Thursday, April 3, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Apr 3)

This weekly Adirondack outdoor conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

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** indicates active, new or revised items.

** EARLY SPRING / LATE WINTER CONDITIONS: Expect seasonable temperatures in the Adirondacks this weekend with a chance of rain, freezing rain, and light snow Friday and Saturday. Although this precipitation is not expected to pose a threat of flooding, it will keep trails wet and slushy.  Winter conditions remain at higher elevations. Lower elevations can expect temperatures from at or below freezing into the low 40s. Expect a variety of weather, and be prepared for cold, wet weather. An unexpected storm dropped six or more inches in the High Peaks last weekend, always be prepared for unexpected weather.  Wear a cold weather outer shell and bring winter gear, extra layers of clothing and a winter hat and gloves. Always check the weather forecast before entering the backcountry. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.

** TRAIL CONDITIONS: Skis or snowshoes are required in the High Peaks Wilderness, and will be needed most everywhere. Good snow conditions are present in the higher elevations. Parking lots, trailheads and other areas may be icy. Expect to encounter blow-down from winter weather, especially on lesser used trails. Expect icier conditions in the morning, and soft snow and slush in the afternoons. Snowdrifts and ice are present on most summits. Crampons should be carried and use when warranted. Drainages and trails along waterways may be a mix of water, slush, ice and mud. Stream crossings passable in the morning may be flooded and impassable later in the day.

** BE AWARE OF AVALANCHE DANGER: All slopes have a significant snow pack with strong temperature gradients and layers of variable strength snow. If you are going to travel into avalanche terrain (open areas with slopes between 25 and 50 degrees) be aware of the risk of avalanches: Have a basic knowledge of avalanche risk, prediction, avoidance and rescue; carry beacons, shovels and probes; and check for avalanche conditions before skiing. Always obtain your own data about avalanche risks, and remember that the presence of ski tracks on a slope doesn’t eliminate the risk of avalanche. Remember safe travel techniques, know how to self-rescue, and have a rescue plan. If you are unsure, don’t go. Avalanches occur often in the Adirondacks and they can have deadly consequences.

** CURRENT SNOW COVER: There is plenty of snow on the ground, especially in the woods and good snow conditions are present in the higher elevations. There remains one to two feet of snow on the ground at lower elevations in the woods and more than three feet at higher elevations. Areas in the valleys surrounding the Adirondacks have considerably less snow. There is much bare ground in Southern Warren County. There is about 12 inches in Lake Pleasant, 6 to 8 inches in Inlet, about a foot in Olmsteadville, 18 inches in Newcomb, and about a foot in Tupper Lake.

** LONG RANGE FORECAST: Expect unsettled weather with highs in the 50s early in the week, turning cooler and dry for the second half of the week.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER: Adirondack weather can change dramatically in a short time. Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** FIRE DANGER LOW: The fire danger in the Adirondack region is LOW. Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness at all times. It is illegal to leave a fire unattended until it is fully extinguished.

** RIVERS RUNNING NORMAL, RISING: Rivers and streams have begun to rise as warmer temperatures this week began melted some of our snow pack. Still, rivers are currently running normal for this time of year. This weekend’s precipitation is not expected to rise rivers and streams to flood stage, but may help to bring waters above normal next week. River banks are covered in snow and ice, which will make for difficult fishing.

** ICE ON WATER: Lake ice should no longer be considered safe. There are several inches of water and slush on lakes, and ice is thinning and deteriorating. Always check the depth of ice before and during crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Use extreme caution on ice over water at this time of year.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT: Expect spring skiing conditions, especially in the afternoons. Whiteface will have nearly all of their terrain open, including at least some glades, but no slides. Gore will have about 70% of their terrain open – most glades are closed. Titus remains open, this will be the last week at McCauley in Old Forge, and Hickory, Oak, and Big Tupper have all closed for the season.

** CROSS COUNTRY SKI REPORT: Most cross country areas remain open with spring conditions. Call ahead at Cascade, the season will end in the next few weeks.

** BACKCOUNTRY SKI REPORT: Expect to encounter some blowdown on on lesser used routes. All back-country ski routes are reported in good condition with coverage everywhere and spring conditions. Best bet for this weekend is in the High Peaks and Newcomb, at Paul Smiths, and in the Southwestern Adirondacks.

** SNOWMOBILE REPORT: A few die-hards will keep riding in the Moose River Plains and Perkins Clearing, and the few typically snowier spots, but in general, snowmobiling is no longer recommended. St. Lawrence County and Warren County trails and Town of Webb (Old Forge) Trails have closed for the season. Lakes should no longer be considered safe and are covered with slush and water. Village trails and those with heavier use are snirty and bare. The portion of the Warren County Bike Trail that connects snowmobilers to trails in Washington County has closed for the season. The Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail is open for its whole length (DEC crews added ramps to the bridges that had been missing them). Cranberry Lake Lodge is closed for the 2013-2014 Winter season and no gas is available in and around the Cranberry Lake area. Do not ride on closed trails.

** CLIMBING ROUTES CLOSED: The following cliffs are closed to rock climbing to allow Peregrine Falcons to choose nesting sites. Moss Cliff in the Wilmington Notch (all routes) at Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs at Chapel Pond (all routes). At Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain all climbing routes on the Main Face will be closed except the climbing routes described on pages 38-45 (routes #1 thru #24) of Adirondack Rock – A Rock Climber’s Guide.

** TROUT AND SALMON SEASON OPEN: Trout and salmon fishing season opened April 1 in New York State. Personal Floatation Devices (life jackets) must be worn by all people at all times in boats less than 21 feet in length until May 1.


These are recent changes (within the last two weeks) to outdoor recreation roads, trails and facilities around the Adirondacks.

** indicates new or revised items for this week.

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** Snowshoes or Skis Required: Snowshoes or skis are required the High Peaks Wilderness. The use of snowshoes or skis eases travel through snow, avoids injury and prevents “post-holing”, which ruins the trails for others and makes them dangerous to traverse.

** Avalanche Awareness: All slopes have a significant snow pack with strong temperature gradients and layers of variable strength snow – see the warning above.

** Lake Colden – Avalanche Lake: Avoid ice over or near running water and near inlets and outlets – particularly on Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake. Ice that holds snow may not hold a person. Snow may cover thin ice or open water. Always check ice depths before going on the ice.

** Trap Dike: The dike is filled with wind blow snow. Climbing the dike is extremely difficult under these conditions. Do not trust equipment left at the trap dike.

Ausable Lakes: The public easement agreement for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) only allows for hiking, snowshoeing or skiing on the designated trails and roads. Traversing the Lower or Upper Ausable Lakes is prohibited.

** Giant Mountain Wilderness: All climbing routes on the Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs near Chapel Pond are closed to allow Peregrine Falcons to choose nesting sites. Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures provides more details including the purpose of the closures.

West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** Northville-Placid Trail: The Northville-Placid Trail will have a new starting point in the village of Northville beginning this year. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is extending the trail south from Benson to the village of Northville. The new trailhead and parking lot will be at the Northville Waterfront Park, where an opening celebration is planned for June 7-8, 2014. The change will take the trail off the road between Northville and Benson.

The Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail: The trail is now open for its whole length. DEC crews added ramps to the bridges that had been missing them.

The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Warren County Snowmobile Trails Closed: Warren County snowmobile trails have closed for the season.

** Gay Pond Truck Trail: Gates on the Gay Pond Truck Trail have been closed until the end of mud season. The road will reopen when conditions are drier and any needed maintenance work is completed.

** Shelving Rock Road (Eastern Lake George Wild Forest): The Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season. Barriers have been placed on the road and the gate beyond the barriers are closed and locked. Motor vehicles should not go beyond the barrier. The road will reopen when conditions are drier and any needed maintenance work is completed.

Former Finch Lands – Essex Chain Lakes Tract: The Town of Newcomb is plowing Goodnow Flow Road. The public can park in the designated plowed area along the Goodnow Flow Road just before the Chain Lakes Road entrance – this is the road used in the summer to access the Hudson River at the Polaris or Iron Bridge. The public can access the Essex Chain Lakes Tract to ski, snowshoe or otherwise traverse the roadways and the lands. Interim winter public access will be limited this year as no plowed parking areas have been designated on the Essex Tract itself. The plowed parking area on the Goodnow Flow Road is used by the Gooley and Polaris Club members to park vehicles and snowmobile trailers – it is likely to be crowded on weekends. The Deer Pond and Chain Lakes Road gates have been closed and locked. The roads beyond are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. Members of the Gooley and Polaris Clubs will be able to use snowmobiles on the roadways to get to and from their camps.

** Eagle Cave (Siamese Ponds Wilderness): Eagle Cave is closed to the public until April 30 to prevent further stress and spread of disease to bats that hibernate there.

Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Climbing routes on Moss Cliff in the Wilmington Notch are closed to allow Peregrine Falcons to choose nesting sites. Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures provides more details including the purpose of the closures.

** Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain: All rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed to allow for Peregrine Falcons to choose nesting sites except for the climbing routes #1 thru #24 described on pages 38-45 of Adirondack Rock – A Rock Climber’s Guide. Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures provides more details including the purpose of the closures.

Cranberry Lake: Cranberry Lake Lodge is closed for the 2013-2014 Winter season. The restaurant, tavern, and hotel lodging are closed, and there is no gas available on the premises. There is no access to Cranberry Lake from the Lodge property. At present, there is no gas available in and around the Cranberry Lake area.


General warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Additional detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.

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