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CroJo -- aka a wet and gloomy day spent slipping on ice -- 1/10/20

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  • Makwa
    commented on 's reply
    Thanks so much Pete.

  • Pete Hogan
    replied
    Makwa,

    I always enjoy your thoughtful and eloquent perspective on hiking and the wonders of the woods. I've been on that slab on Cobble Hill and agree with your assessment of the situation that prompted your decision to safely return another day. So now I can thankfully look forward to reading your next adventure. Good to know you subscribe to Ed Viesturs' basic philosophy, "Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." What a fine lesson to share with your readers!

    Leave a comment:


  • Makwa
    commented on 's reply
    I like the way you think! Don't forget I am the creator and first finisher of the HoJo Challenge so I know the history!
    https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...ishers-5-30-16

    I had done Ho then Jo in that order twice in the past including just last spring so I wanted to change it up a bit. Also, last time was the day I sprained my ankle once I got to the bottom of Jo so maybe mixing up the order would exorcise the bad mojo I was cursed with on my previous hike of HoJo.

    Plus, being winter I didn't want to save Big Crow for last when there is such tight/limited parking on O'Toole Road when Crow Clearing is inaccessible during the winter months.

  • FlyFishingandBeer
    replied
    Great trip report, even if your day didn't go as planned.

    How about HoJoCro? Three peaks, in that order could also allude to Howard Johnson's Croaked. When the Lake Placid Ho-Jo closed, or "croaked" in 2015 it was the third last of its kind in the US.

    Leave a comment:


  • Makwa
    commented on 's reply
    Thanks @KV_Streamer

  • KV Streamer
    replied
    I always appreciate “real deal” trip reports—they help me keep my head on straight when I face similar obstacles, especially in Winter. Your pictures have that erie beauty, another mood of the mountains—thanks for sharing!

    Leave a comment:


  • Makwa
    commented on 's reply
    Smart? Maybe. At least I wasn't proven to be dumb by continuing and getting hurt.
    Last edited by Makwa; 01-11-2020, 10:32 PM.

  • Makwa
    commented on 's reply
    Ha! That makes me feel better.

  • waltonbrook
    replied
    No shame in bailing on Cobble Hill in ice - did it myself last year at exactly the same spot!

    Leave a comment:


  • Bunchberry
    replied
    This is why I bought my Hillsound Trial Crampon Pro's. Much better than microspikes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Old Hunter
    replied
    You were smart to bail. I hope the bruises fade quickly. Nice photos, I really like the first one which reminds me of shots I use to take with a 620 box camera.

    Leave a comment:


  • CroJo -- aka a wet and gloomy day spent slipping on ice -- 1/10/20

    I went hiking on Friday to avoid the rain in the forecast for the weekend. Serves me right. In my effort to avoid rain I ended up getting the wettest I've ever been while winter hiking. Luckily, the temps sat in the 30's all day and I didn't pay dearly for being cold on top of the soaking wet. And the punchline is as I'm writing this I see the forecast has pushed Saturday's rain back into mid-afternoon.

    It was gray, gloomy, and spitting precipitation as I pulled up to the snow plow turnaround on O'Toole Road to start my day. So much for the measly 0.01" per hour that was forecast. Not even sure what the precip was. It wasn't snow, or sleet, or rain... just wet. I was the first and only person there and the first headed to Big Crow in five days. In addition to a wee bit more ele gain and 0.3 miles back/forth to Crow Clearing, I had to put a hair more effort into the ascent due to some very mild trail breaking. That wasn't so awful but all the ice under the snow was. There was a fair amount of crappy footing along the way, especially in the steep section nearing the summit. I took three or four small spills on this short hike.

    The gloomy day continued on the summit. The typical wonderful view was not so great but at least the far off High Peaks were not yet totally socked in. The precip was worse on top and I was getting wet fast so I got moving back downhill quickly. No biggie as the view was not worth staying for anyway. Got back to the car quick enough and cranked the heat to dry myself out. It was unbearably warm in there on the drive to the Loj but by time I arrived everything was dry again so no need for a complete wardrobe change.

    Pulled into the HPIC lots and was one of twelve cars there on the day. That was a lonely feeling. And it was lonelier on my way up Mt. Jo. I was the only person on the mountain. Didn't see another sole until the long/short trail junction near the bottom on my way out. I took the long trail up/down and was assigned mild trail breaking duty again. Lots of ice under the snow. Picked my way slowly up the hill with the roar of the wind on top growing closer and closer as I ascended. Soon enough I was just below the summit staring up at the three staircases that take you up the last steep pitch. They were covered in snow and ice. Mostly ice. The bottom one was easy enough. The middle one was downright scary, and the top one just as bad. Once up them I looked back toward where I came and wondered how I was going to get down. Oooo... foreshadowing... I wonder what happens?

    My stay on the summit was short. All of the far off views were non-existent. There were a few glimpses of a few mountains but the incredible panorama Mt. Jo usually offers was not to be had. Sadly, the best view was of Heart Lake. The wind was whipping but the trees atop the mountain sheltered me from most of it. But I was getting wet again as the precip spit on me as it had earlier in the day. I packed back up in under five minutes and headed down. Once back at the staircases I made a secular appeal to the hiking gods not to fall on my way down. Call it a plea not a prayer. It was momentarily answered as I carefully picked my way down the top staircase but I got my feet tangled in such a way nearing its bottom that I landed on my rear end right at the top of the middle set of stairs. In attempting to stand up I lost balance (large winter packs will sometimes do that to you) and slid down the ice covered rock just to the right of the middle staircase. There was no way to slow myself or stop. It was over too quickly. It was just a large crash down a 10-12 foot stretch of ice; miraculously, without injury. But... OUCH! The third staircase was sidestepped down and I was on my way. In hindsight I should have slid my pack down each staircase before I descended to make myself more agile. A few more spills on the remaining descent and I was back to the parking area.

    The original plan for the day was for Big Crow, Mt Jo, and then Mt Van Hoevenberg. Get it? The day was planned as CroJoHo. You know I love a gimmick hike. But after the first two I was so soaked and battered from falling so many times on the ice that I decided to bail on Mt VanHo. Plus, how many mountains with great views do you want to climb in one day to find no views whatsoever? I'd save VanHo for another time. Instead, I drove into Lake Placid to tackle tiny Cobble Hill. There are two trails, the long and short. I took the short but had forgotten how steep it was nearing the summit. After an easy ascent for the first half mile or so I was standing at the rope that is strung between two trees at the bottom of the steep section and wondering where I would go after that fifteen foot aided stretch (oh... and I wasn't too keen on putting all my weight on a rope of questionable origin/strength). I was looking up at a very steep section of rock covered with solid ice with perhaps an inch of snow atop it. The angle was such that neither snowshoes or microspikes looked up for the job. One misstep could easily have you sliding or tumbling down 50-100 feet of ice-covered rock with no way of self-arresting. I tried a few ways to the left of the rope but quickly got to points where continuing upward looked too dicey. Despite my efforts I couldn't find a safe way up the last 200 vertical feet to the summit. Or at least safe to me at that particular moment. I am not embarrassed to report I actually aborted a tiny little hike like Cobble Hill. Well, perhaps a tad embarrassed. I simply chickened out. Or maybe my decision was colored by the eight or nine spills I had already taken on ice earlier in the day. But it just could be I made a mature decision based on experience. Discretion is the better part of valor, right? Especially in winter. And even more so while solo. And rather than circling around to the other trail on the backside of the hill and tackling it that way I retreated to my car, called it a day, cleaned up, and started home. Tiny Cobble Hill would have to wait for another day. Next time via the long trail.

    Overall, kind of a weird day out. Depressing weather, limited views, eerily quiet everywhere. No other trailheads had much activity. Zero cars at both Giant trailheads to start/end the day, maybe a half dozen at the Ausable Club, three at Cascade, and none at any of the other small lots along Route 73. The absence of people around town felt like I wasn't even supposed to be there. And I fell more in one day than I did all last winter. Be careful out there with the ice. But still had a nice day of some rather benign, low-level Type 2 fun.


    Just a few pics from the day. Unfortunately, I didn't take too many worth sharing...
    Link to album if you can't see them or want a larger view... https://photos.app.goo.gl/zRV2dPaigBmFNdY39

    View from Big Crow southwest toward the High Peaks. Only mountains you can see clearly here are Baxter (left of center in middle ground) and Little Crow (lower right corner)...


    View from Mt Jo looking south toward the High Peaks. Again, not much to see here other than how gloomy the day really was. Part of Phelps is visible to the left and Whales Tail is to the right (above where those two trees kinda frame it)...


    Heart Lake from Mt. Jo...


    And with nothing to take pictures of all day I stopped often to take shots of ice, which otherwise was my nemesis on the day...
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