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Seeking Information: Elk Lake - Marcy Trail to Panther Gorge

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  • Seeking Information: Elk Lake - Marcy Trail to Panther Gorge

    I've long wanted to attempt this trip but would like feedback on this potential 2-night plan for President's Day weekend with a group of 3-4. Day 1: Elk Lake - Marcy Trail to Panther Gorge lean-to, Day 2: Haystack or Marcy/Skylight, Day 3: Hike back out. Limited trip reports indicate that it's a challenge, and 've read the route descriptions and reviewed the topo, so I know those details. But it's rarely traveled, so I was wondering if anyone had first-person input, or better, recent intel on the trail. Thanks for any thoughts folks might have!
    46W

  • #2
    I never did the whole trail but 1. was camped in the leanto one time [of many] and a man showed up and he had just done the trail, no big deal one might say except, it was his first hike ever!.So the trail is quite doable tho long.
    I've left the leanto and climbed Haystack with a full pack but definitely would not advise it in the winter, its what one might call STEEP , go do Skylight and/or Marcy instead. Don't quote me but the Haystack trail from the leanto rises something like 1600ft in 3/4mile. Covered in ice and maybe deep snow it is likely quite dangerous and will be unforgiving.
    Whatever you folks do please post here afterwards. I'd love reading the adventure and seeing the photos.

    Comment


    • Stranger
      Stranger commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for your input. For this sort of trip, we generally bring a daypack along for the climb-day, so we'd be ascending without the full packs and of course with appropriate traction and gear (crampons/axes). But the ice on such a steep ascent was a definite concern, so thanks for confirming. I'll certainly post whatever we end up doing!

  • #3
    While it hasn't been a particularly snowy winter, this trail is rarely hiked in winter, so you could be looking at many miles of trailbreaking through an entire winter's accumulation of snow. There have been several thaws that may have solidified the base, but that's not a given, so plan accordingly.

    Comment


    • Stranger
      Stranger commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you very much, sir. And yes, the relative dearth of snow was one of the reasons I was considering this route, although I still fully expect to be breaking a lot of trail. Thanks again for your reply!

  • #4
    If you are going to do Haystack from the leanto area you might bring along a rope, sleeping bag and a stove...just in case. When you are back there you are a long way from help that can't come quick. That said, its an awesome and beautiful area. Also you might not be able to see the trail let alone follow it.

    Comment


    • #5
      This will be an awesome trip. I have done it twice in the summer.

      Nine miles of virgin untracked snow is a long way. If something bad happens and you are delayed at the leanto and you get a heavy snow there would be a lot of breaking trail with full packs just to get back to your car. I would bring an extra night's dinner.

      The trail up to Haystack is super steep. Part of it was almost a rock climb. Getting down could be entertaining.

      The trail up to the four corners is easy. I have only done the trail to Marcy going down in the summer. I remember it as exposed and rocky. I don't think it is too hard in the winter.
      Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
      ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

      Comment


      • Stranger
        Stranger commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the insights. As I said, we're still discussing and may opt for something else, but all this feedback is helpful. Extra food is certainly a good recommendation. Thanks again!
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