b in 2014. I looked forward to revisiting it especially after scoping several areas on which to “play”, short technical lines that begged to be climbed (these can easily be avoided). I also wanted to visit Slide #3, a close neighbor on the climber’s right of 2b. I mentioned descending Lake Placid Slide to make it a Wilmington to Connery Pond traverse; Christina and her husband Loren were on board.

    We began the climb to Slide Out, the ski slope leading to the bottom of the slides, at 8:15 am. The climb up never seems easier, but I have gotten faster over the years. The long grasses and raspberry bushes that populate the ski slopes during summer were still low which made the slog seem easier. Good company, conversation and abundant humour made the ascent pass quickly.

    Photo by Loren Swears. Looking up Ski Slide 1 and 2b.

    Ski Slide 2b
    We reached the slides at around 9:45 which gave us ample time for our itinerary. Loren and Christine began the climb, each on a different line. The wide slide has enough choices for most people who have some familiarity with slide climbing. Loren began on a nice face-climb left of center and Christine aimed for a fun stepped area in the small amphitheater at the base. I shot photos before joining them.

    I scooted up Loren’s line and traversed right to some fun moves along the wall. Practice makes perfect so I picked the hardest routes I could find while remaining subjectively safe. Meanwhile the clouds coalesced to the east. They passed after shedding a few drops of rain though it remained cloudy and cool.

    Loren and I left our packs at the confluence of Slide #2b and #3. Christina climbed with hers. As I’ve mentioned in past reports, there are multiple ways to climb #2b. I wouldn’t say it’s a beginner’s slide, but the choices available certainly classify it as moderate with ample holds and ways to switchback up the steeper areas.

    I locked in on my primary target of the day as we moved ever upward, a large buttress on the right-hand side above a clean tract of friction slab. I wanted to try and climb the near vertical wall. The hardest moves came during the bottom 10 feet, the last 10 had good obvious holds. I vaguely remember Christina gasping as my foot slipped near the bottom, all was well in the end. I think she said, “Don’t die today, Kevin.” At the top was large terrace on which I waited for my partners.

    Steeper sections near the top of the slide were also fun. I frictioned up the headwall during my last visit. This time we entered from the left and followed a handcrack up to the last few feet of stone. Christina bushwhacked up to the arÍte while Loren and I descended to our packs.

    Above, Loren and Christina about 100 feet up Slide 2b. Below 1, Kevin playing around on the overlaps along the edge. Photo by Loren. Below 2, Christina on a steep section.


    Above, Christina on a beautiful section of friction slab...really the bottom of Slide 3. Below, Kevin on the buttress partway up 2b. Photo by Christina.

    Ski Slide 3
    The slide began with a long stretch of moderate friction climbing that led to a couple 5-foot steps. Each had nice crack and holds in the rock that offered the option to make a few technical moves. Immediately above was a stretch of more friction slab before it became a bushwhack for a few minutes. A lone pocket of hold-out snow sat near some slab; Loren lobbed a snowball over my head on the slab above.

    The slide increased in grade with elevation. While there was an option to bushwhack around the side, we wanted to play. The first sketchy area came at a small wall below some relatively featureless slab. It was dry enough that the lichen was brittle underfoot. Loren entered from the right and traversed across to a vegetated crack.

    Next was the crux of the slide. To our left sat an ascent of perhaps 80 degrees with no good holds. Continuing in the crack led to a ledge on the right. Underclings in a few small cracks led to a short chimney below the final run of slab-good moderate angle slab that was comfortable to climb without fear of slipping. The headwall was a greasy area of moss-covered stone that we avoided on the left.

    I spotted an outcrop of seemingly technical stone last year that drew my curiosity. It was about 40 feet high, but dirty with moss and lichen. Some overhanging handcracks ran along a dominant overhang. We traversed along its bottom while looking at the stone wall of the Wilmington Turn—we were above it in elevation. Loren spotted a possible route up the wall and we climbed...well trashed our way up vertically using tree trunks as a ladder of sorts. Halfway up it lost none of its challenge. I commented that not many people had come up this lately. Loren laughed and retorted a smart remark.In all the slide was a good climb though #2b is the real prize.

    We met on the summit at around noon under a bright sun and strong cold wind. It was as crowded as I’ve ever seen since it was Memorial Day wilderness experience here. Christina and Loren descended to the castle while I watched our packs and reclined in a protective nook. Crowds or not, it was a relaxing and I caught a few winks.

    Above, blocky steps with options for small technical moves...good practice. Below, Kevin on the crux of Slide 3. Photo by Loren.

    Lake Placid Slide
    I led down to the slide from the informational sign on slides, a few switchbacks down ledges led to a ramp on the climber’s right of the headwall. Beyond, the descent required careful foot so as not to loosen rubble near one another. The dominant runs of slab came after descending through a couple hundred vertical feet of talus.
    Descending this slide is one of the easier slide descents as long as you have sticky soled shoes—shoes with harder rubber are slippery if this slide is wet; the bottom portions are the worst. Click here for a detailed ascent of the Lake Placid Slide in summer or winter.

    The bushwhack from the slide base was pleasant through loosely knit forest though I veered east about 100 vertical feet too soon—that’s what I get for going by feel. By then the woods were even more open so a little more bushwhacking only added to the experience. Following the trail down to Whiteface Landing and Connery Pond placed us at Loren’s car at 5:15, exactly 9 hours after beginning.

    Another grand day on Whiteface that wrapped up the last of the Ski Slides that I wanted to document.

    Above, upper reaches of Lake Placid Slide. Below, Kevin/Loren near a large ledge near the bottom. Photo by Christina.

    Last edited by mudrat; 05-28-2015, 06:32 PM.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

  • #2
    Great stuff as always👍
    "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
    Ed Viesturs


    • #3
      Originally posted by ADKJack View Post
      Great stuff as always👍
      Thanks Jack! Got an exciting one coming up...Panther Gorge, flashflooding...all the good epic (put that in for Rik) stuff that makes the Adirondacks great.
      May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.


      • #4
        Thanks for sharing. I'm def interested in the Lake Placid slide. You guys planned a fun hike with an interesting tour of what Whiteface has to offer.
        Crepuscular Rays: Dissolve into evergreens

        There's always gonna be another mountain
        I'm always gonna wanna make it move
        Always gonna be an uphill battle
        Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
        Ain't about how fast I get there
        Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side...
        It's the climb
        -Miley Cyrus


        • #5
          Originally posted by Crepuscular View Post
          Thanks for sharing. I'm def interested in the Lake Placid slide. You guys planned a fun hike with an interesting tour of what Whiteface has to offer.
          It was a great time and not a harsh day. You'd get some killer pics with your talent!
          May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.