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Avalanche Pass/MacIntyre Range Day Hike Questions

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  • Avalanche Pass/MacIntyre Range Day Hike Questions

    I am planning on doing a first time day trip covering the MacIntryre high peaks sometime this summer - starting LOJ>Avalanche Pass then up across the peaks and back down to LOJ. I see that it is roughly about 13 miles and doing this at a slow to moderate pace (with probably a lot of stops) it seems would make it a "approximately" a full day. Should this be done starting at LOJ before daybreak - just to keep on the safe side and make it back before dark? Also, re. water - can this be done in summer weather with 1-2 liters of water? I've read/seen that there is water source on the range - is this reliable as a backup? I am possibly going to do this in Late June/early July - so may be in the clear as far as bad bug season goes - any thoughts on this too would be helpful. If there are any other thoughts/comments/advice about this trip all would be appreciated. Thanks.
    www.brandtbolding.com

  • #2
    That is a beautiful walk but it is also strenuous. The walk to Avalanche lake is fairly easy with less than 700' of elevation gain over 5 miles. The beauty of the lake helps get one through the rocks and ladders. The climb from lake Colden to the Algonquin/Boundary col is very steep IIRC about 2,600' in 2.1 miles.
    Your last chance for water will be in the stream as you ascend. There is no water on the top your next chance for water would be on your way down at McIntyre falls.
    Some do the loop in the opposite direction in order to get the climbing out of the way first.
    "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

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    • #3
      It is a truly beautiful hike with many features to marvel at along the way. If you start after sunup you will have plenty of time for the hike before sunset but if you carry headlamps the trail from treeline out is easy to follow in the dark (obvious, well-used trail with reflective discs showing the way). Take your time going up from Lake Colden remembering to stop often and admire the expanding view.

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      • #4
        Thanks all for feedback
        www.brandtbolding.com

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        • #5
          I have done that loop several times but always in the opposite direction. It's a full day, very beautiful and strenuous. There is quite a bit of water along the way. I usually carry one liter bottle and a steripen, for this hike I would probably also carry a half-liter water bottle for a back up.

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          • #6
            Thanks Halocline...unfortunately...just read Avalanche Pass trail will be closed for some time this summer
            www.brandtbolding.com

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            • #7
              I did this loop last year in the order you mentioned (LOJ to Avalanche Lake first) and the only thing I would add to what has been mentioned is that the descent down Algonquin summit past Wright Peak has a lot of ledge (not scrambling type stuff but steep enough that it was taxing on the legs being constantly "on the brakes" , for me at least. That section seemed to go on forever). I personally would still do it that way again. I think it was beneficial to do that way for a few reasons.

              >First, when I got to Avalanche Lake it was still pretty early and nobody was there so I had that spectacular area to myself. (Of course the summits were crowded but they are much larger versus the few small outlooks on the lake).

              >Second, the trail around the lake looks like a piece of cake on the map but is very tedious and "scrambly" and I would not have wanted to do it after a big climb and big descent when my legs were fatigued. The ledges descending Algonquin were tedious as well but in my opinion not nearly as bad.

              >Third, I can't imagine doing that hike with 1-1.5L of water, especially on a hot day. Everyone is different of course but that seems on the light side for the effort involved. I tend to drink approximately 1L per 5 miles (give or take effort involved and heat) and I believe I drank 3L the day I did this loop and absorbed every drop of it (It was a pretty hot day). You can get pretty far up the Algonquin Trail from lake toward summit and still be near river for filtering so you don't need to carry all your water up front. I believe I started with 1 L and filtered 2 more about 1/2 way up to Algonquin. Worked out pretty well.

              >And if you are adding Wright Peak that spur path is a pretty steep climb (with same type of ledges as the main trail) so a little extra water for the effort might be worth it.

              Not familiar with the trail closing but hopefully it will reopen and you get a chance to do this loop. It was a very nice hike with a variety of views.

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              • #8
                The advantage of leaving Avalanche Pass for last is that you have lots of bail out opportunities. Do Wright on the way in to keep the Avalanche Pass option open. You can turn around after Algonquin if you've had enough. And finally on your way back from Iroquois you can decide at the Algonquin/Boundary col whether you want to tackle Avalanche Pass or head back over Algonquin.

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                • #9
                  AV pass closure is in August
                  Mike

                  ADK 46r #8003; 6W
                  2nd round: 16
                  SL6r #596
                  Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

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                  • #10
                    Thanks all for additional comments especially the details Day Trip - very helpful. Just did the MacIntyre couple of days ago - out and back from LOJ - saw quite a bit of water, streams, brooks, etc, and of course the falls - from Wright back. Always good to get "on the ground" feedback - maps/diagrams without saying are limited - and won't of course indicate e.g. how incredibly windy it was on top of Wright (comparatively)!
                    www.brandtbolding.com

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                    • #11
                      When you say the McIntyre Range, are you including Marshall? I have done AIW several times but M was always a separate trip.
                      Mike

                      ADK 46r #8003; 6W
                      2nd round: 16
                      SL6r #596
                      Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

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                      • #12
                        Not including Marshall
                        www.brandtbolding.com

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