Posts Tagged ‘High Peaks Wilderness’

Monday, October 27, 2014

View from Lower Ausable Lake

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Winter was in the air on Sunday, but only in higher elevations. We hiked the Gothics – Pyramid – Sawteeth traverse and came back to a glowing Indian Head at Lower Ausable Lake. In this photo you can see Indian Head on the left and Mount Colvin on the right. We were in the clouds most of the morning and this sunshine really made our day.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Panther Gorge Rock Climbing Route:
Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald

Kevin MudRat MacKenzie climbs partway up pitch one of Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald.Panther Gorge’s scenic wonders were featured in Adirondac Magazine’s September/October issue—the secluded talus fields, beaver ponds, a waterfall, the moss covered forest floor and meandering brooks.  Above the forest lies the technical climbing area. A multitude of cliffs adorn the sides, but one stands out from the rest – Mount Marcy’s Agharta Wall.

The name was inspired by the Miles Davis’ Agharta album after Christian Fracchia and Charlie Dickens made the first ascent of the Agharta ice route in 1999. The alternate meaning, a Buddhist reference to a mythical subterranean world “also fit with how the gorge feels,” noted Fracchia. Walk deep into the gorge, especially on a dreary day, and you’ll realize how true this is.

Rock climbing routes are continually being created or “put up” on cliffs inside the blue line.  Adirondack Rock’s recently published second edition adds 1,162 new routes to those in the first edition. In comparison to many areas, Panther Gorge has seen little route development. The first recorded technical ascent in the gorge was in 1936 when local guide and climber Jim Goodwin ascended cliffs on the Marcy side of the north end; his exact line is not clear. Only eight more routes were put up between 1965 and 2010, five of which involved Bill Schneider during 2003 and 2004.

Since 2012, six more have been added. Two lie on Marcy’s East Face, three lie on the Haystack side (including a free-standing pillar) and another called Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald ascends the Agharta Wall. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

State Acquires Former Finch, Pruyn Lands Near High Peaks

D08A9330The state has purchased a 5,770-acre tract abutting the High Peaks Wilderness from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, the latest acquisition of former Finch, Pruyn lands for the Forest Preserve.

Known as Macintyre West, the tract includes 3,081-foot Mount Andrew and sixteen-acre Lake Andrew as well as Santanoni Brook, which flows into Henderson Lake, and Sucker Brook, which flows into Newcomb Lake.

“It’s an important part of the upper Hudson watershed,” said John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council. “We think it’d be a fine addition to the High Peaks Wilderness.”

He expects the tract will be used by hikers, hunters, and anglers.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The 1981 Ampersand Mountain Search For Kate Dekkers

ampersandmtIn the summer of 1981, in the High Peaks Wilderness, an organized outing consisting of kids and counselors went on a day hike. Twelve children and two adults went up Ampersand Mountain on July 24th to enjoy a summer day in the Adirondacks. Only eleven children returned. A 10-year-old girl, 4-foot-ten-inches tall, wearing blue shorts and a red #88 football jersey went missing, separated from the rest of the group.

It’s the type of unfortunate, yet often preventable incident that regularly happens during summers in the Adirondacks. Most separations like this are solved within hours –  it would take four days to solve the mystery of what happened to young Kate Dekkers. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

81 Years Ago: An Amazing Rescue on Wallface

Wallface3boysEighty-one years ago—on September 3, 1933—three Plattsburgh youths in their late teens, accompanied by a schoolteacher, climbed Wallface Mountain in the Adirondacks. Their purpose was not to ascend the infamous steep cliffs there, but instead to retrieve a length of rope valued at $40 (about $720 today) and deliver it to the Lake Placid Club. For such a mundane outing, the press coverage was extraordinary, extending to newspapers in many faraway locations. And therein lies a harrowing tale.

Five days earlier, those same boys had embarked on another trip to Wallface, reaching the base of the cliffs at Indian Pass early in the morning. The trio—Tyler Gray, 19, Robert Glenn, 17, and William LaDue, 16—were all Boy Scouts, so they were better prepared than the average youths taking to the woods. Accompanying them was William’s younger brother, 14-year-old Robert LaDue. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 29, 2014

The Milky Way Over Johns Brook Lodge

JBL Milky Way 2

The night sky at Johns Brook Lodge on a clear moonless night is always breathtaking. The lodge is a great place to visit if you enjoy staring into the heavens. It is a backcountry lodge outside of Keene Valley, 3.5 miles into the High Peaks Wilderness. There have been numerous renovations to the lodge over recent years, most recently the sleeping accommodations were upgrade with real mattresses and new bunks. The staff are really what makes the place special though, they make great meals and know the valley inside and out. If you are looking for a nice backcountry accommodation it is definitely worth checking out. The view from the porch on a night like this is always a nice bonus as well.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: A View Of Avalanche Lake

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As a general rule it is best to avoid taking landscape shots in the middle of the day. The harsh light and lack of contrast across the landscape doesn’t usually make for interesting shots. That said, you need to know when to break the rules as well. This shot of Avalanche Lake was taken mid-day, but the ominous clouds in the distance added a lot of mood to the scene.


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.


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.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Update On Recent NYS Land Purchases

Lake Andrew, near the Santanoni Range, by Carl Heilman IIThe state has completed another purchase of former Finch, Pruyn timberlands, totaling 8,500 acres, and though the deal is not as momentous as previous Finch deals, bigger things are on the horizon.

By year’s end, the state intends to purchase two large tracts of former Finch lands that border the High Peaks Wilderness, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Known as McIntyre East and McIntyre West, the tracts encompass nearly twelve thousand acres near the Upper Works trailhead in the town of Newcomb. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Backcountry Skiing A Pair Of Adirondack Passes

Tim-in-Whales-Tail-Pass1We just finished our March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer, so I took Tuesday off to go backcountry skiing and take advantage of the recent snowfalls (before a looming thaw sets in).

My neighbor Tim Peartree and I skied through two mountain passes. The first, Avalanche Pass, is one of the most popular ski trips in the Adirondacks. From Heart Lake, it’s about four miles to the top of the pass and an additional 0.6 miles to Avalanche Lake. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 27, 2014

The Adirondack Park: Changes In The Air

Winter view from Marcy DamChange is inevitable, constantly working its influence on everything around us, including ourselves. Sometimes it unfolds slowly, like the lines on a person’s face as they age, other times it develops swiftly, like the devastation from a magnitude seven earthquake.

The Adirondack Park has never been immune to change. Whether natural, like the glaciers that once scoured its landscape, or human-induced, like the massive timber extraction of earlier times, the accumulation of these changes made the Adirondacks what we know and love today. This evolution continues today, evident in the gradual wearing down of the mountains, the successional transition of beaver pond to meadow and beyond, and forest flattened by intense windstorms.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 13, 2014

DEC Plans To Dismantle Marcy Dam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Tropical Storm Irene damaged Marcy Dam, draining most of the pond behind it, hikers debated passionately whether the dam should be rebuilt to restore an iconic vista enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors over the years.

It looks like it won’t be.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently decided to dismantle the wooden dam in stages over the next five years.

DEC spokesman David Winchell said the cost of rebuilding the dam to modern standards would have been too costly and may have conflicted with the management principles for the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Those principles seek to minimize the presence of man-made structures. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

High Peaks Nostalgia: Stories I’ll Never Forget

Frozen Colden and MarcyRecently an article about the end of another Adirondack custom caught my eye.  Apparently, the Adirondack Forty-Sixers are ending their traditional journal requirement for aspiring members. Typically, these colorful entries chronicled each member’s personal journeys while climbing the High Peaks.

The Forty-Sixers is a hiking organization, requiring the climbing of the forty-six Adirondack High Peaks for membership. The High Peaks were first designated by George and Robert Marshall, and defined as any summit of 4,000 feet or more above sea level elevation, with at least 300 feet of vertical rise on all four sides and at least 0.75 miles from the nearest peak. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Yellow-Yellow Obituary

Yellow-Yellow, roughly 20 years of age, of the Marcy Dam-Lake Colden corridor in the High Peaks Wilderness ascended to her heavenly den for an eternal hibernation after being slain by a hunter’s bullet on October 21, 2012 in the town of Jay (as reported by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise).

Yellow-Yellow was a shy, small female black bear, named after the color of the tags placed on each ear by New York State Department of Conservation wildlife biologists in the early 2000’s. She was known more for stealth and ingenuity than brawn, which eventually led to her notoriety. As bears go, she typically avoided contact with humans, being more thief than brigand.

Apparently, advanced age brought about an alleged increased aggressiveness toward campers and hikers with food, which is a common phenomenon among the animal kingdom as anyone observing geriatrics at a Denny’s around five in the afternoon can attest. Perhaps this aggressiveness played a role in her recent demise.
» Continue Reading.


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