Sunday, July 6, 2014

First Ascent Of Tilman’s Arete Was A First For Women

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARock climbing has always been a male-dominated sport, and it was especially so in its early days. But not exclusively so.

The Olympian skier Betty Woolsey climbed in the Adirondacks and Gunks with such pioneers of rock as Jim Goodwin, John Case, and Fritz Wiessner. Circa 1950, she put up the first Adirondack route led by a woman—the Woolsey Route on Rooster Comb Mountain.

The guidebook Adirondack Rock says it’s not exactly clear where Woolsey’s route went, but it most likely followed a corner near a climb established by Wiessner known as Old Route. It is rated 5.8 on the Yosemite Decimal System scale, a tough climb for its time and considerably harder than Old Route.

Trudy Healy was another woman who took to climbing decades ago. She wrote the region’s first climbing guidebook, Climber’s Guide to the Adirondacks, which was published by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1967. According to Adirondack Rock, Healy participated in at least two first ascents in the Adirondacks: Four Plus (rated 5.5) on the Brothers near Keene Valley, in 1965, and a variation (another 5.5) of the Wiessner-Austin Route on Big Slide Mountain in 1970. In both instances, she was following the leader.

It would be a few more decades before an all-female party made a first ascent in the Adirondacks, a route now considered a classic climb.

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Moss Cliff In Wilmington Notch Reopened To Climbers

falconJust in time for the holiday weekend, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is giving rock climbers access again to Moss Cliff, one of the region’s better crags. Moss Cliff had been closed to avoid disturbance of peregrine falcons during nesting season, but DEC has detected no nesting activity on the cliff this year.

Located in Wilmington Notch,the 400-foot cliff towers over Route 86 and the West Branch of the Ausable River. It’s a landmark to motorists, but climbers know it for its clean rock and tough routes. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Slide Climbing: Mt. Marcy Grand Central Slide

Greg Kadlecik stand on top of the waterfall of Grand Central Slide. Most people who know me are familiar with my fascination with Panther Gorge. Its isolated location draws me annually like a moth to a flame. The site is home to some of the most intriguing and rugged Adirondack terrain—technical cliffs, beaver ponds, tranquil streams, shadowy talus fields and a beautiful slide that sparked my initial curiosity.

If you have climbed Mt. Haystack then you may be familiar with Grand Central slide, at least from a distance. This predominantly southeastern aspect slide delineates the east face slab from the steeper cliffs farther north in the gorge. Its release point begins in a sea of dense evergreens near the crest of Marcy’s southeast ridge. It ends 700 vertical feet below at the top of a cliff split by a right-leaning crevasse with a waterfall. Like nearly all venues in the gorge, the view from its curving track surpasses words. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jay Mountain Wilderness: Not Exactly A Walk In The Park

Jay Mountain RangeThey say variety is the spice of life. This is certainly true of backcountry adventures as anything else. Every few years, I diverge from my comfort area of the Five Ponds and Pepperbox Wilderness and venture out into other parts of the Adirondacks. Recently, I took a six-day sojourn into the Jay Mountain Wilderness, the smallest Wilderness Area in the Adirondacks.

The main impetuous for the trip was my desire to see Lot 8 in all its unspoiled glory, before saw, drill, bulldozer and explosives leave it nothing more than a giant hole in the ground. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Free Fishing Weekend Around New York State

fishing_inlet_newNew York State Free Fishing Days will take place this weekend, June 28-29 allowing anyone to fish in NYS waters without a license. This annual event started in 1991 to encourage people to try fishing. Since my husband already has his fishing license and my children aren’t required to have one, we use the annual Free Fishing Days as an opportunity to introduce visitors or our non-fishing friends to the sport.

Annually the Department of Environmental Education holds a series of free fishing clinics that not only allow all ages to experience fishing, but also participate in workshops that assist with fish identification, equipment, techniques, angling ethics and aquatic ecology. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2013 Adirondack Leisure Travel Study Results

Entering Adirondack ParkVisitors to the region were drawn by outdoor recreation, preferred hotel accommodations to other types of lodging, and spent $93 for every occupancy tax dollar spent on marketing in 2013, according to the latest leisure travel information study.

For the eleventh year in a row, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) contracted an independent third party to conduct a Leisure Travel Information Study. For the last three years, ROOST engaged PlaceMaking to conduct the survey applying the same methodology as in the previous years when it was conducted by the Technical Assistance Center at SUNY Plattsburgh. Survey data from 2013 visitors show record visitation to Essex County from across the decade of this research. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trail Etiquette, Revisited: Lessons from Chile

Lost-Brook-Tract-Ridge-Trail-300x225Last week’s column on trail etiquette provoked quite a range of reactions. Setting aside the number of you who decided from the column’s sarcasm that you knew me well enough not to ever want to meet me on the trail (a remarkable feat of judgmental sleuthing, that there is), there were quite a variety of strong opinions registered. I must say this intensity caught me by surprise. Coupled with the heated exchanges about dogs on the trail from previous columns, I sensed a pattern.

What struck me is that for some reason trail etiquette clearly intersects with questions of humanity, culture and self esteem in a different way than, say, campground etiquette (where the rules are better understood and apparently tolerated as a matter of course, there being accepted norms for standard campground functions and behaviors). » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Stand-Up Paddling Festival in Saranac Lake This Weekend

Modern stand-up paddling (SUP) has become one of the fastest growing water sports. This weekend Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters is giving everyone an opportunity to see what all the fuss is about June 20-21 at the Lake Colby beach in Saranac Lake.

The history of SUP is long and convoluted with references found thousands of years ago of ancient cultures using boards and sticks to propel themselves through the water to fish or travel. The modern stand-up version is most often attributed to surfing because of the similar board shape. Around the Adirondacks, SUP is becoming a popular alternative to canoeing and kayaking. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DEC Seeks Comments On Draft North Country Trail Plan

North Country Scenic Trail RouteAs part of a federal effort to expand the national trail system across the northern U.S., the  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a revised draft Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail (NST). The plan includes recommendations for the route of the National Scenic Trail through the Adirondack Park.

In March 1980, federal legislation authorized the establishment of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NST) as a component of the National Trails System. To date, Congress has authorized the establishment of eight National Scenic Trails – long distance, non-motorized trails that follow major geographic features or pass through scenic areas. National Scenic Trails are patterned after the renowned Appalachian National Scenic Trail, commonly known as the Appalachian Trail. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Slide Climbing: Dix Mountain Ring Slide (Central)

Dix Mountain Ring SlideThe northern cirque of Dix Mountain hosts one of the region’s best slide climbing destinations with numerous tracks of quality rock. Even if you’re not an adventurer, it’s difficult not to appreciate the artistry and power of nature while driving from Keene to Keene Valley on Route 73.

Collectively known as the Finger slides, the array is arranged from southwest to northeast spanning ½ mile beginning with the Thumb slide and ending with the Pinky (Per Drew Haas’ Slide Guide). Multiple slides sometimes make up one finger.

Though several slides existed prior to the cloudburst, they were recreated in their current incarnation during the second week of August in 1993; Adirondacks Alive by Olaf Sööt and Don Mellor shows an excellent photo of the fresh slides. Not surprisingly, climbers began exploring soon thereafter. A few years later the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reported that a scrambler was injured by a falling rock; a reminder of the inherent danger of slide climbing. While the approach is fairly long, it’s via a scenic trail that passes Round Pond and traverses along the North Fork Boquet River. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Commentary: Adirondack Trail Etiquette

wall of moss on way up to the topLast week I wrote a column about dogs in the back country and the need to keep them leashed while on the trail. This led to the issue of trail etiquette in general, a topic I have decided to address.

I’m trying to think of an Adirondack subject that annoys me more than behavior on trails and it isn’t coming to me. My experience of various hikers on trails is one of the primary motivators in my ongoing quest to actively dislike the majority of humanity. Trail etiquette is more important than most people think and it less followed than most people think as well. Not only that, in my experience there is surprisingly little understanding about what proper trail etiquette is. » Continue Reading.



Friday, June 13, 2014

East Dix Renamed In Honor Of Grace Hudowalski

Grace HudowalskiFor years, Adirondack Forty-Sixers have been referring to East Dix as Grace Peak, but now the name change is official.

On Thursday, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted to rename the 4,012-foot peak after Grace Hudowalski, the first woman to climb all forty-six of the High Peaks and the longtime historian of the Forty-Sixers organization.

Doug Arnold, chairman of the group’s Grace Peak Committee, worked twelve years to get support from local and state officials for the name change.

“Mountain naming is not a frivolous thing,” he said. “Ultimately, she was proven worthy, and I think that is a testament to the Forty-Sixers.” » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Neil Luckhurst: Climbing Basin’s East Face

IMG_6802My friend (who goes by the nick-name NangaParbat) and I descended the well-known cliffs of Saddleback and shortly thereafter cut left into the woods. Within 10 minutes we found ourselves out in the open with huge views on the Saddleback South slide. This must be a very old landslide because the once-exposed rock is now mostly covered in moss. Small trees are beginning to grow in. Lower down on the slide the water flow increases and the rock slab is exposed but we found it to be very slippery and stuck well to the edges.

Over to our right was Basin’s East Face, our ultimate destination. In between the slide and Basin lies a most impressive feature that I know as “Big Pink”, which is a huge, bare slab of pinkish smooth rock.   We walked along the 60 degree base of Big Pink and then we picked up the drainage that runs down from the East Face of Basin. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dewey Mountain Recreation Center New Lodge Update

10380761_10152182607074352_691117286085729620_nDewey Mountain Friends, the all-volunteer group dedicated supporting and enhancing Dewey Mountain Recreation Center, announced that more than 550 households and businesses have contributed $350,000 to the successful capital campaign to construct a new base lodge.

Dewey Mountain Friends is currently working with the town of Harrietstown – which owns the year-round, multi-use recreational center – to prepare the base lodge area for construction. Demolition of two defunct existing structures is expected to take place in June, and the new lodge will be in place by next fall. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Adirondacks Are More Than Just The High Peaks

View from Cat MountainThe Adirondack State Park is a huge place, encompassing approximately 6.1 million acres. It stretches from Lake Champlain at its eastern end, almost all the way to the Black River valley in the west, and from nearly the Canadian border in the north to the doorstep of the Mohawk River valley in the south. It is the largest state park in the contiguous United States, and, in fact, larger than several states. It is even larger than the combined area of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Great Smoke Mountains National Parks.

Its size is not the only unique aspect about the Park. Within its borders lies almost unimaginable beauty. Nature’s bountiful gifts take many different forms, including a near infinite number of lakes and ponds, more swamps than one can shake a stick at, acres upon acres of dense primeval forests, and of course, more than a few majestic mountains.

Yet there are those that would reduce the Park to a mere fraction of its size. These are not those people who routinely decry the restrictions and regulations, who seem to want to cut, build and pave their way across this beautiful park; these individuals love the natural beauty of the Park, although apparently, only a small portion of it. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DEC Deploys Backcountry Stewards, Assistant Rangers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFollowing a week of training, a group of 40 backcountry stewards and assistant forest rangers are now deployed on state lands and wildlife management areas across New York to protect the state’s natural resources and help visitors enjoy a safe and rewarding outdoor experience according to state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens.

The training was conducted through the Backcountry Stewardship Program, a long running partnership between DEC and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) that began more than a decade ago.  The majority of backcountry stewards and assistant forest rangers were in the field starting Memorial Day weekend and will serve through Labor Day, with some working through Columbus Day. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Commentary: Dogs in the Adirondack Back Country

Henderson is sure he heard something he needs to chase.A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column asking which back country behavior readers most hated (my choice is trail eroders). I got a lot of comments, but most of them were participants in a major brouhaha over dogs in the back country: whether they should be on leash or off leash and when, or even if they should be allowed at all. This got me motivated to write a column, your average dog being one of my favorite and most admired features of all the universe.

My canine ruminations got caught up in a different thread that built up at the same time around a column about the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. This comment thread was a debate about the meaning of wilderness and a challenge to our romanticized notion of wilderness as a pristine thing apart, a challenge that was most notably posed by William Cronon in his landmark essay The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.

The relevance to dogs is this: dogs are not “native” to the Adirondacks. They have no natural ecological place in pristine wilderness; they are highly bred constructs, walking four-legged artifices. But as Cronon famously asked, is the pristine notion of wilderness not itself an artificial construct, wrought of nineteenth century romantic idealism? Do we gain anything by considering wilderness apart from all things we deem not of the pure faith, dogs included? » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Annual Feeder Canal Alliance Paddle Saturday

Glens Falls Feeder CanalThe Annual Feeder Canal Alliance 5 mile Canoe/Kayak Race and Recreational Paddle will be held on Saturday June 7th with registration beginning at 8:30 am the day of the race and the race going off promptly at 10 am.

The event will begin at the Feeder Dam, located at the end of Richardson Street in Queensbury, only 1.2 miles from exit 18 on the I87 and finish at the Martindale Boat Basin located on Martindale Avenue in the village of Hudson Falls. The race passes through Queensbury, Glens Falls and Hudson Falls, providing paddlers with unique views of local parks, neighborhoods and the Feeder Canal itself. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Celebrate The Northville-Placid Trail On National Trails Day

On the first Saturday of June the American Hiking Society celebrates National Trails Day. Now commemorating its 22nd year, National Trails Day continues to bring attention to the extensive network of outdoor trails across the Unites States as well as the wide array of activities those trails provide.

This year the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has designated the historic Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) trail as its main volunteer project this Saturday, June 7. Paired with the Northville Merchants Association and Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber, ADK will have over 100 volunteers installing rock steps, retaining walls and rerouting the Northville section to a new archway at Northville’s Waterfront Park.

According to Northville Merchant Association’s President Michael Intrabartola this year’s National Trails Day will kick off a two-day festival celebrating 90 years on the NPT. The 133-mile trail that stretches between the towns of Northville and Lake Placid was started in 1922 and the first project taken on by the then fledgling Adirondack Mountain Club. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

DEC Launches New Outdoor Recreation Mobile App

DEC Mobile AppThe NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has launched a new outdoor recreation tool – The New York Fish & Wildlife  App.

The app is a useful interactive tool that provides information about outdoor sporting and recreation in the palm of your hands. It features species profiles, rules and regulations, important permits and licensing details, and interactive GPS mapping capability that even allows you to store maps for use when out of cell service range.   » Continue Reading.



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