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Marshall and Winter/Spring planning

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  • Marshall and Winter/Spring planning

    Hi All,

    I've enjoyed a fantastic Summer and Fall grabbing 33 Peaks since August. (Rare circumstances allowed me to spend more time doing the things I enjoy than at any time in the last 40 years). I had anticipated taking the winter off as I was not properly equipped for the task. But...I got some experience with spikes on Ester/Whiteface about seven weeks ago and only a little experience with new snowshoes on Colden four weeks ago. And now I have all needed gear.

    Now...I've got the itch.

    I don't necessarily need to knock off any of my remaining 13 peaks, but I need to get back in the woods, and it would be nice to grab a few over the next few months.

    Here's my remaining 7 or 8 days I'm trying to plan for.

    1. Cliff/Redfield
    2. Giant/RPR
    3. Big Slide
    4. Seymour
    5. Allen
    6. Long day in the Dixes
    7. Marshall

    I was trying to save Giant/RPR or Big Slide for my 46th.

    Hike number 1, 4(with gate closed), 5, and 6 are obviously all long days with snow and short days.

    So...Marshall, or something else. (fire towers, NH, ???)

    So, would anyone want to give me a little insight into Marshall in winter conditions.

    I'm assuming snowshoes the whole hike.

    I'm looking at three routes, so if anyone would like to comment, I would appreciate it.

    Upper Works, Calamity Brook
    Loj, via Indian Pass
    Loj, via Avalanche Pass

    BTW, no 4WD, so starting at Loj might be best depending on road conditions.

    Thanks to everyone in advance,


  • #2
    If you live south of the ADKs go to Marshall from Upper Works. However if you can wait till the Lakes Avalanche / Colden are frozen coming in from the Loj is very rewarding. I’d not worry about getting to the Loj as you arrive via Rt 73 that is well traveled, being near Lake Placid. If you are staying in Placid or coming from the N go via the Loj. Save Indian Pass route for a second trip to Marshall.

    Someone else might have info on Lakes or DEC backcountry conditions might too. I was at a lake this weekend but went around on ice but very near land rather than cut directly across. I was with a group and none wanted to chance getting too far from shore.
    Last edited by Hear the Footsteps; 12-12-2019, 08:51 AM.


    • #3
      Like Hear the Footsteps said, don't trust the ice yet but eventually it will hold a full logging truck. On the ice expect for severe wind/chill. Personally I'd do the Dixes in a couple trips. Routes there are many and the scenery awesome and more enjoyed...why kill yourself and not enjoy it? Seymour is doable but the road walk can be long. Spend a night in a leanto and do Cliff/Redfield and you won't regret it...if prepared.


      • #4
        During yesterday's Footstuff Podcast, Wade (caretaker at the Colden outpost) mentioned he went over Lake Colden a few times already (but he also mentioned falling in the Opalescent). Still, it is very early in the season to be trusting ice without a thorough check.


        • #5
          Build a time machine and go back in time and get these done first!
          Leave No Trace!


          • #6
            You may want to consider waiting until a little later into the winter season to tag Seymour, Allen, and Cliff/Redfield. Those are four peaks that you really don't want to be breaking snow on (well, I sure wouldn't anyway), and once there's some substantial accumulation and snowpack on the trails it'll help shorten the mileage some. IMO winter hiking conditions reach their peak in late Feb to early March, but YMMV.

            Marshall is two entirely different peaks depending on which side you approach it from. From the L. Colden side up the Herbert Brook its generally straight forward but you can expect to find a spider web of dead end "oops" trails just before you make your turn from the drainage towards the summit. Just pay attention to where you are. From the Indian Brook>Cold Brook Pass side its much more interesting but you may find yourself breaking some trail and working with the "rule of up" as often as not. If the descent from the plane crash site down towards L. Colden is not broken out and has deep snow in it, I'd steer clear of it.
            My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.


            • Eddie Fournier
              Eddie Fournier commented
              Editing a comment
              Did I see somewhere that there is a plan to re-officialize the Cold Brook trail or did I dream that?

            • FlyFishingandBeer
              FlyFishingandBeer commented
              Editing a comment
              Eddie Fournier I haven't seen that but its possible, and probably a good idea given the amount of foot traffic it receives.
              IMO there's two ways to keep trails from becoming a mess. First is to close it officially and tell people its off limits. This is working well with the Marcy-Gray winter route. People aren't supposed to be on it during the non-snow months, so *most* people don't use it. The other option is to recognize and fortify it against erosion. When done right this is usually going to be the better option.