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Whiteface ~ 27 JAN 13

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  • Whiteface ~ 27 JAN 13

    This TR is as stale as week-old bread, but itís offered in hopes it might spare this weekís trampers a spot of bother, or worse. With precious little snow in the valley I was anticipating more snowcrete.; Was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the ASRC to find a couple of inches of squeaky packed powder on a firm base, a vultureís gourmet meal. This would be my third (and last) time up the T-bar line on Marble Mountain, which I donít relish. But with a late start, 12 degrees F, and a 2 Ĺ month layoff since my dog broke her leg, I opted to shave off a couple of miles and vertical. There were only two cars in the lot at 10:00am, one from Quebec and one NY, so I didnít expect to see many people, but that was not to be the case.

    Snowshoes worked well for the entire hike, and while maybe half the 20 or so folks I encountered were bare-booting it, the trail was a veritable sidewalk all the way to the Wilmington Turn, with only a couple of step over blow downs between the Esther cairn and the ski slopes, one brief sidestep around an uprooted tree, and since some god was looking out for the kittens, not enough postholes to count on one hand. Gaining the trail up the ridge at the Turn was an easy two-handed scramble, but when in a minute or so later the trail emerges onto a ledge some 15 feet or so above the blasted out roadbed, I encountered a thick flow of ice pitching toward the edge. A fall here could be painful or worse. Given the short distance, stopping in time before the drop-off is unlikely. Climbing the arÍte was fantastic, as were the cirque and summit views which I shared with a group who had skied up the road. Didnít dally there long, as it was breezy. To avoid that one icy spot I considered walking the road back to the trail, but having to futz with the footgear overruled the fear factor.

    Just after taking a break on the rock pile at the Wilmington Turn a lone hiker came up, also from the ASRC. I was glad to have someone behind me. He caught up to me again just above the sag between Marble and Lookout, where we chatted a bit. It was nice to meet Phillip from FousDeRando, on the way to finishing his 45th W. Heís planning to finish his first winter round on Mt. Marcy for the Gathering, and Iíll look forward to meeting him again. He kindly asked if I was OK, probably concerned about my slow progress, and after assuring him I was, he departed this time in bare boots.

    I took a short break on Marble to admire the Sentinels in the twilight. After clearing the first pitch of puckerbrush I came upon some curious, fresh tracks that looked like they had been made by a mono ski. After a while I realized they were probably Phillipís, glissading down the lift line, first on one boot then another. There were some that evidenced edging and steering around obstacles, carving turns. Butt sliders move over; thatís alpine style for you.

    Whiteface makes #44 for me toward the first round, nearly 36 years after climbing the Lower Great Range. Looking forward to Tabletop for the Gathering with BillB and the FousDeRando folks, with a finish on Haystack in March from Grace Camp.

  • #2
    Thanks for the nice TR - how exciting you are so close to finishing. Good luck with your final two!
    An OLD man once said ÖThere comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of LIFE, getting back up is LIVING.

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    • #3
      Thanks for sharing, and best wishes for your finish!
      If you can see it, then you start to feel it;
      And the next thing you know, you believe,
      and that's when dreams begin to come true.
      --Tuck and Patti

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      • #4
        Thanks for the kind words, Ladies. Your winter finish on Haystack in 2011 was an inspiration to me, and HOL's Smilebox celebrating your many friends and a love for the mountains brought tears to my eyes. At the rate I'm going I hope to take a page from your book and get that bucket list done by the time I reach 65 too...not that far off.

        And thank you too, Fran. I remember a post of Steve's where he talked about the relative merits of climbing Whiteface from the reservoir, and thought I'd take his advice, since I dislike trudging up Marble Mtn. If I climb Whiteface again, though, I'm taking my canoe, the "civilized" route as the guidebook says. Looking forward to meeting you at the Gathering. Cheers...Brooks

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