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  • High Peaks Spreadsheet

    My fiancee and I are planning on trying to do all 46 peaks after getting engaged on the top of Whiteface mountain.

    With a lot of time to obsess over the challenge before we can get up there, I put together this spreadsheet based on data I've been able to collect across the internet:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

    The goal was to "rank" each peak, based on total elevation, total gains, trail difficulty, trail distance, trip time, and view score. Basically, score it based on Difficulty to Payoff ratio. Can anybody who has hiked all 46 peaks verify if my data produced something remotely close to what they would have made on their own?

    Feel free to copy this sheet if it is helpful to anyone.

  • #2
    I'm curious how you determined the difficulty, hike time, and view score.

    Also, have you considered combinations of peaks that typically are hiked together? Cascade and Porter for example are usually hiked together, in which case I would assign them the same level of difficulty (assessed for the entire hike instead of each peak).
    ADKHP Wiki

    Comment


    • bruschi
      bruschi commented
      Editing a comment
      I gathered all of the data across the internet, I had considered that some of these will be done together but don't have the data for them done in conjunction.

    • Kyler
      Kyler commented
      Editing a comment
      Research and planning can be half the fun, so I won't offer any peak grouping suggestions unless you'd like. As you are already aware, there are plenty of resources available both on and off line (including the trip reports section on here) where you can start to put together a plan.

      View ratings are pretty subjective and can obviously be effected by the immediate weather and can change over time with vegetation. I'd say most peaks have some sort of a view or at least a view point along the way, but some hikes can be done on a cloudy day without missing too much.

  • #3
    Paging Dunbar !
    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!

    Comment


    • #4
      Hi, my daughter and I are 34/46 and I've noticed a few things that I'll point out.

      Some of those mileages seem off. Also note, that mileage can vary depending on which trail you take and if you pair up peaks.

      Going off that, degree of difficulty depends on those same points (chosen trail (s) & pairings). Example: you have Colvin listed as a 4. Which I would say is a fair ranking if you just hike Colvin... But, you wanna pair Colvin with Blake which considerably increases the degree of difficulty.
      Also, degree of difficulty is subjective. Weather, personal health and other factors can make an easy hike hard. Conversely, perfect weather and trail conditions can make a hard hike seem easier.

      On the subject of time, I hike with a little girl. Some of those times seem way off or they're worst case scenario. Example: we did Donalson, Emmons and Seward together. I think we did them in 12-13 hours. That's a big difference from 18 hours.
      Also on that note, we freaking loved the Sewards.

      Which leads me to say that view rankings are subjective. Many people detest the views from peaks like Street and the Sewards. I quite enjoy them. I wouldn't rank them 10s or anything like that. I found them to be rather pleasant.

      The best part of the challenge is getting out there, hiking and enjoying yourself. In the process you'll get firsthand experience and be able to make your lists based on what you've learned.

      Enjoy the challenge!

      Comment


      • bruschi
        bruschi commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, I figured that these numbers may be far off from reality. Glad to know that even with a young girl these estimated times are very generous.

        Appreciate the info, and good luck finishing out your 46!

    • #5
      Stay in an occasional lean-to overnight and you will cut actual climb times a great deal AND get to actually experience the Adirondacks.

      Comment


      • bruschi
        bruschi commented
        Editing a comment
        I would love too but my lady is a bit concerned about all of the bears that you seem to have in the park. I know that they are mostly harmless, but she seems uneasy about the idea.

      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        bruschi Don't sweat the bears. Yes, there have been nuisance bears in the past but they are generally opportunity pests. Since most of the high peaks wilderness requires the use of bear canisters, follow that guideline and you'll be fine. Don't store or prepare food in the lean-to or right next to your tent. Keep your food and fun smelling items in a bear canister stashed a little ways away from where you sleep and its extremely unlikely that you'll have any issues with Yogi or his cousins. You're more likely to have smaller critters like mice, chipmunks, or martens searching for your goodies than you are to even see a bear. Out of three rounds of the 46 I've only actually seen one bear in the peaks and it was in the middle of the night while returning from a sunset hike deep in the wilderness. He wasn't after anyone's food and was actively trying to avoid the nearby camping area.

      • bikerhiker
        bikerhiker commented
        Editing a comment
        What FFandB said.
        My girlfriend was strongly concerned about the bears before her first overnight, as was I initially when I started going solo overnights, and while we haven't tried a lean-to yet, I think the tent gives us some feeling of security, as minimal as it is maybe its some separation from the environment, and that's not just from bears but the small animals/insects/etc. But bears want food, not interaction with humans...so
        we always use a bearcan for anything the bears might be interested in (food/toiletries/etc), always dropped a good walk away from camp and following "bearmuda triangle", and I purposely pick camping sites far away from the main "party" areas of lake colden and marcy dam, where i'm guessing the bears are more intrigued.
        Never had a bear encounter at night, don't think my bearcan has ever been moved, and the only really close bear encounter I had in the adk was at 930am while on trail between lakes av and colden.

    • #6
      Originally posted by Learning The Trails View Post
      On the subject of time, I hike with a little girl. Some of those times seem way off or they're worst case scenario. Example: we did Donalson, Emmons and Seward together. I think we did them in 12-13 hours. That's a big difference from 18 hours.
      Also on that note, we freaking loved the Sewards.
      I'll take a stab and say the 18 hours for Emmons came from this... https://www.adirondack.net/hiking/high-peaks/
      It's been out there for years and it scared the bejesus out of me when I first started hiking in the High Peaks. I couldn't imagine anybody went on 18 hour hikes! I'll second Learning The Trails estimate... nobody is spending 18 hours on Emmons. If the rest of the estimates are from the link I just posted then you need to rework every one. The info is BAD.

      And after a quick scan of some of the ascent figures I have to ask if you used all the data off the adirondack.net chart for that as well. That info is just as bad as the time estimates. For example, you have Colvin as being 2130'. Close enough if you started at the end of Lake Road but the hike starts from the AMR parking area on Rte 73. That walk of Lake Road adds 700-800 feet of ele gain to getting to Colvin. But you have Sawteeth at 2975' of ele gain which does account for the walk of Lake Road. You need to get the mileage and ele gains off some mapping sotfware like caltopo.com to get a better ballpark estimates. And there is a huge difference between ascent and cumulative elevation gain for a hike. Often ascent figures are created by subtracting the trailhead elevation from the summit elevation. Sound reasonable enough but that doesn't account for all the ups and downs along the way which could add significant elevation gain to the day. There are examples of this all over the Adirondacks. Being ready for a 2500' ele gain day and having it be 3500' or 4000' after a crapload of ups and downs will destroy you while on the trails.

      As for views, difficulty, etc I will echo Learning The Trails again. It's all subjective and will vary from person to person and day to day. That being said, Haystack is obviously harder than Cascade no matter the day. Skylight is harder than Big Slide. I doubt you'd get an argument there. But everything inbetween is dependent on route.

      For your own planning purposes I would do the following... since your plan is to do all 46... assume your next hike will be the hardest hike you've ever taken and plan accordingly. Don't underestimate any of them, even the "easy" ones. It's all relative and factors beyond your control may impact how you perceive the day. If you plan for a hard day and it ends up being easy for you then great! That's a win. But if you plan for an easy day and the hike totally kicks your butt then you unwittingly set yourself up for a long, hard day and disappointment. I would go into every High Peaks hike with the mindset of difficult, and without rankings, so that you just experience the mountain(s) for what they are that day for you. Expecting something different and not getting it can be disheartening.

      Oh... and welcome to the forum. Good luck on your 46er quest. Post questions when you have them. Everybody here is more than happy to help.
      Last edited by Makwa; 03-09-2020, 07:33 PM.

      Comment


      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Yury that is the list I just linked to above and pointed out was garbage. Other than the names and elevations of the mountains the list is riddled with inaccuracies and bad information.

      • Yury
        Yury commented
        Editing a comment
        Makwa, I used https://www.adirondack.net/hiking/high-peaks/ all the time for QUALITATIVE comparison of efforts on one hike over another hike.
        If adirondack.net is saying that hike A is harder than hike B, in 90% of all the cases I would have the same opinion.

        I have not found another more reputable list of ranking of ADK peaks efforts.

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Sorry. When I saw "golden standard" I must have skipped right past "qualitative". Not to belabor this much longer but besides Tabletop's difficulty rating being horribly wrong...

        * Street or Nye harder than Marcy or Algonquin? Equal to Couchie? It's already lost me there.
        * Dial more difficult than Blake?
        * Wright equal to Giant?
        * Phelps equal to RPR?
        * The route listed for Santanoni is up/down from Bradley Pond. Santa is rated a 5. Panther is a 6. Panther is more difficult than Santa on this approach?
        * I would argue with the three Sewards being harder than the three Santas on the list. I might get disagreement but I don't think that's a slam dunk.

        That's about 10 minutes worth of looking at the list. I'm confident there are more examples.

        The whole chart is based on bad mileage and ele gain info so why would you believe any of the rest of it? The thing was written so long along that they call the herdpath to Street & Nye "new" so I'm guessing any ratings for herdpaths are gonna be off given how well defined and heavily traveled they all have been since this was written. The routes are listed only if you click on the mountain and lots of that info is bad as well. For example... "Saddleback Mountain is to the southwest of Basin Mountain and to the east of Gothics Mountain." Were they looking at the map upside down when they wrote this? I won't even list all of the typos and incorrect place names that make deciphering this even more confusing.

        This is nothing personal @Yury... my quarrel is with Adirondack.net having this list up for well over a decade and it being an absolute mess. The amount of bad info, both qualitative and quantitative, is alarming. I wonder how many people have come across this list over the years and were totally scared off of even attempting some of these hikes? I have three giant burrs under my saddle when it comes to Adirondack hiking... the "overuse" propaganda campaign, a certain local town who fails to timely administer their hiking challenge, and the Adirondack.net list.
        Last edited by Makwa; 03-11-2020, 12:54 PM.

    • #7
      LOVE
      Go for it
      Did you do a spread sheet for you relation / engagement ?
      Jump in and cast your fate on the universe
      do your research on gear / fitness
      Find out what you need to bring to the mountains
      climb and be brutally honest with each other and change and grow
      embrace. live, love, climb and find LIFE

      Comment


      • #8
        I've been using this formula grabbed from a hiking site to estimate my times:
        Standard hiking speed : 2 mph + .5 hrs/1000' of elevation

        It's surprisingly close to my experienced times, except on long hikes (10+ hrs) where I tend to go slower. Also, I'm faster than the formula on flat terrain but slower on very steep terrain. The formula also doesn't account for steep descents, which take more time than going over flat terrain (at least for me).

        Comment


        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          And don't forget to add in all the time you might spend on a summit or stopped along the way. The calculation works just fine if you're moving the entire day but doesn't factor in long stops. An 8-hour "hike" might be a 9-10 hour "day" once you factor in bathroom stops, breaks, summit time, etc.

        • bruschi
          bruschi commented
          Editing a comment
          That's very useful, thank you! I'll take that formula into consideration.

      • #9
        Any well adjusted moderately intelligent person with a normal amount of physical strength and stamina can complete the 46 peaks. You can go with the ADK or even get a guide. You can buy all the day hiking gear you need at Dicks sporting goods. The best advice you can find is found here. These people are really nice and they know their stuff. Follow their advice and you can't miss. When you ask advice remind them you are a newbie. Some of these people are hiking demons and can go all day at quite a pace.

        My son is doing the 46 peaks so I am hiking them with him and we are up to 32.

        Here is my advice. My son is a geology major so as he learns more we learn more on each hike. He teaches me about the rocks. It makes hiking even more fun.

        I have taken on the task of learning about forests and trees. I am looking forward to this task. I got books out of the library and learning on the web.

        It makes it more fun then just slogging through the woods.

        Maybe you could learn about the history of the Adirondacks.

        And start listening to the footstuff podcast.



        Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
        ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

        Comment


        • bruschi
          bruschi commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the footstuff recommendation, I already listened to the 46 of 46 but it went too quick. I'll definitely give that a try! As for the history I've watched the 46ers documentary, super interested in learning more.

      • #10
        Welcome to the forum, are you Tedy? (If yes i've been a pats fan my whole life and a huge 54 fan, if not...nevermind.) Congrats on the engagement, if I do the deed again im sure I would pop it on a mountaintop too.
        Good notes and thoughts on here already, like stated some mileages on the chart are off, and you will be doing groupings.
        I like Eddie's forumula and it seems like a nice safe estimate to start out. i've been some of my hikes in my head in that formula and recently maybe my longer harder ones are in that range, but the shorter less technical hikes are definitely quicker, but looks fair starting out.
        I definitely recommend breaking up the longer hikes into overnights or even longer, whether it be lean-to or tent/hammock camping, for several reasons. Obviously it breaks up the mileage, but mainly like stated above you will really get to slow down and enjoy the Adirondacks, all the different areas tucked into and around the high peaks, and not just peakbag. Me and my girlfriend have done some long dayhikes together but also had quite a few great backcountry camping weekends in the mountains the last two years, and I think we are still together. Some of the 46 that are camped: sewards/santas/sky and gray/cliff and red/dix range/upper great range/etc. A lot of hikers on here can and have dayhiked all 46, but as a couple where one might be faster than the other (either in ground covered or technical areas) it is a lot better to not expect to accomplish so much mileage and terrain in one day. While on some hikes (usually the shorter ones) I like to go light and challenge myself and push it to really see where I'm at, and my girlfriend is the same way, that could be a recipe for a quiet or tense car ride home on some of the tougher ones where you guys aren't on the same wavelength or conditioning. Camping out you guys will get some great memories from dinner and breakfast on the high lakes and rivers, the sunsets and sunrises.
        Also, when starting out remember it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Start out with 2 or 3 liters water/electrolytes each as well as a filter/tablets, and enough food, and then start decreasing the amounts you start out with as you can. Raingear especially if its in the forecast. Map and compass even if staying on trails all day. Respect mother nature, and don't underestimate what she is capable of. Yes thousands have completed the 46, but there are also hikers rescued off of the shortest hikes.
        Don't eat the salamanders.
        When researching a hike definitely look at Caltopo/OpenStreetMap.
        Use the search feature on here when you have a question, but don't be afraid to start a new thread in asking, as well as using a private message to persons on here either.
        35er #3133
        46er #11779

        "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"
        Zarathustra

        Comment


        • bruschi
          bruschi commented
          Editing a comment
          Awesome that's all great advice! Yes the name bruschi does come from Tedy bruschi though I am not the legend himself.

      • #11
        I'm not a fan of difficulty rankings and tend to find them meaningless. For example Blake feels very tedious and therefore a "difficult" hike, especially if conditions aren't completely dry. On the other hand I think Tabletop is a very "easy" peak to ascend because there's really nothing technical about it and the elevation gain feels mild throughout the hike. The Seward range can either be a nice stroll through a park or a grueling slog up steep slabs and through deep mud depending on where you start from, etc, etc. Aside from that, the spreadsheet looks like a fun organizational tool. A couple questions:

        Have you climbed any of these peaks yet, and if so, which one(s)?

        When do you plan to start?

        How far do you need to travel to get to each respective trailhead? This is going to play a big role in each hike.

        What's your combined fitness level? You're time is going to be based on your group's slowest person's pace across the steepest terrain.

        Are you familiar with the ADK back country and High Peaks wilderness usage regulations?

        Can you navigate by map and compass rather than simply following a trail if necessary?

        Here's a good tool for determining distances accurately. Use the Measure Distance tool (it'll stick to the trails if you zoom in a little and move the cursor carefully) to determine actual trip lengths. Some of your mileages are a little wonky.

        https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.1...456&z=13&b=mbt

        Also, stay away from AllTrails and cell phone navigation in general. Both are incredibly unreliable in the High Peaks.

        Lastly, have fun and don't try to make this a task-oriented, high pressure peak bagging mission. You're going to grow immensely as a couple throughout this process, so don't lose sight of why you're starting it to begin with.

        Oh, welcome to the Forum! This is absolutely hands down the best resource available for any questions or concerns about anything having to do with the High Peaks. Never be afraid to ask a question or just post some general ideas.
        My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

        Comment


        • FlyFishingandBeer
          FlyFishingandBeer commented
          Editing a comment
          Makwa that's a good point. The profile tool is super helpful.

          Edit: more to your point, I just ran the profile for Allen. OP has Allen as 16.2 miles with 2540ft of ascent. The profile tool has Allen at 17.94 miles with 3226ft of total ascent, which is very close to my Fenix 5X data from my last hike.

        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes... the Allen figures are horrible. One, the ele gain is just for the herdpath section of the hike. No accounting for the rest of the walk in/out. But the mileage is an estimate based on the entire hike from trailhead to summit and back. I know the Adirondack.net chart is at least 11 years old at this point, possibly much older. That mileage figure may have been figured by hand off the topo map which may have been a decent guess at the time. That chart really does a disservice to people looking for good information.

          One other quickie. The figures for Porter are from where? The Garden? I'd say 99% of first-timers on Porter would be going from Cascade. And now that the trail/easement is closed going through private property/ over Little Porter the data is absolutely useless.

        • bruschi
          bruschi commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the welcome, everyone here is super helpful and friendly so far. I can tell it's a great community.

          I've never done one of these peaks before, but I did Mansfield in VT and Panther in the catskills. I know all of these are more challenging than those, so I'm looking forward to pushing myself.

          Good advice on having fun, that's what it's all about anyway, right?

      • #12
        Wow I wasn't expecting so many thoughtful and helpful responses. I can tell this community is awesome and going to be a great resource.

        A little more about the proposal backstory since some of you asked –

        I had a trip booked for Yosemite early in the summer of 2019 where I was going to propose on top of half dome. 2 days before we get on the plane my dad suffered a sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest. Dad's made a full recovery (miraculously), and a few months later since we had to cancel I decided we would try and stay up in the ADK as we'd never been but heard good things.

        We had planned to hike whiteface but I was terribly sick (probably from all of the hospital visits) so we ended up driving up to the top. Popped the question up there and she said yes, snot and all!

        It's funny how things work out. Maybe we were never meant to take that trip to Yosemite in the first place. And if we did, we would have never discovered this playground in the East that you guys call home. My dad is the one who made me love hiking and the outdoors, and somehow he led me to our next big challenge in life (besides marriage).

        Thanks again, everyone. Look forward to learning from you all.

        Comment


        • #13
          Something else worth mentioning is that instead of following a matrix for hiking the peaks based on what can often be arbitrary and subjective online chatter-based data, maybe try breaking the peaks down into groupings based on their geographic locations.

          Here’s some common groupings in a somewhat predictable order that might be helpful, and you can certainly tweak this list to your specific goals and ability. Others may want to chime in as well.

          - Cascade/porter
          - Street/Nye
          - Giant/Rocky Peak Ridge (RPR)
          - Phelps/Tabletop (TT)
          - Wright/Algonquin/Iroquois
          - Sawteeth/Gothics/Armstrong
          - Upper Wolfjaw/Lower Wolfjaw
          - Colvin/Blake
          - Nippletop (NT)/Dial
          - Marcy/Skylight/Gray
          - Seward/Donaldson/Emmons
          - Cliff/Redfield
          - Macomb/S. Dix/Grace/Hough
          - Whiteface/Esther
          - Panther/Couchsachraga (Couch)/Santanoni
          Etc, etc.

          You get the idea. Its also fun to try to make loops out of these hikes where connecting trails are available. So for example instead of tagging NT/Dial as an out and back, try ascending the Gill Brook trail up to Elk Pass and then descending via the HG Leach trail. Or instead of simply hiking up to Big Slide via The Brothers and returning the same way, try descending via the Slide Brook trail into Johns Brook Valley, or continuing over to Yard Mountain before descending. Traverses can also be strewn together to complete whole ranges or multiple peaks. For Example if you have two cars or a pair of stashed bikes, Giant/RPR from Rt. 73 over to Rt. 9 is another gorgeous hike.

          Going back to difficulty again, it’s a very tough metric for measuring climability simply because there’s too many variables involved. There are some sections of trails that I find to be “hard” based on slope angle or length, whereas others that may pose some inherent risk are actually fun. You’ll hear about the “Saddleback Cliffs” a lot, which is a misnomer because the Range Trail doesn’t actually touch Saddlebacks cliffs. It ascends (or descends) a section of exposed rocks made up of connecting ledges and slabs that thousands of people hike along every year without incident. On the other hand the ascent up the relatively tame Marble Mountain route to Whiteface/Esther is a mean SOB due to the fact that its unrelenting for .6 of a mile. IIRC this seemingly harmless stretch of trail was the site of a severe head injury within the past two year. The same goes for Cascade, which is supposed to be the “easy” peak. Yet every year it seems to be the scene of at least one Search and Rescue operation, at least one of which was fatal in recent history. You have to be your own guide as to what constitutes difficulty. Every peak can be tough or even deadly under the right circumstances, and yet every peak also welcomes numerous families with young children each year.

          Also, I strongly recommend using the actual High Peaks map rather than the Nat Geo version. Its more accurate and is better about displaying herd paths and actual camping/lean-to locations. https://www.adk.org/product/high-pea...ack-trail-map/

          Additionally, if you ever have questions about gear, whether its about boots, shoes, packs, water storage/filtration, always feel free to ask. This group can spend days debating the pros and cons of GTX vs breathability, or trail runners vs. hiking boots, or hammocks vs tents… the list goes on.
          My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

          Comment


          • #14
            Originally posted by bruschi View Post
            Wow I wasn't expecting so many thoughtful and helpful responses. I can tell this community is awesome and going to be a great resource.
            You should have been here a few years ago, before fbook took over the internet, it was even greater!

            I can see you've done a lot of work, and my summoning of Dunbar was not really on point. Welcome, and FWIW, Laurie Rankin and I got married on Whiteface, and I finished my first round there!

            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!

            Comment


            • #15
              Originally posted by Bunchberry View Post
              Any well adjusted moderately intelligent person with a normal amount of physical strength and stamina can complete the 46 peaks.
              Bunchberry, you are a pessimist.

              In reality a social misfit with below average intelligence with a physical strength and stamina below average can complete the 46 peaks.
              Just ask me how I know this. :(

              BTW, the only summit that is definitely off is Tabletop. It's easier than Marcy and need just one more extra hour as compared to Phelps (without any grouping).

              Comment


              • Makwa
                Makwa commented
                Editing a comment
                Oh crap... FlyFishingandBeer is right... my tirades are not an attack on bruschi. My issue is with Adirondack.net and their spreading of bad info.

              • bruschi
                bruschi commented
                Editing a comment
                Makwa FlyFishingandBeer Oh don't worry, I know! This is exactly what I wanted – you guys to tell me all of my data was crap Much better than going on assuming I have good data. This was the entire point of this thread, so don't relent! Let me have it!

              • Yury
                Yury commented
                Editing a comment
                bruschi, you data is not crap.
                It's a good starting point.
                Go for it using your data as guidance.
                It's not bad if you finish a hike in 12 hours when expecting finishing in 17 hours.
                Opposite case is much worse.
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