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Kilburn-Slide. Final piece of the puzzle.

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  • Kilburn-Slide. Final piece of the puzzle.

    Fast forward from Monument Falls to Kilburn....

    On the top of Kilburn I took special interest on what lay to the south and spent a few minutes carefully relating what I saw to what was printed on my map. My compass bearing was set and I decided to follow it directly, which I did for about 25 feet. My imaginary bearing line down through a shallow col and up to the next bump across a SW slope that looked positively hellacious. I backed up and headed over to the east about 50 feet and found fairly open woods all the way down and then up.

    And so it went down to the next col, which indicated the point where I would veer east and drop straight down 130 meters. This turned out to be slow business due to ancient chunky and jumbled rocks that were hidden by moss. I decided to drop a bit further than planned because the slope and woods were not conducive to easy side-sloping. Once the woods were more to my liking I made a bearing change and integrated the altimeter and compass data into the terrain features.

    I was in the bowels of the Sentinel Range and liking it. Ever since I began whacking the ADK-HH I had the niggling feeling I was only picking at the outer skin of wilderness zones like the Sentinels and Sawtooths. Thereís always a certain buzz I get when I drop into some valley and the peak separates me from the nearest road or trail. Itís hard to get that same feeling nowadays.

    Anyway, I realized this would be a more visually rich hike if there were no leaves on the trees but I had frequent views across to Sentinelís gnarly summit and north ridge. I also scored a great view up to the 3rd bump along the Kil/Slide ridge-line and was glad not to be up there. This view allowed me to confirm my position on the map. Sticking more or less to my bearing I crossed the upper reaches of Clifford Brook but only after traversing an area of very thick blowdown and new growth.

    It was a hot day and I was sweating profusely and drawing heavily on my water hose so I took advantage of two trickling flows to fill my belly with wild water. This water, which comes from high up in the watershed and is filtered by Adirondack duff is probably still loaded with nematode worms, bacteria and virus particles but I was confident that none of these organisms would do me any harm. Slowly but surely I drew closer to the steep base of Slide North. My plan was to curve around it and then make a straight shot for the summit of Slide. This bit was tricky because I had no visual cues other than the slope of the land. I kept ascending then deciding I was too far north still and side-hilling more to the south to easier and more open terrain.

    Then I intersected the drainage from out of the notch between Slide and Slide North and was in business. I walked uphill along the flat and slippery bed for a spell and then I resumed my correct compass bearing. The woods were open and the slope gentle, which was a good thing because the day was hot and I couldnít move quickly or my heart threatened to pound its way out of my chest cavity. I caught a few views over to Slide south at 1050 meters elevation and noted my rate of progress.

    When I was about 50 vertical meters below the top the blowdown began and it was most impressive. I was thinking that anyone who enjoys studying blowdown and trying to move through it would really want to come and check it out. My forward progress slowed right down and I patiently wended my way through it. It was a truly impressive sight to see that much blowdown. It was like a series of unrelated microbursts had hit the mountainís top like bombs going off. There was no logic to it, it was totally random violence. When I was but a stoneís throw from the summit it became so thick that I could barely move through it and then it let up and I arrived and the tiny summit area and noticed the broken off branches, a trail marker and a bit of flagging wrapped tightly around a branch. I was pleased to see that the entire traverse had only taken three and a half hours. The final piece of the Sentinel Four in a day puzzle turned out to be the easiest and the real thing will be a bit easier by avoiding the rough spots.

    On my way down Slide I found a couple of Old Milwaukie beer cans that had been shot up. I wondered why anyone working on their Hundred Highest would bring cheap beer and guns part-way up the mountain and shoot the hell out of the cans. Most of the bushwhackers I know drink micro-brewery beer.
    From the summit to the car at R&R took only 1h40. The east slopes of Slide are completely open and one can make decent progress following the brook out to the Jack Rabbit trail.

  • #2
    Ok so now I have to get back to my beginnings in the lovely Sentinels. Maybe before the snow.
    BTW I am told that peppering Old Milwakee with buckshot makes it taste better🍺🔫
    "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
    Ed Viesturs