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Dial/ nippletop hike

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  • Dial/ nippletop hike

    Thinking of doing this loop Sun. Not sure which way to go. I was thinking counter clockwise that way I get the highest point out of the way first thing and down hill,sort of the rest of the way. Looking at the map which trail do I take ? The first one near artists falls.The second one up from that or all the way to a usable lake.? Which would be the best? Or should I go clockwise. Reading some statements on this forum has pros and cons to both.Not sure what to do. Thanks for any help with this one.

  • #2
    We hiked these two in winter. ‘chose to go up over Bear Den on the way in, coming out after Nipple Top , giving us easier road surface in the dark, late in the day when we were tired and on our way out. Still a long slog on that lake road—did I mention I really dislike the Lake Road?
    46/46, 13/46w "I only went out for a walk, and concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." John Muir

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    • #3
      I think most people prefer to go up Elk Pass to Nippletop, rather than down it. I don't have the map in front of me, but when I did it, I went all the way in to the lake and up that trail so I could get a look at Indian Head. That trail up to Indian Head was kind of steep. I like going to the farthest point first and when I'm coming back I know each step is bringing me closer to the end. There are ups and downs along the way to Dial, but going this way, with the sun up, had me really appreciating the damage from the forest fire when I was passing through the burn on Noonmark.

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      • #4
        If I go all the way to the lake does that trail take me to Indian head or could I bypass it?

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        • #5
          Good discussion here:
          https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...ppletop-advice

          Please be sure to get a map before setting out.

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          • #6
            I second Gebby on the counter-clockwise loop. Take the lake Road to the Gill Brook "cutoff" trail, follow signs to Elk Pass and up to summit Nipple first. Then follow the seemingly long but manageable Leach trail back over Dial, Bear Den and the shoulder of Noonmark (Beautiful Views of the Great Range coming back down). I've done this hike in the summer (clockwise) and in the winter (counter-clockwise) and I much prefer the counter-clockwise route by far. Have fun...the views from Nippletop are pretty spectacular!
            Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul!

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            • AvalanchePass
              AvalanchePass commented
              Editing a comment
              Taking the earlier Gill Brook trail as opposed to the Gill Brook Cuttoff provides views of some nice cascades including Artists Falls. We prefer to get off the road as soon as possible.

            • Hoser
              Hoser commented
              Editing a comment
              This. Agree with APass. Take the earlier Gill Brook trail. Its spectacular. Save the GB cutoff for when you do Colvin and Blake, also Fish Hawk Cliffs and Indian Head Cliff for the second trip, Colvin and Blake.

          • #7
            What gebby and lemonhead said. I loved this hike in the summer counterclockwise (had done the leach trail clockwise up over the burn and bearden to dial then back down in the winter), road is a great warm up for a few miles to whatever trail you take to elk pass (I vote for the first one hugging the brook if you haven't done it yet). If you haven't been to colvin and blake yet maybe save fish hawk cliffs and indian head for then. After your road warm up you get a lot your ele gain done up to elk pass and the climb right up to nip for your payoff views, then its a relative cruise down to dial. Some views on that rock there with some up and down over bearden to the noonmark shoulder burn with those amazing views, definitely don't skip the side trail onto the bare rocks, as I might have said in the other post that's one of my favorite spots, I was wandering around there for awhile on the tail end of my summer hike and found a comfortable enough rock area shaped like a lounger and I had even dozed off looking at the great range. After that its just a jog down the leach trail to the short road walk back to car.
            35er #3133
            46er

            "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"
            Zarathustra

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            • #8
              I have done this hike in both directions several times. It's a great hike either way and from my experiences, a little shorter in duration than the Colvin & Blake hike. If you choose to take the side trail to Indian Head on Sunday, be prepared for lots of company. The Gill Brook Trail is pretty but it's slower than you might think compared to the boring road walk. Incidentally, I have found the late afternoon descent on the Leach Trail when doing the trail ccw to be a bit of a pain at this time of year because of the dappled sunlight. It's pretty dark in there although there are much worse places to have a problem with footing.The trail from Elk Pass is certainly steeper but it's a bit more open and you are descending it earlier in the day if you do the loop in a cw direction. Have a great day!
              Orono Stewie

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              • #9
                I did it clockwise and would do it again clockwise because going straight up is just hard on the lungs and heart for me. Going up is more gradual clockwise.

                I don't mind crazy things so the drop into Elk Pass is good for me.
                Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
                ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

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                • #10
                  So if I do it counter clockwise do I take the gill Brooke cut off or go all the way to the end of the road?

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                  • #11
                    Really doesn’t matter which way you go. There is no bad way and many of us have enjoyed it in both directions over time.
                    "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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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Ud56 View Post
                      So if I do it counter clockwise do I take the gill Brooke cut off or go all the way to the end of the road?
                      The gill brook cutoff would be your shortest option

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                      • Eddie Fournier
                        Eddie Fournier commented
                        Editing a comment
                        it's also one of favorite sections of trail - it's magnificent

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Ud56 View Post
                      So if I do it counter clockwise do I take the gill Brooke cut off or go all the way to the end of the road?
                      Here is a map you will find helpful. Change the layer to OSM in the top right corner.

                      Please be sure to have a complete map with you when hiking.

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                      • #14
                        Always carry a map and compass

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