Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Lake Placid Slide, Whiteface Mtn, 09/17/2022

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Lake Placid Slide, Whiteface Mtn, 09/17/2022

    I got up to the ADK again sooner than I had expected this last weekend, and while I have a bunch of hikes on deck that I'm looking forward to doing with having to drive up and back in a day I needed to whittle that list down to a little lower mileage and hours than some require, and pulled the trigger on a slide climb I have been looking forward to for a few years now. The Lake Placid Slide hasn't had a fresh trip report on the forum in awhile I don't think, and while it hasn't been at the top of my list of slides to climb it is absolutely one I felt I really wanted to experience, and in hindsight while not necessarily one of my favorites I am really glad I did get to experience it. Besides going off his trip report from 2017, Dennis was a great help with additional info leading up to this climb.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Morning Fire.jpg Views:	0 Size:	21.0 KB ID:	518659
    I had crazy luck to be exiting the Northway right as the morning sky was lit on fire Saturday, and pulled to the side of the road on the off-ramp to snap some of my favorite sunrise pics yet. Working my way up around the top of the high peaks, I was the only car at the Connery Pond trailhead Saturday morning at 7am, and found a single trail-running shoe that I still have, if anyone reading this is who left it and can describe it I will mail it to you, and if you somehow happen to name the shoe and size its yours for such an amazing guess. Its tread shows its obviously seen some significant mileage already, but it still has some life in it.
    I signed in as first of the day in the trailhead register, and set off down the old road and saw pretty fresh bear scat within minutes, in the area of where the trail is really close to Connery Pond. While I didn't see any bear on Saturday, I did set off somewhere between 4 and 6 grouse, the most I have encountered in any one area I think. I had never been to Whiteface Landing, and made the short side trip from the junction to the shore on the way in as well as in the afternoon on the way out. Seeing that dock for the first time, I was aware walking out to the end of it could be the most daring thing I did all day, and looking back I think it could have been. But the dilapidated dock held me, and noting a Band-Aid placed on it towards the end I laughed thinking it needed a bit more TLC than that tiny adhesive.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Whiteface Landing Dock.jpg Views:	0 Size:	19.8 KB ID:	518660
    After checking out the designated sites for what I really hope will be a canoe-camping trip in my future, I signed into the landing junction's register and headed towards the lean-to. I loved this winding section of woods trail, with its couple of water crossings and hardwooded forest. After reading some samples in the lean-to's log book the trail started to steepen a bit, and my planned exit was pretty obvious: I went past a bunch of herdpaths that branched left off the trail towards the brook and instead stayed on until it took a sharper turn towards the east. At this point the brook's east ridge-bank was still only a stone's throw from the trail, and I was soon downclimbing the steep bank to the brook.
    When I first got into it I didn't find the brookwhack too daunting because of it's rocks being slippery, instead the growth and blowdown and boulders often combined to choke out passage and I found myself climbing up a bit to sidehill on the left bank. At one drainage junction I found a super tattered jacket that I attempted to stuff in my pack, and within a few minutes of going up the brook from there I found an older blue baselayer laying out on a rock, which I am guessing has seen some season changes there in the brook but I was able to pack it out. Soon after this point I completely gave up on the brookwhack for awhile by going up on the right ridge-bank, where while still steep and rough I found much easier passage sometimes even on semblances of herdpaths. Taking a break at one point, I found a pile of odd thin blue wire, and then another pile of this wire a little further uphill, and then along with that found a solid conduit pipe and a connector for the wiring coming out of the boulders and earthen debris, and then within a hundred yards from that I found flexible conduit piping coming out of the ground. This led me to wonder if I was on the show “Lost” or something to find those curious things in that rough and wild area. This was near to the base of a high (50ft?) slab wall not too far west of the smaller side slide prior to getting to the main event Lake Placid slide.
    I think at this point I saw the beginnings of the main slide and its nasty angle slab that was wet and slimy, and continued working uphill on the right bank until I ran into the bottom of the smaller slide, and downclimbed to cross its bottom on the edge of vegetation before whacking over to what I was expecting to be the start of my slide climb. After taking a few minutes to size up the situation at an initial large slab, I was able to climb straight up a dry line on the slope to some vegetation and trees.
    At this point with the extent of slab that was very wet and often slimy it was way too risky to attempt proceeding out on the slide, with any dry routes ending in wet rock prior to the safety of other trees or vegetation or weaknesses, so I started climbing up the mossy right side. I think I have had a similar thought on other slides as I did Saturday: at one point should one worry about the regrowth on a slide letting loose its grip on the steep rock and slide down like so much other earth had already done so close nearby, while you are standing on it? With that thought I quickly moved strenuously along uphill over spongy moss reminding me of the cruciflyer's side regrowth, and sometimes through extremely tight trees, every so often taking the time to go back out towards the open rock just to be disappointed by the sight of so much wet rock and to continue climbing in the relative safety on the side of the slide. So much “NOPE” on Saturday looking at that wet and surely slippery rock with significant exposure that wasn't necessarily too steep but definitely lengthy. I don't think I fueled myself adequately the few hours prior to this point, and that combined with awkward movements resulting from counteracting frequent small slips started to cause some uncomfortable leg cramping. Finally after climbing a 6 to 8 foot ledge with the assistance of a perfectly placed pine I got to a point where I could get out onto the slide till its end.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Lake Placid Slide lower with tower view resize.jpg Views:	0 Size:	18.3 KB ID:	518661
    I could see the summit tower up above, and as I got a bit higher could also start to see people moving up along the railing. I think I remember a couple fun scrambles thrown in on the slide that got my fingers some usage, and as the going got rubbly I could make out more people stopping on their way up to the summit, surely wondering what I was doing, with one man literally yelling to me “What the hell are you doing down there?”. I was going to reply with something like “This is the way to Mt Marcy, right?” or “They told me the toilet was down here!”, but I was afraid my extra-dry humor on Saturday might not have been adequately received due to the difference in elevation between him and I, and someone might have sent a ranger down to check on me, so I just waved back in a non-”needing of assistance” manner.
    I got up to the near vertical wall below the railing, and was disappointed to see spots of moss growing on the possible exit routes, and had to keep moving to my right before finally making some moves up to and through the railing. After mixing in with those on the walkway who had driven up the mountain, I walked back down a little bit to the slide's plaque to snap some pics of my ascent and the view beyond before heading up to join the masses upon the summit proper.
    Though most people up top on Saturday did not apparently hike up, I did nod to a few who had a more tired look on their faces as they sat beside their packs, and worked my way over to the looking glasses and found a good spot to sit looking over at the peaks. I took off my shoes and socks and after appreciating that immediate amazing feeling I remembered to snap a barefoot pic in tribute to Joseph C. I think I stayed on top for over an hour, probably the longest I have stayed on a summit while solo so far. It was a beautiful day up there, the wind and sun felt amazing and just watched the birds gliding by on the breeze between me and the peaks.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Whiteface Mtn summit barefeet.jpg Views:	0 Size:	15.0 KB ID:	518662
    Knowing I wanted to get to some stops in Keene Valley before heading back home, I regretfully put my socks and shoes back on and shouldered my pack. Though not having taken it before I had a rough idea where the trail was, and used my map to set a compass bearing for the start which lined me up pointing at the Monument Slide on Kilburne from the looking glasses. I asked a couple if they knew exactly where the trail was in that area, and they were able to point out a red trail marker for me, and I set off descending down the rocks and slabs and debris. After getting below the “headwall” below the summit glasses, the trail started dropping pretty quick, sometimes with some unexpectedly fun obstacles, and I was thinking that it reminded me of the last mile or so up to Dix from Round Pond, with its rugged steepness. I crossed paths with a trail runner and her very polite dog, and after awhile got down to my earlier jump-off point for the slide's brookwhack. In this area the trail started to level off a little and I was able to up the pace a bit and soon passed the lean-to before taking my shoes and socks back off at Whiteface Landing to sit with my feet in the water for a few minutes. There was a motorboat moored to the dock there with a couple of tethered dogs attempting to disembark, and soon the boat's couple got back into the boat and shoved off. Again regretfully I put my socks and shoes back on for the last bunch of miles out to the trailhead.
    After signing out of the register I did head over to the Mountaineer for some new merch, followed by hitting up Old Mountain Coffee for a drink and fries and the “Other Burger”. Bacon, chipotle aioli, and spicy pickles. Yup. I devoured that while watching a Forest Ranger get picked up by a helo at Marcy Field, feeling a bit guilty with the comfort of my picnic table and awesome dinner, yet very grateful for these responders that punch the clock every day not knowing whether they will be taking care of parking issues or getting lowered from the sky to assist an injured or sick hiker in the middle of the great range. After finishing my burger and fries I made the 5ish hour drive home, safely ending the day after dodging obstacles along the way ranging from probably inebriated drivers to baby deer.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Forest Ranger and Helo.jpg Views:	0 Size:	16.9 KB ID:	518663
    I was honestly a bit disappointed with the amount of slide I needed to avoid on Saturday due to it being wet and/or slimy causing uncomfortable exposure, but the bushwhack and work-arounds were not overly tough compared to those of other slides, and the slide that was experienced will not be forgotten for many reasons; its views backward as well as the finish up to and through the busy rail. and that amazing summit is absolutely unique and memorable. I will definitely recommend that slide to others as Dennis did for me, as I feel it has an important spot in a diverse range of slide climbs.
    "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
    "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

  • #2
    Outstanding work and a fine write-up that gives a good sense of the unique challenges in climbing this slide. Those huge algae covered slabs gave me fits. I also had to detour through the woods. Climbing over that railing in front of stunned onlookers: priceless!

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice climb and great trip report! Wet, dirty, and crappy rock is what distinguishes pure climbing with mountaineering.

      Comment


      • #4
        Nice report; we did the slide in '20 and I echo your assessment. Slime is a bit frustrating but still a great day overall.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks guys. Very unique slide trip for many different reasons, and I'm really glad i finally notched this one.

          I emailed Whiteface and haven't heard back, regarding the wire and conduit found a long stones-throw due west of the base of the wall below the small side slide. I'm very curious about this especially considering its location in the extremely rugged terrain, as I said made me think of the show Lost, i think i could have really freaked out if i saw a bunker with a manhole cover being guarded by a polar bear.
          "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
          "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

          Comment


          • #6
            I've been up that slide a number of times. There is an easier way to approach the slide than what you've described here. Where the trail diverges from the bench above the brook, don't descend to the brook(!) Just follow the bench staying near the edge high above the brook for a long time. The travel is pretty open and easy. Eventually you'll be able to see when you are close to the bottom of the slide. At that point just side-slope down to the open rock. I believe I used satellite imagery and an altimeter to approximate at what elevation I should look for the slide.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gregory Karl View Post
              I've been up that slide a number of times. There is an easier way to approach the slide than what you've described here. Where the trail diverges from the bench above the brook, don't descend to the brook(!) Just follow the bench staying near the edge high above the brook for a long time. The travel is pretty open and easy. Eventually you'll be able to see when you are close to the bottom of the slide. At that point just side-slope down to the open rock. I believe I used satellite imagery and an altimeter to approximate at what elevation I should look for the slide.
              i agree for sure this is probably the easiest way to the slide, other than maybe dropping down right from the railing. If someone wants to go and isnt too concerned about seeing the brook on the way to the main event, i definitely recommend staying right on the right bench above the brook until you get to the wall and small slide before you get to the main slide (this is the area i found the wire and conduit pipe). The travel up on the bench through the trees and among the terrain, even while having to side-slope, was significantly easier than trying to stay in the brook lower in its cut.
              i am glad i did it the way i went though, i like to experience the brookwhack for the certain slides; you never know what cool waterfalls or other features you might find.
              "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
              "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bikerhiker View Post

                i agree for sure this is probably the easiest way to the slide, other than maybe dropping down right from the railing. If someone wants to go and isnt too concerned about seeing the brook on the way to the main event, i definitely recommend staying right on the right bench above the brook until you get to the wall and small slide before you get to the main slide (this is the area i found the wire and conduit pipe). The travel up on the bench through the trees and among the terrain, even while having to side-slope, was significantly easier than trying to stay in the brook lower in its cut.
                i am glad i did it the way i went though, i like to experience the brookwhack for the certain slides; you never know what cool waterfalls or other features you might find.
                When I was there I too found some electrical line artifacts including a ceramic insulator and a strange pipe sticking up a foot or two out of the ground with something attached to the top of it.


                Comment


                • #9
                  i was just looking at a good little book i haven't taken off my shelf in too long, Climbing in the Adirondacks by Don Mellor and the ADK club, and i came across this in the slide section, "...Leave the trail here by keeping in the original straight line up an old phone line, picking up the pipe and cable shortly. It is possible to cut left to the brook at any point, but don't go much farther than the boulder tunnel of the cable..." i still cant find anything online about this old phone line, but i'm wishing i had picked up this book before hitting the slide as i usually have done as i would have checked out that old phone line better as well as the boulder tunnel.
                  "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
                  "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My wild guess is that is was for the fire tower, but who knows?
                    Tom Rankin - 5444W, etc., etc.

                    Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
                    Member #0003 - ADKHP Foundation
                    Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
                    Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
                    CEO - Views And Brews

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TFR View Post
                      My wild guess is that is was for the fire tower, but who knows?
                      Thats what im thinking, but while i have found old telephone poles from past lines in the adk before, as well as old logging roads and other signs of past human influence in places on the mountains i wouldn't have expected, i haven't seen anything like conduit pipe or line etc in a place as rugged as that slope on whiteface, and it only got crazier between where i saw it and approaching the summit.
                      "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
                      "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X