Monday, April 11, 2011

Still Midwinter on Mount Marcy

Heavy rain, thunder and lightning, flood watches, the Yankees vying for first place, the Mets vying for last—it seems that spring has arrived.

Not so fast. This past Saturday, I skied Mount Marcy with Sue Bibeau, the Adirondack Explorer’s designer and sometime photographer, and we were amazed at how much snow remains up high.

We took the Van Hoevenberg Trail from Adirondak Loj. Except for three short sections—at Algonquin Brook, Marcy Dam, and Phelps Brook—we kept our skis on the whole way. As we approached the tree line on Marcy’s summit, we found the last signpost, at the junction with the Phelps Trail, completely buried in snow except for the top few inches.

I’m not sure how tall that signpost is, though I’m told it’s under five feet. In any case, I’ve been up Marcy many times in midwinter and not found that much snow.

Of course, the snow is not going to disappear overnight. So despite the rains this week, there will be skiing on Marcy next weekend and (if we’re lucky) perhaps into May. As the days pass, skiers will have to carry their boards farther and farther to find snow. In past springs, I’ve lugged my skis as far as three and a half miles. That still left me with nearly four miles of good skiing.

Yes, it’s a lot of work, but there’s nothing quite like skiing Marcy’s bowl in a T-shirt. It’s no wonder we saw thirteen other skiers on the summit on Saturday.

Incidentally, I did the trip on the Madshus Epochs I reviewed here last week. The skis worked fine, though I was unable turn them as quickly as my wider skis. One big advantage is that the Epochs are a few pounds lighter than my other skis and can be used with lighter boots. This makes a huge difference on a 7.4-mile ascent.

Paddlers, too, should be grateful for the abundance of snow in the peaks. As it melts in the weeks ahead, the creeks will be running high. This is also good news for anglers: the cold, rushing water will scour silt from the holes where trout hide out and lay eggs.

It’s been a good winter, but it’s not quite over.

Photo by Phil Brown: Marcy’s summit last weekend.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.

Related Stories


Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.




4 Responses