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Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge Sunday May 19th?

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  • Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge Sunday May 19th?


    The boys (10 & 12) and I are going for a hike this w/e and considering Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge via the Range trail. We've done 15 46ers so we've definitely done longer hikes but this will be about 600 feet more elevation gain than anything we've done to date.

    Did some creeping on social media and found these photos from Giant May 10th and these photos from Rocky Peak Ridge May 6th.

    Doesn't look like spikes would be helpful once we hit the mess of snow. Giant Mountain Wilderness so snowshoe regulations don't apply. Both posters above reference post-holing. Is that still considered bad form at this time of year?

    As an aside I'm curious as to why snowshoes are required in the High Peaks but not elsewhere in the park? I suppose the regulation is concerned with the potential for requiring a rescue and not the etiquette involved?


  • #2
    AvalanchePass You're probably right as to why snowshoes are required(i.e. higher elevation=greater potential for danger), BUT if the conditions dictate it, they make sense to use wherever you are. I would pay attention to the weather forecast. I believe there is potential for some snowfall this week. Everything is happening later this year in the Northeast, NY included.


    • #3
      Forget etiquette, if you are post holing you will very quickly get tired, even more quickly than breaking trail. And you will post hole on the way back too.
      Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

      Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
      Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
      Past President Catskill 3500 Club
      CEO Views And Brews!


      • #4
        The pictures of Rocky is what you might encounter.

        There's still places with lots of packed now on the trails right now. Some places with complete coverage. And other spots with none. Some with just the snow spine. It was a fantastic winter and now the packed snow remaining is slowly melting. Places most likely to keep snow. East and North Facing slopes and places shaded areas will have snow.

        Snowshoes are required by regulation in the High Peaks when there's 12" or more of snow pack off the trail.

        The snow left on the trails is pretty firm right now. If there's not too much sun and temperature moderate the snow should support your weight. You may have to tight rope the rail. Step off the rail you go in for as deep as the snow is. I

        If you go I would put the microspikes in your pack. The need to use is a matter of how good you are at walking on the snow spine(or rail). In case you think you need you will have them. Staying on the snow spine(rail) is better that walking around the snow off the trail and widening the trail. Trail widening this time of year IS BAD FORM aspect. It's mud season.



        • #5
          The forecast for tonight is 4-8 inches of snow at higher elevations. The summit forecast for Giant for the next few days is snow with high temps in the low 30s. With the valley forecast of rain and below average temps for most of the rest of the week, it doesn't seem like conditions higher up will improve any by the weekend. Are poor trail conditions/weather something that your boys will enjoy hiking in?
          ADKHP Wiki


          • #6
            46'rs are people; 4,000-footers or High Peaks are the mountains themselves, which are related to that club by no fault of their own. When people say "I've done XX 46ers" I usually chuckle and say "not sure you want to be bragging about that, but anybody I might know?"
            My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.


          • #7
            Thanks for the responses. Much appreciated.

            Will the boys enjoy poor trail conditions? Well, there's the rub. If it's a half mile or so of messy stuff then it sounds like a bit of an "adventure". We haven't done any winter hiking yet so this would be like dipping our toes in to see if we might enjoy it. If it's more like a mile of slogging and post holing then I think that might be a bit much. It's already 600 feet more elevation gain then we've done previously and I don't want it to be a negative experience for the boys.

            Will the boys enjoy poor weather? We won't go if we're going to get wet or if temps at the top will be below freezing. Looks like Giant got a bunch of snow last night. Today's forecast is a high of 30 with another couple inches of snow. It's still 5 days out but Sunday afternoon's summit forecast is currently 41, dry, with 10 mph winds so that seems manageable.

            This is our traditional start w/e and we haven't needed traction previously (but we haven't been as high as Giant). But I conceded to the conditions and ordered the Yaktrax Pro. They're coils but were recommended as being more comfortable than spikes. Hopefully that wasn't a poor decision.

            As suggested hopefully the traction allows us to stay on the rail and limit the post holing. And given that we're ignoring the muddy trail advisory we certainly want to make every effort to limit our impact on the trail.

            Plan is to head over to RPR first and get Giant on the way out. But if the boys have had enough at the cutoff then we can bail on RPR.

            Thanks again,


            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree will @gebby... Yaktrax aren't the proper tool. Hillsounds or Kahtoolas will provide traction and keep you from slipping around but none of the three will prevent you from post-holing. You have not increased the surface area of your foot while wearing micros of any sort. Snowshoes will stop you from post-holing. Anything else will not.

              And this type of hiking is really not anything like winter hiking. Sure, there's some snow but it's not the same. If you do go this weekend and don't like the snow you encounter please do not give up on the idea of winter hiking. Get out there next winter with some rented equipment and see if you like it. Then you can go full bore and buy gear for everybody if you do.

            • Kyler
              Kyler commented
              Editing a comment
              I'll echo Makwa about current conditions not being at all like winter. Do a hike up Mt Jo or Mt Van Hoevenberg on a sunny day in late January to get a good feel for it.

            • FlyFishingandBeer
              FlyFishingandBeer commented
              Editing a comment
              I use the Yaktrax Pros for my wading shoes when fly fishing, and wouldn't trust them for much more than that. Both Gebby and Ndru (and others who were commenting at the same time as me) are giving some solid advice. I'd even narrow it down further and say just stick with the Hillsounds when traction is needed, and to avoid the mess in high peaks right now altogether... but at the end of the day, hike your own hike. Regarding the traction, I've found that the Kahtoolas aren't aggressive enough, wear down too fast, and cannot effectively be resharpened. I've also had issues with them staying firmly attached to my boots since they have no central strap to secure them. Others have complained about the newer models being very prone to failure due to their new design. IMO, money spent on Hillsounds is money spent just once. I've been beating up my current pair for 4 years now and they're still in excellent shape.

          • #8
            Well, that was unanimous ... I cancelled the order for the Yaktrax.

            We really appreciate the time you guys have taken to help us out here. Upon some sober reflection we've decided to abandon the Giant/RPR hike. My initial research had indicated that it was a good candidate for a late May 4̶6̶e̶r̶ 4,000 footer. And when you see the smiling faces on the summit from people that seemed less prepared than us it's easy to say "we can do that". But I guess they don't post a picture after each successive post hole.

            So Plan B is the Pitchoff traverse. Trip report from Sunday indicates that spikes won't be necessary. My software shows the descent back down the east side maxing out at 37.8% so that might be a little tricky assuming things are still wet.

            I'm getting a little confused looking for Hillsounds "microspikes". Here is their product guide. The FreeSteps6 has 1/4" spikes which I would have considered a microspike but Hillsound's recommendation is "Winter Walking". They're recommending the Trail Crampon for "Hiking/Backpacking" but it has 2/3" spikes which I would have considered a crampon. So when you guys are suggesting Hillsounds which product are you referring to?

            Thanks again,


            • ndru
              ndru commented
              Editing a comment
              Oh yeah, sorry for the ambiguity. There are indeed many species of "Hillsounds". The one most of us are talking about (I believe) is the "Trail Crampon".

              For ADK purposes it's a "microspike". For other places with different terrain and drier snow/ice, it may be considered a "crampon", but despite the name I would not use them as a true "crampon" in the ADK's.

              I'm just getting into winter hiking myself, but have found these are perfectly suitable for "shoulder season" (spring/fall) hiking in 90% of the high peaks.

            • gebby
              gebby commented
              Editing a comment
              AvalanchePass I give you full marks for changing your plan after getting some feedback. Some people would get their back up and insist they were going to stick to their plan despite the information they received. I did Pitchoff as an out and back from the TH across from the Cascade TH on Saturday. There is nothing very technical in that stretch and while I have never done the traverse, it sounds like you guys would be able to accomplish that hike. If you plan on doing the traverse, you should plan on having two cars, as I do not recommend walking on 73 to get back to your car. That would not be safe. If you have any questions about hikes, stop at the Cascade TH. The 46ers TH steward program starts up again this weekend and we could give you some advice. Have you done Hopkins ever? Great hike near Giant. I love that one.
              Last edited by gebby; 05-14-2019, 08:27 PM.

            • AvalanchePass
              AvalanchePass commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks, we will have 2 cars (no interest in walking 73). Haven't done Hopkins yet. Our tradition is stop in at the Mountaineer or the Loj after a hike and grab the patch. So as the 2 boys and I make our way through the 46ers we're working through this list ( with the whole family.

              Thanks again to everyone who spent time helping us think this through.

          • #9
            If you have time, it would be worth it to stop at the Mountaineer and discuss traction with the very knowledgeable personnel there. Look at Hillsound's website where their 5 styles are illustrated. I think it's the trail crampon you want. My wife has these. I have an old pair of Kahtoolas and they have served me well (I also have a pair of "real crampons"). If the Kahtoolas ever break, I would get the Hillsound trail crampons as a replacement.

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


            • #10
              Was actually considering hiking Rocky & Giant *next* weekend (possibly on the actual holiday, when most people are leaving the ADKs and heading home).

              But with the recent biblical rains, and now more snow on top of it, I may have to reconsider. At this point, I probably have the appropriate gear and experience, it's just a question of whether it would even be worth the hassle or not. A lot can change in 2 weeks though, so we'll see.


              • Learning The Trails
                Editing a comment
                Having to carry Winter gear on Memorial Day does not sound fun.
                I had been hoping to go for a HP or two on the actual holiday as well... But, man we need a major thaw. I was told there's still around 6' up on Gothics and that it's a s--- show past Slant Rock.

              • Hear the Footsteps
                Hear the Footsteps commented
                Editing a comment
                Two weeks might equal forever this time of year.

              • ndru
                ndru commented
                Editing a comment
                Yeah, it's really hard to predict what to expect on Memorial Day. It could be 90, it could be 30.

                Just playing "wait and see", like I have been all "spring".