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Cliff via Upper Twin Brook

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  • Cliff via Upper Twin Brook

    Has anyone done this bushwhack to Cliff this winter? Any advice or thoughts?
    "It's not how far you go, it's how go you far"

  • #2
    Originally posted by KEG View Post
    Has anyone done this bushwhack to Cliff this winter? Any advice or thoughts?
    When you say "this bushwhack" where exactly are you talking about? Are you just saying going up Cliff in general from where the usual herd path is or going in another way totally. If your looking for a different route than the "normal" be as specific as possible since it can change dramatically.
    Be quick - but don't hurry. -John Wooden

    Middle age is having a choice between two temptations and choosing the one that'll get you home earlier. ~Dan Bennett

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    • #3
      Too Clarify...I thought the only "accepted" bushwhack up Cliff was from Uphill lean-to on the NE side of Cliff.

      Wanted to know if anyone has hiked Cliff from the SE side by bushwhacking in the Upper Twin Brook then to summit. Sounds like this was a marked trail at one time, is it hard to spot where this old mark trail ties in with the current trail past Mt. Adams? what route to summit did the trail go once you get out of the Upper Twin Brook? Has this trail been broken out at all this winter?
      "It's not how far you go, it's how go you far"

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      • #4
        I have seen old maps with this trail to Cliff. I have always wondered if the trail is still somewhat visiable. I'm sure the blowdown near the summit has taken it out completly. Plus, getting southern exposer would mean much new growth.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KEG View Post
          Too Clarify...I thought the only "accepted" bushwhack up Cliff was from Uphill lean-to on the NE side of Cliff.
          Your "allowed" to bushwhack Cliff from any direction, the "accepted" path up Cliff goes up from the NE and is currently packed out.

          Wanted to know if anyone has hiked Cliff from the SE side by bushwhacking in the Upper Twin Brook then to summit. Sounds like this was a marked trail at one time, is it hard to spot where this old mark trail ties in with the current trail past Mt. Adams? what route to summit did the trail go once you get out of the Upper Twin Brook? Has this trail been broken out at all this winter?
          The old trail is summer is nearly impossible to follow. The trail was a crappy mess from its start (I've been told many times by different sources, first hand) , then the '99 hurricane totally finished it off. That whole region from Cliff to Allen towards the mountains is a train wreck of blow down and one of the reasons mountains like Mcdonnel are considered the toughest in the Northeast to bushwhack. Wait..it was considered that before the hurricane...it didn't get better.

          I know the map looks nice with its dotted lines and the little off shoot going up Cliff doesn't it. I thought so too. So in '04 I decided I'd give it a go and check it out. I was in good shape, I had done back to back days of 24+ miles each day the weekend before right, oh and I had that easy looking map. Found the start and some flagging here and there. Then the fun began and it got worse and worse until I was going .25 miles an hour. I one point I estimated about 50-60 feet ahead of me, in that distance I could count 27 trees laying over the brook that I was in trying to escape the madness. Directly NW to Cliff itself was all cliffs, notice the nice tight lines on the map. That nice valley actually climbs about 1400ft (nearly the same as Redfield from the Uphill leanto) just to the spot where the base of the slide starts. The nice brook actually has areas with super steep banks that were extremely difficult in summer and make areas where it was impossible to go around without getting into the water. Then you come to the base of the slide and you have to climb that, which will be icy and have high pitch towards the top in most likely hood. Of course that is if you avoid all the boulders and holes they create that have fallen off those cliffs. IF we had deep snow cover like later last year and a very good crust, maybe it would be nice! But there hasn't been that much snow in comparison and no extreme crust like last year. Pin Pin Jr did it last year during the time when both situations where happening but he went from Redfield and weighs about 130lbs.

          Originally posted by Rik
          You won't see any signs of the old Twin Brook trail in winter. You will hardly see any signs in summer.
          If you want to whack it without using the current herd path your best bet would probably be to come up directly from the Flowed Lands near Livingston Pond.
          This is the advice you want.

          What reference are you using? The McMartin map, Burside and his kid book? They are both extremely out dated as far as bushwhacking and herdpaths. I think they also site Street and Nye as the horrible place or nightmares, not the bunny petting zoo they are today when it comes to the trail.

          This type of post usually comes with, "I'm camping to do Allen and was wondering about a short cut to Cliff". Is that your plan? Going over a frozen flowed lands or from the lodge to the paths that have a nice base even if they blow in or it snows will save you massive amounts of energy.
          Be quick - but don't hurry. -John Wooden

          Middle age is having a choice between two temptations and choosing the one that'll get you home earlier. ~Dan Bennett

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          • #6
            It is Posted Land

            At the junction where the marked trail turns left to Hanging Spear Falls and Flowed Lands, and the herdpath turns right at the sign "Allen", going straight (the path of the old yellow trail toward Cliff and Uphill Lean-to) has a "POSTED" sign. I believe it is still part of the East River Club lease. Please do not trespass.

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            • MTVhike
              MTVhike commented
              Editing a comment
              Is that East River Club lease part of the Finch Pryne (sp?) purchase and if so will it expire soon?

          • #7
            That's the spot Joe and yes it is part of the East River lease. The old trail was never like a trail in the first place. It was more like an old tote road wide and very muddy. If you wish an alternate trip up Cliff from there find the old trail near Uphill lean-to and follow it south for about 3/4 mile. Close to or at 3200 feet you should see the slides on Cliff. It makes a great climb. A lot of loose rock and sand. Near the top it gets cliffy. The views of Redfield on the way up are excellent. We went into the trees on the right edge of the slide when reaching the cliffs. In a short distance we hit the herd path north of the summit. Perhaps only five minutes north of what then was a summit with cannister. That part of the old yellow trail is on state land. May not be easy to locate or navigate but far less difficult than trying it from the illegal southern approach.

            Cory actually that slide is a nice climb. Not too different in structure than the one on Macomb. Yes dirt and loose rock but not steep staying on the right, north side. Views are great all the way up. Just below the steep cliffs there was a decent line in the trees you could follow to the top of the ridge. It was not that difficult and much better than the old herd path. This was before the massive blowdown and trail conditions you describe. So a lot has changed, however, if the route is passable to the slide it is a fun climb. And you are right about the old yellow trail. Not too different than the dreaded Bradley Pond trail before the 46R's did a lot of work on it.
            Last edited by Antlerpeak; 01-21-2009, 01:58 AM.

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            • #8
              search

              If you use the search feature of this forum, I believe you will find several trip reports about this approach. As I recall there are cliffs just before the summit. Cory D. seems to have given you some solid advice. Depending on your experience I would go with it.
              What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

              Ralph Waldo Emerson

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              • #9
                Originally posted by RTSpoons View Post
                If you use the search feature of this forum, I believe you will find several trip reports about this approach. As I recall there are cliffs just before the summit. Cory D. seems to have given you some solid advice. Depending on your experience I would go with it.
                I am sure Cory is right. I was describing what the slide was like when I climbed it before the destruction of the approach trail. Yes there are cliffs at the top of the slide, perhaps as much as 100 feet high but there is a good route avoiding the cliffs on the northern edge of the slide just below the cliffs.

                It sounds like the issue is not the slide but the approach. As I understand what Cory wrote he did not get to actually attempt the slide. If you can get there and if the slide has not been radically altered it is a heck of a fun climb.

                Here is a closeup of the cliffs and three on the slide. Not saying you should try this but if looking for a slide to climb that offers a challenge to get to this may be it. Also this was in the mid 90's before the damage so things have changed. We camped at uphill the night before and waded the old muddy trail. Even then there was some blow down near the juncture of the trail and stream. in the summer there was no issue crossing the stream but there was a fun whack getting to it. Anyway that is what the slide and cliffs looked like and notice the slide hooks away from the lower portion of the cliffs. What you can't see is yes the slide does butt against the cliffs at the top. So you do need to angle right into the woods but it was not steep nor thick THEN.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Antlerpeak; 01-21-2009, 02:57 AM.

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                • #10
                  Ah yes, this brings back memories. My first trip up the abandoned yellow trail was a few years before Floyd. The trail was fairly easy to follow and one of my more pleasant days in the mountains. I didn't do the slide, as my main goal was simply to follow the old trail through.

                  I made my second trip up the abandoned yellow trail in the fall of '99, after Hurricane Floyd had pretty much destroyed the conventional approaches. Cliff was one of only 8 remaining peaks for my winter 46 and I was hell bent on finding a way up there. At that time just the hike in to the "beginning" of the old yellow trail (i.e., to the beginning of the Allen herdpath) was unbelievable.

                  Still, my friend Jeff and I persisted. We found the old yellow trail and managed to follow it unerringly (albeit with many detours around windfall), found the brook leading up to the slide, and had a wonderful time (and I mean that sincerely) climbing the gravelly open slide. What a treat after hours of hell we'd just been through.

                  We summitted Cliff then realized , it's late afternoon and we've still gotta get out of here. Well, I'd never spent an unplanned night in the woods, and still haven't, so we made the decision to attempt going down the regular herdpath. Surprisingly, that was much easier than going up it had been for dozens of others (including me) who'd all failed to summit since Floyd. We beat our way back out to the Uphill leanto then followed the regular trail system (by then in "okay" shape from all the hard work of the rangers and crews). Darkenss overtook us around Flowed Lands, but we were golden at that point. What a trip that was.

                  All that because I had rocker fever. In the end I was with the party who set the original track up Cliff from Flowed Lands in late winter of '00 over the top of mounds of blowdown. We reached the summit on a spectacular day. I popped the lid off the canister and signed it... mine was the first signature in the book for the entire winter, and here it was either late Feb or early March.

                  Them were the days... they should've stopped handing out new numbers and rockers after all the paths were cleared in the past couple of years.

                  A footnote: Before both of the attempts of the abandoned trail I contacted someone who would know the answer (he is a member of this forum and occasional contributor, usually when the discussion turns to easement issues) and asked him if it was legal for me to do what I was about to do. I was assured that as long as I stayed on the corridor of the original trail that the state of New York did still have a right-of-way, even though the trail was abandoned. Whether that is still true I don't know, and it is moot anyways since it would probably (note that I left the door open ) be impossible to stay in the corridor of the original trail now.

                  It's a walk through history for those so inclined.
                  Last edited by randomscooter; 01-21-2009, 05:55 AM.
                  Scooting here and there
                  Through the woods and up the peaks
                  Random Scoots awaits (DP)


                  Eat, sleep, hike, repeat.

                  It doesn't have to be viewtiful to be beautiful. (NL)

                  "Pushing the limits of easy."

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                  • #11
                    Cory, will you take me to the bunny petting zoo? Pretty please?

                    How do I like my trees? Standing.

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                    • #12
                      So I am guessing 8 years later this route would be an even bigger mess. But as Cory D said, it does look very easy on the map.
                      Reaching the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory. (Ed Viesturs)
                      Finished Three-Season: NH 4K Grid #69, NE 111/115 #, ADK 46 #10,140
                      Finished Winter: NE 111/115 #92, ADK 46 #10,140W, New England Hundred Highest #120

                      In Progress: CO 14ers 28/58, Catskills 7/35, Northeast 8 Ultra 5/8
                      Trail Adopter: Caps Ridge Trail from Trailhead to Summit of Mount Jefferson
                      Organizer: Random Group of Hikers (www.meetup.com/rndmhkrs)

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                      • #13
                        Holy crap I feel like a little girl after reading some of these posts, hard to even imagine what it was like in the early days. Good stuff peeps! I'm not worthy! Cheers to the pioneers.

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                        • #14
                          Wow, Randomscooter, glad I'm not the only one! I took this route in the late 80's; wasn't hard to follow, actually. I could still make out old corderoy on the abandoned trail, see an occasional marker. Not much blow down and it funnels you into a narrow pass, so route finding certainly wasn't an issue. My only mistake was bailing out a little too early; what I thought was the rubble slide was one of the lower-angled cliffs facing the pass. To this day I remember that the anorthosite was coarse as hell - think I had cuts on my hands that didn't heal for weeks! I did find the summit cannister, though.

                          I went back to climb it by the rubble slide a couple of years later, but I took the approach mentioned from the "traditional" route - much easier! You don't drop down too much before it's obvious on your right. Nice climb, and it has great views back over toward Marcy as you rise.

                          I must be a masochist, but I've also climbed it from Flowed Land via the "winter" route, and several trips up the traditional herd path as well. Which means I've taken more different routes to Cliff than any other adk peak (well, maybe tied with Whiteface...). Go figure, who's that interested in Cliff?!

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                          • #15
                            I took a trip up Twin Brook only 3 years after they had closed it and it was all but overgrown at the bottom. They were also logging it at the time. It cleared out a bit as you approached the slanting corduroy section (not bad when dry, but watch out when wet). I can't imagine what it looks like today. The section of the old road near Uphill LT is pretty hard to imagine as a road today. That slide was a nice climb.

                            I think Mudrat has done it in winter recently; check his blog.

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