Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Great Range Traverse + Sawteeth 02.16.13

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Great Range Traverse + Sawteeth 02.16.13

    So I figured since I so seldom take the time to post a trip report, if I'm going to do it I might as well post about a good one.


    I've been toying with the idea for 2, maybe 3 seasons now to attempt a 1-day winter traverse of the Great Range, at least the high peaks (I think there is or at some point used to be some debate as to what peaks constitute the great range, I mean from Haystack to LWJ).

    Other that being physically/mentally prepared for the task, I've been waiting for that perfect "alignment of planets" where everything was right. Unexpected things can happen, so why make it harder on myself forcing the trip at the wrong time. Namely I wanted good, calm weather. It's amazing how much a nice day can improve my mood, and to some extent my pace. And other factors like getting enough sleep the night before, early start, etc.


    Saturday was pretty darn close to what I was waiting for. Some of the most beautiful weather I've had in the 'dacks, mild temps and almost no wind. Only partly cloudy with great views. Despite a poor night's sleep I was on the trail at the Garden around 730 (would have been nice to start an hour or more earlier but I had a crappy drive with a lot of traffic). Cruised along the Phelps trail, gradually shedding layers as the sun came into view and made things surprisingly warm. Just before Little Haystack I ran into a pair of guys and a separate solo backpacker who had been breaking trail from Phelps. One of the guys and myself continued on to the summit and got there around noon, his buddy was a few minutes behind so I left him there and wished them luck. As expected most of the snow was blown off Haystack leaving just patches of thin snow/ice and bare rock. Apparently all of these fellows were heading back to the Garden from here so I had to break trail solo on to Basin and Saddleback. Just before starting up Saddleback though I passed a guy heading the other way who was bare-booting it for some reason But I suppose not everyone follows the rules.


    After the junction between Gothics and Saddleback I noticed at least 2 other people had broken trail before me as it was obvious someone was trying to step in the footprints of the person before them, making yet deeper post holes. Which was frustrating and made the going a tad tougher than just having to break fresh trail myself. While climbing Gothics I kept looking at Pyramid and the steep drop off to Sawteeth. I had toyed with the idea of adding Sawteeth to this trip as I needed it for my winter 46R, but the amount of extra climbing started to sway me to forget about it until another day. Gothics however proved to be an easier climb than I had expected from how people spoke of it in the past, so on the summit I was looking back and forth from Armstrong to Sawteeth to the position of the sun. I could have finished the range in daylight and been descending, but I knew Armstrong and the wolf jaws were not very technical. That and the fact I finally reconnected to trail that was broken by snowshoes instead of post holes. So I made a somewhat risky move I normally don't do and dumped my pack near the junction on Gothics, stuffed some essentials in my pockets and grabbed an extra layer in case the temps dropped, and more or less ran over Pyramid and tagged Sawteeth, then trudged back and returned to the junction in just under 2 hours.

    As I crossed the Gothics summit a second time I admired the sun setting behind Marcy for a few minutes before continuing on. I passed a pair of ice climbers who had just finished summitting, and they asked if the direction I was going went back to the Garden. At least for the moment they too seemed content to leave their snowshoes on their packs as previous parties had that day, normally I wouldn't keep gripping about this but the conditions clearly seemed to dictate needing snowshoes, rules or not. But I digress.


    The rest of the trip was rather uneventful without much to see in the dark. I managed to spot the Armstrong summit marker, as well as the sign indicating the UWJ summit being 20 yards off the main trail. As I descended between the wolf jaws I realized my side trip to Sawteeth and the trail breaking had put me far behind schedule, I was still alright on time but decided to break out a headlamp so I could move faster and also avoid potential injury so my emergency contact didn't chew their finger nails off waiting for me to check in. Normally I much prefer strolling along by the light of the moon on the snow. As I was descending I felt I had a second wind, so despite already having done LWJ a few years ago I decided to head up it real quick, stashing my pack along the way, and was back down to the junction in 35 min.


    At first I continued my normal rapid descent letting gravity take me along, but a little before I got to where the shelter used to be on the north side of the trail the day's work really started to set in on my quads and feet so I slowed down to a moderate pace and steadily continued out back to the Garden.

    Also I tracked my hike with a GPS, kinda fun seeing all the details later.

    http://connect.garmin.com/player/274770021

    These trip reports always come out longer then I intend even though I cut out some details, but this was an extremely rewarding hike and I wanted to share If you feel up to it and want a long day hike this is a lot of fun with nice weather. Maybe it's just me, but coincidentally this is the second time I had a 23ish mile winter hike and I have to say all the strenuous up and down is totally worth it for the great views, it made things MUCH more interesting and fun than 23 miles walking in the woods with 2 view-less summits.


    Can't wait to do Marcy at the Winter Gathering next week and unofficially be a Winter 46R finally Now I gotta get those trip reports in so I can make it official...

  • #2
    Congrats on a great day and good luck on getting your Winter 46 R on Marcy.

    Saturday the weather conditions were perfect. Sunday changed everything with the wind up there
    Not all those who wander are lost....JRR Tolkien

    Comment


    • #3
      What a great trek. I did exactly the same thing in June (without Sawteeth). It must be even more rewarding in winter. Great trip report. Marcy will be anticlimatic for the W46 finish!
      offonadventure.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Great hike especially adding Sawteeth into the mix. Nice trip report and good job.
        What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

        Ralph Waldo Emerson

        Comment


        • #5
          Great trip! I did the same trip in the summer with Marcy and haystack (without saw teeth) and it was one of my favorites ever! Thanks for sharing!
          46/46 #7106W
          46/46W

          "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, is it still my fault?" - my brother in law

          Comment


          • #6
            When you returned to the garden, did you use the bridge near the out post or were you able to cross Johns Brook?
            46/46 #7106W
            46/46W

            "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, is it still my fault?" - my brother in law

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks folks, I had a feeling others had done this at some point as well. Adding Marcy instead of Sawteeth would have definitely been more interesting.


              Originally posted by bstewie View Post
              When you returned to the garden, did you use the bridge near the out post or were you able to cross Johns Brook?


              I used the bridge over to the DEC outpost instead of taking the south side trail. I figured might as well go out the way I came in so I could turn my brain off, it was starting to nag at me to want to sit down.

              Comment


              • #8
                Nice report. Gives me some confidence for my plan of sawteeth to the wolfjaws next month from lake road. Never went over Pyramid, but glad to know it's not too long an ordeal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You must be in some kind of shape tacking on a Gothics-Sawteeth round-trip on a winter range traverse.

                  How was it going down Armstrong in the dark? Or was it completely dark?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Very impressive day and you picked a nice day for a long one. Congrats on this accomplishment and on your Winter 46er coming up quickly!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Congrats on a "Great" hike - it takes me 3 days to do it.
                      "It's a beautiful day!" - Fellow hiker Shin Murnane's (5785W) last words at Marcy Dam 3/28/09
                      46er #5357W
                      Check out my "MOUNTAIN BLOG" http://bvanhise.blogspot.com/ AND ALGonquin Bob's Paddle Guide

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Neil View Post
                        You must be in some kind of shape tacking on a Gothics-Sawteeth round-trip on a winter range traverse.

                        How was it going down Armstrong in the dark? Or was it completely dark?

                        Thanks, I'm sure other people have done it before though. I'm sort of spending a borderline obsessive amount of time training for some long distance mountain bike races this summer. Not a direct carry over to hiking abilities, but it helps ;-)


                        The last traces of sunset were fading on the summit of Armstrong, so it was completely dark before I got to the bottom of the col for UWJ. Wasn't too bad, just a few tricky spots that I took my time on to descend carefully holding on to roots/branches. Crampons would have probably made it easier, but those MSR Ascent Evos have a nice bite when you kick them down ;-)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great Range Traverse + Sawteeth 02.16.13

                          Nice day there Scott.

                          Isn't Mt. Snow part of the Great Range?

                          T.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Rooster Comb and Hedgehog are, but I don't think Mt. Snow is part of the GR.
                            "It's a beautiful day!" - Fellow hiker Shin Murnane's (5785W) last words at Marcy Dam 3/28/09
                            46er #5357W
                            Check out my "MOUNTAIN BLOG" http://bvanhise.blogspot.com/ AND ALGonquin Bob's Paddle Guide

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X