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Panther Gorge Bushwhack 2014 December 27

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  • Panther Gorge Bushwhack 2014 December 27

    Mileage: 19
    Pack Weight: 50-55 lbs.
    Duration: 13.25 hours
    Views: Priceless!

    PHOTOS...more below.
    Exploring Panther Gorge: Previous Bushwhacks, Routes & Reports;
    1. Grand Central Slide (w/Mark Lowell)
    2. Down Grand Central Slide, up the Margin Slide & Skylight Bushwhack (w/Greg Kadlecik)
    3. Marcy to Haystack Bushwhack with Great Range Traverse (Great DeRanged Traverse w/Greg Kadlecik)
    4. Marcy East Face Circumnavigation (w/Ranger Scott van Laer)
    5. Climbing Marcy East Face (new rock climbing route w/Anthony Seidita)
    6. Haystack Slides and Haycrack Route-Day 3 of 4 days in the gorge (w/Anthony Seidita)
    7. Climbing on the Haystack side of the gorge-All Things Holy (w/Adam Crofoot)
    8. Climbing on the Marcy Side & a Pillar on the Haystack Side-Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald & For Whom the Lichen Tolls (w/Adam Crofoot)
    9. Climbing on the Marcy Side-CrazyDog's Halo & Watery Grave (w/Adam Crofoot)


    2014 December 27:
    A day out is all about enjoying the scenery and, during this trip, the challenge of exploring my favorite destination during a different season. With conditions set up for a firm snowpack, a relatively easy approach by winter standards Maxsuffering and I set our sights on bushwhacking into Panther Gorge from the north.

    We began trekking around 5:45 and got to the Haystack/Marcy col somewhere around 10:30 a.m. Trail conditions were bony until we were past Bushnell Falls (the brook was at normal level, but wide open) when they became downright tedious with open running water on some portions. Postholes from both bare-booters and snowshoers told of conditions the day before.

    We reached the height of land and bushwhacked to the Marcy cliffs along the Panther Den Wall as usual. The scenery was beautiful with icicles and frozen flows decorating Haystacks cliffs and ledges. A strong wind blew the low hanging clouds from south to north obscuring the views often and diffusing the early morning sun.

    Lower down, we found the Agharta ice route in fragile condition, it’s first pitch encapsulated in a sheet of ice with water running underneath...not good for climbing (I had some hope that it might be “in” since we had the gear). Continuing along, Adam led a great line side-sloping through the woods and across various gullies until we found a cool one to exit through.
    Beforehand, however, we climbed up a small slide with a large roof...the exact spot that Anthony Seidita and I spent an hour on earlier in the spring. Huge ice formations decorated the sides, a big change from summer/spring conditions.

    A climb up one of the nearby gullies began an ascent up 900 feet of elevation gain. The top gave us a moment to play on a little ice, but quickly led to snowshoe territory once again. Tree growth was surprisingly loose compared to what I’ve experienced on Marcy’s east side in the past...a nice change!

    The bushwhack took a bit over an hour before we found the Marcy Trail well above the Phelps intersection. Snow conditions were wonderful on the trail if not for a few post-holes. The 8.4 mile exit took another four hours. As with all great adventures, we entered and exited under the light of a headlamp!

    In the end the day was about incredible scenery, nature’s ever-changing winter artwork and a killer day in the backcountry.

    Diffused morning light over Haystack from below.

    A thin Agharta ice route.

    Slide top (partway down the gorge on Marcy side.

    Natural sculture.

    Impromptu gully exit.

    Icy exit. Only 900' of bushwhacking above.

    Parting shot under a curtain of icicles.
    Last edited by mudrat; 12-28-2014, 11:26 AM.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

  • #2
    An incredible expedition! I especially love photo 10 looking out of the Gorge -might I say its gorgeous?- and the rock spire in 11 and 12.
    "Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck." -Roald Amundsen

    ADK 46- 35/46


    • #3
      Amazing photos as always, thanks for sharing. Panther gorge is definitly on my list of places to explore someday, all the great reports you've posted over the years have been very inspiring


      • #4

        Great photos! I love Panthergorge, I have been in there several times from Elk lake trailhead. Beautiful place "is the trailhead from Elk lake open in the winter?"


        • #5
          You've been there only 10 times, come on man, be serious, you should go at least 46 times to make it counts!
          8000m 0/14


          • #6
            Thanks all!
            HRS: Isn't that spire cool? I need to find a way to stand atop year
            Fireman: Thank you, glad you enjoyed. I find inspiration there constantly. It never gets old.
            Edb 46r: Elk Lake is open, but add another 2 miles to account for parking at the gate rather than the normal trailhead.
            NP: I know, I'm getting lazy. Does it count that I've been in there for 14 days over the 10 trips? If my knees hold out, I'll get to 46
            May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.



            • #7
              Originally posted by mudrat View Post
              Thanks all!
              HRS: Isn't that spire cool? I need to find a way to stand atop year
              Like Gaston Rébuffat on Aiguille de Roc.....

              BTW the above picture was one that was put in a spaceship by NASA, the idea was that it shows what the human species was capable of...., other pics include one showing a couple kissing, etc, etc.... to my best of knowledge, only 10 pics depicting human life were on board of the spaceship.
              8000m 0/14


              • #8
                Thanks for the great pics. I can no longer look into Panther Gorge without thinking about you guys climbing in there.


                • #9
                  beautiful pics .. Thanks for sharing
                  Not all those who wander are lost....JRR Tolkien