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Dial and Nippletop or Nippletop and Dial?

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  • Dial and Nippletop or Nippletop and Dial?

    Assuming following the Gill Brook cutoff up or down, no visits to either cliff, would you recommended clockwise from Leach (Bear Den and up, out Elk Pass and Lake Rd) or vice versa, counter clockwise, Lake Rd to Elk Pass steeps starting at NT to Dial to BD and out down to Leach trail? I see pros and cons to each.....

  • #2
    Lots of things to consider in that loop.

    Going Gill Brook --> Elk Pass --> Nippletop --> Dial:
    Steep, rocky climbing up Elk Pass
    More net vertical going over Dial, then Bear Den, then Noonmark's shoulder
    Nicest part of the trail descending from Noonmark's shoulder to Lake Road
    Exit is .75 miles from gate

    Going Dial --> Nippletop --> Elk Pass --> Gill Brook
    Start of climbing is only .75 miles from gate
    Initial climb is nice (to Noonmark's shoulder)
    A bit of up/down to Bear Den then Dial then Nippletop (although Dial to Nippletop is IMO easier than Noonmark to Bear Den)
    Once you're on Nippletop, it's all downhill to Lake Road
    STEEP, rocky descent to Elk Pass
    Exit is farther from Gate
    ADK 46/46W + MacNaughton, Grid 277/552
    Photos & Stuff


    • #3
      My preference counter clockwise because I generally plan to get to the farthest place as fast as possible. Traveling the Lake Road in the morning does that for me.

      The negative for me, that I put up with, is the descent off Bear Den (infinitely better in warm weather than in cold and ice), the long switch back climb to Noonmark Burn when I'm tired and it's the last climb of the day, and finally the relentless descent back to the road. But the reward is when arriving at the road it's not long (in time) to the gate.



      • gebby
        gebby commented
        Editing a comment
        +1 I would do it counter clockwise as well

    • #4
      Thanks all! Counter clockwise it is!


      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Just remember to top off your water before losing site of the Gill brook. The ponds at the base of Elk pass have been really sketchy any time I've been out there. Not sure I'd try to filter that stuff.

      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment

        What FF&B said. The water in Elk Pass Ponds is a bit too "still" and Gill Brook is a better choice.

        However, know that it's been a wet season. I was there in mid-June and the Elk Pass Trail (above the pass) was thoroughly irrigated. I almost recorded the location of a spring (about a third of the way up from the pass) but decided it would be misleading to advertise it (on a map) because it may run dry by mid-summer.

    • #5
      ah ok will do thanks!


      • #6
        I'm not a fan of the steep stuff generally, if I went back I would actually do Dial, Nippletop and Dial probably. Back and forth over Bear Den, avoiding Gill Brook and Elk Pass completely. Of course, that's a definite matter of opinion and most normal hikers would probably disagree.
        ADK 46*/46 CATS 5/35 FT 4/28 Saranac 0/6 Bristol 6/6


        • #7
          A few days ago there was good water about 200' ascent from Elk Pass to Nippletop.


          • #8
            It depends on your age and your knees.
            If you are young like bfinan0 any direction would do.

            For an older guy with older knees I would recommend a counterclockwise route to avoid steep downclimb to Elk Pass.


            • #9
              I'm definitely a supporter of CCW. Afternoon rain & thunder makes the Elk Pass descent too slippery for my liking. The ups & downs of the long trek across Dial & Bear Den use different muscle groups, very nice for us old guys.
              Orono Stewie