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Most of Great Range with full packs in 2 days.

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  • Most of Great Range with full packs in 2 days.

    Hey all,

    My fiancÚ and I are planning a trip next month to tag UWJ-->Basin, Haystack, Skylight, Gray and Marcy. We have only done Saddleback from ore bed trail (never hitting the cliffs). The plan is to hike in and set up shop near WJ leanto, then hike real early the next day with full packs UWJ--> Haystack and camp out near panther gorge lean to. Then the next day try for Skylight, Gray, Marcy and out to the Loj.

    I know the first day will be LONG and we have thought about snowbird tent sites and changing the itinerary for the second day, but I would love any and all thoughts and feedback. I am not opposed to other ideas of setting up base camp and day packing, just couldn't seem to find a more logistical itinerary in bagging all mentioned peaks and also thought about perhaps reversing the order as I read more and more on the saddleback cliffs, etc and going that direction may be easier with full loads.

    I thank you all in advance!

    Travis

  • #3
    How heavy are your full packs? People carry all kinds of extra gear for comfort but I would say you'll want to be as light as possible doing the route you describe for Day 1. I'm guessing that's 8-9 miles with 6500-7000 feet of elevation gain over some of the most rugged terrain in the Adirondacks. Please ignore me if you're up for that kind of day but I only caution you because this is a rather frequent question on the forum and in many cases plans are scrubbed or altered after the poster really gets an understanding of the level of difficulty of the hike. If that hike is within your abilities.. great... have fun (and post a trip report after). But I would also have bailout points and alternative campsites doped out ahead of time just in case the day doesn't go to plan. It just sounds like a big undertaking with full packs. And remember... no water up high until after Basin on that route.

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    • #4
      I just did AMR-LWJ to Panther Gorge via Haystack with an overnight pack (25 lbs) and it took me a little over 10 hours. It felt to me that I was going very slowly in energy saving mode. I had planned on camping at Snobird but got there so early I decided to keep going. I found descending Saddleback with the pack not too bad but I went quite carefully, and mentally rehearsed the (three?) moves one has to make on that route. I stowed my poles and camera in my pack and cinched it tight.

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      • #5
        If it were me I'd rather day hike and camp low. Packing over the Range is harder then most people think and makes the whole trip less enjoyable unless you are seeking that kind of strenuous challenge...I would hike in to the Bushnell Falls area and camp. The next day I would backtrack to the JBL/Ranger Cabin area and head up Upper, Armstrong etc. When I got to the Shorey Cutoff between Basin and Haystack I would decide whether to get haystack or not that day (hoping to get haystack that day). The last day (having spent the second night also at Bushnell) I would Option #1 - hike Marcy, Skylight and Gray and then head back to Bushnell, pack up and head out or Option #2 - pack up to the Van Ho. trail where I would drop my pack, hike Marcy, etc. and then go back over Marcy and out to the ADK Loj. or Option #3 - pack over Marcy drop pack and climb the peaks and then head out via Lake Arnold (shorter) or Lake Colden. Depends on how much you don't mind shuttling a car and how much you want different scenery on the backpack out...

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        • #6
          Another vote for day hike & camp low. ONE of the reasons that the trails in the High Peaks are eroded is the carrying of heavy packs; it's not good for the trails and it's not good for you. You can camp in the Johns Brook valley and day hike all the peaks you want.

          Just my opinion.

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          • All Downhill From Here
            Editing a comment
            It's not the pack, since there's no difference between a 150lb person with a 50lb pack and a 200lb person naked.

            The issue is conditioning - if you're not properly prepared to CARRY a 50lb pack you'll tire, and then you'll cheat when it comes to puddles, or using live trees as steps/handrails, and your general ability and inclination to properly LNT starts to deteriorate.

            As a data point for the OP: I've done Snobird to the WJ Leanto in 1 day with a full pack, would have gone longer but ran out of water. It was a tiring day.

        • #7
          If your are conditioned for the scrambling-style trail conditions with a 40 lb backpack, go for it. It will be a tough day. I did that route the opposite direction from Panther Brook LT to Ore Bed Brook LT in one day but I was 19 years old.

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          • #8
            It's not the pack, since there's no difference between a 150lb person with a 50lb pack and a 200lb person naked.
            I would disagree since the 200 person carries those 200 pounds 24/7 and his body is adapted to it. OTOH if you suddenly add 33% body weight to anybody no matter what they weigh and send them on a jaunt over the Great Range alongside the 200 pounder I suspect they would have a much rougher go of it.

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            • #9
              I agree, the 200 lb he-man has the cardio vascular and muscle/skeleton capacity for 200 lbs. The 150 lb weakling doesn't. Not sure I'm that interested in seeing either of them naked on the range trail!

              When I was young and highly stupid, I carried a heavy pack over sawteeth and the upper range to panther gorge in a day. Even though this was more than thirty years ago, I can still clearly remember how miserable I was towards the end of that day.

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              • #10
                "Another vote for day hike & camp low. ONE of the reasons that the trails in the High Peaks are eroded is the carrying of heavy packs; it's not good for the trails and it's not good for you."

                The pounding on the trail is the same.

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                • #11
                  Are you limited to just 2 days? If not, that would open up more options.

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