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Winter Loop Of Noonmark And Round Mts

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  • Winter Loop Of Noonmark And Round Mts

    Thinking about a trip out to the Adirondacks in next week or two. I'm not in terribly great shape right now so I don't want to take on anything too ambitious. I've wanted to climb Noonmark for awhile now to get those stunning views over to the "big boys" across the valley. Looking at the maps it looks like there are several loop options that could include Round Mt. Not being overly familiar with the area I had a few basic questions:

    1) Do these trails generally see foot traffic in Winter? Specifically, the Old DIx Trail in the valley between the two peaks and the trail climbing the West side of Round?
    2) I assume parking would be at that lot that accesses Ausable Club. Is that lot as insane in Winter as it is in the Summer? How early should I get there to ensure a space? With all the adjustments to parking on road, lots, shuttles, etc have I missed anything I should be aware of, i.e. new areas where I'd get a ticket, etc?
    3) Is the route in to Round Pond from Dix Trail on Rte 73 used in Winter? As I recall that parking area was very small but it might make a more interesting loop.

    I guess I'm just looking for some overall suggestions on the most enjoyable way to visit that area and hit the summit of Noonmark. Round Mt would be more of a bonus objective to stretch the hike out to a more respectable length to justify the drive. Looks like a fairly short hike to just hit Noonmark alone. It's also a 4 hour drive for me to that area so avoiding any parking problems is always a factor in my plans.

  • #2
    You will like those two mountains!

    Noonmark is spectacular. It has an impressive, conical summit with a 360 view. Very impressive for a "low peak." I would say it ranks with the best High Peaks, like Haystack and Dix for the "feel" of the summit. If you have time, don't skip Round. While it looks less impressive, the large rock outcrops on the top get you above the trees and it has an unexpected very good view.

    There's so much to do there and so many ways to go. Maybe you should book a spot in town and drive over the night before so you can get in a longer day.

    Most of those trails are well packed in winter. (As you suspected, the exception might be that stretch of the old Dix trail in between the two mountains, and the "back ways" up the two.) Noonmark from the Ausable Club is very popular and is always packed out right away. Round from the Ausable Club is usually packed pretty early. (You will get a look at the Round Trail as you walk up the road to the Noonmark trail from the Club parking at the bottom off the hill.)

    Cannot guess on arrival times for parking, but winter is certainly not as crazy as summer. No shuttles operating right now. (Although I think some lodging owners might be willing to give guests a ride to a trailhead, which might allow for a more creative loop...)

    The route in from Round Pond to Dix is the currently popular route to Dix from the north, so it is packed pretty early after a storm.

    Enjoy!



    Comment


    • #3
      Noonmark has incredible views. But the climb up the Stimson Trail (from the north from the Ausable Club) is very steep.... like 1900 feet of ele gain over the last 1.3 miles. That rivals many of the steepest trails of the High Peaks. If you are "not in terribly great shape right now" it may be a punishing climb, especially in winter. All things are relative though. Your not great shape may be vastly different than my not great shape. Depends on your normal fitness and ability I suppose.

      As for the other trails... and I hope other chip in with opinions... I'm gonna say that it is unlikely that the Adler Trail (the trail heading south off Noonmark), the Old Dix Trail, and the trail up the western side of Round are broken out. I would imagine they are lightly used, if at all, in winter. Your best bet will probably be up/down the Stimson. Don't know about the Round Pond approach though at some point you'd get to the Adler Trail which, as mentioned above, may or may not be broken out.

      I've driven by the Ausable Club maybe a half dozen times on weekend mornings this winter between 7:30 am and 8:30 am on my way to other destinations and it hasn't ever been close to full. Barely half full on just a few occasions and several times with a dozen cars or less. You should not have any problems getting parking at that early hour. But... I am sure this will get solved soon... the Roaring Brook Parking Area for Giant was inaccessible this past weekend. Entrance was plowed in after the last storm. I assume everybody who wanted to park there parked at the Ausable Club instead. That's not a huge deal as Roaring Brook is usually pretty empty at the times I mentioned above but it would add a little bit more of a crowd across the street until the lot is plowed.

      Might I suggest the following... go up/down Noonmark via the Stimson. If you still have the time/energy/desire... move your car to another trailhead and do another short hike. I do it all the time in winter. Makes the drive worthwhile. Stretches out the day. You can refuel and rehydrate in between and change into dry clothes. And it's a helluva bail-out option if your day isn't going as planned. Easier to abort a 2nd summit from the comfort of your car rather than several miles from a trailhead in the backcountry. Go hit Hurricane or Rooster Comb if you have the legs. Or Big Crow or Baxter if something smaller sounds better. All are a very short drive from the Ausable Club lots.
      Last edited by Makwa; 02-11-2020, 09:17 AM.

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      • DayTrip
        DayTrip commented
        Editing a comment
        I can handle that climb but I seriously doubt I'll need to alert the folks at FKT about my plans this weekend. A lot of folks will be passing me on the way. I'm pretty average for pace. I can walk all day long but the steeps slow me down right now, especially with a Winter weight pack. Thanks for those other short hike suggestions. Not a bad idea actually although once I get back in the car that usually sucks the life out of me after a short night and my thoughts turn to food and a good beer.

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        I hear ya. It is a different mind set. If you're used to car = done then turning the switch back on at another stop can be difficult.

        Good luck with whatever you end up hiking and have fun.

    • #4
      i did a quick loop of noonmark back on december 31, up the main route, down the backside, and then out on the old trail between noonmark and round. i was making fresh tracks in the snow for the down and out but it was complicated by quite a bit of blowdown. i don't think that area saw much cleanup after the big fall storm. the trail was a little hard to follow at times because of this.

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      • DayTrip
        DayTrip commented
        Editing a comment
        Good information. Thanks.

    • #5
      A few friends and I will be hiking near Saranac Lake over the President's Day weekend and have considered hiking Noonmark as our Monday hike on the way home. Not yet sure of our exact route, but I'll post a trip report here if we decide to do it. I've hiked it in non-winter conditions and agree with the others that it is a truly spectacular peak. Definitely one of my favorites!
      Last edited by debmonster; 02-11-2020, 04:44 PM.
      We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

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      • #6
        As a couple above have noted, Noonmark is a significant climb. It has lots of steep scrambling apt to be icy in present conditions. Just to balance the advice here, I'll note that Round is spectacular too in its own right. It has great views of the whole Dix Range, the Great Range through Gothics and Pyramid, Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Giant, Rocky, Whiteface, and other major peaks. And the Weston Trail is particularly beautiful with some unexpectedly good vistas along the way. A loop over Round with a return via the Old Dix Trail is a wonderful and rewarding trip if it better fits your current level of fitness.

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        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Good point about the ice; I'd be surprised if we don't need full crampons in some places. And an excellent suggestion for Round!

        • DayTrip
          DayTrip commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks. I always have crampons with me in Winter and I'll bring my ice axe just in case.

      • #7
        Thanks to all for the feedback. Hopefully I'll be able to get out there and hit one or both.

        Comment


        • #8
          If you have the ability to hit both Round and Noonmark in one day, I highly recommend round. It's a nice trail (may be icy though...), and the views are great. As tcd mentioned, there's a small ridge at the top (assuming you're making a loop of the two peaks and hitting round first), so make sure you don't stop before you get to the top. Once you arrive it's fairly obvious, and you'll be very close the the trail down that will lead you up Noonmark.

          Happy hiking!

          Comment


          • #9
            Both have some pretty sharp views.

            As everyone has said Noonmark sees quite a bit of traffic, whereas Round not so much. When I hiked Round on a saturday I didn't see a soul all day. A very peaceful hike.

            Enjoy!
            If by chance some day you're not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled ~ Red Skelton

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            • #10
              Wandered up there just now. Noonmark heavily packed out, as expected. The old Dix trail was also well packed, although I only went up it about 5 minutes..

              A little snow coming tomorrow, but on a few inches, so it should still be easy travel.

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