Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What’s New In The Adirondack Explorer

Some time ago I came across a book titled Fifty Favorite Climbs: The Ultimate North American Tick List. The author, Mark Kroese, asked fifty celebrated climbers to reveal their favorite climbs on the continent.

Most leaned toward big or exotic routes. Conrad Anker, for example, picked an alpine rock climb on Baffin Island near the Arctic Circle. Alex Lowe chose the Grand Traverse, his eight-hour dash over seven summits in Wyoming’s Tetons.

But I was especially interested in the choice of Jeff Lowe, one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation. Lowe (no relation to Alex) has climbed all over the world and put up hundreds of first ascents. His favorite climb in North America? A four-pitch ice route on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain that overlooks the Northway. It’s called Gorillas in the Mist.

What I found especially intriguing is that the route has been repeated only once—by Alex Lowe a few days after Jeff Lowe climbed it with Ed Palen, the owner of Rock and River Guide Service in Keene.

That was twenty-one years ago.

You can read about the first ascent of Gorillas in the Mist and the dream of one local climber — Matt Horner — to repeat it in the January/February issue of the Adirondack Explorer.

In other recreational stories in the Explorer, Tony Goodwin writes about new ski tours on the former Finch, Pruyn lands, including a trip to Boreas Ponds, and yours truly writes about an early-season ski on the Jackrabbit Trail.

Speaking of Boreas Ponds, readers of the Almanack are by now well familiar with the controversy over the Adirondack Park Agency’s pending classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract. What has been overlooked is that much of the debate over Wild Forest versus non-motorized Wilderness has been driven by the state’s desire to maintain the dam at the foot of Boreas Ponds. The Explorer looks at whether the state should maintain the dam and, if so, whether workers need motor-vehicle access to do so.

Staff writer Mike Lynch writes about how the millennial generation is using digital media to connect with the great outdoors. Our cover photo illustrates this trend.

Other articles in the new issue include:

  • A federal court ruling has jeopardized efforts to the control the cormorant population on Lake Champlain.
  • Michael Frenette has spent two decades restoring Great Camp Santanoni to its former grandeur.
  • Michael Carr talks about his plans for the Adirondack Land Trust.
  • Historian Philip Terrie delves into the 1938 state constitutional convention and the debate over tree cutting in the Forest Preserve.
  • The Adirondack Park Agency edges closer to approving a controversial marina on Lower Saranac Lake.
  • A study looks at who gets rescued in the Adirondacks and why.

These are just some of the goodies in the latest issue. A few of the articles will be posted on the Almanack. The rest will be available only to subscribers. You can subscribe by clicking here.


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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.

6 Responses

  1. Justin Farrell says:

    “The Explorer looks at whether the state should maintain the dam…”

    Just wondering if you ever received my email?
    The state has already started maintenance at the both dams.
    – Justin

    • Bruce says:

      Since some sort of dam has been there since the 1800’s, I have reason to believe if there’s no dam, there will be no ponds unless beavers move in, which is always possible, but not a sure thing. I think the debate should center around whether or not the ponds in their present state are enough of an asset to keep the dams, making maintenance necessary. Some of that maintenance will eventually require motorized access to move in heavy materials.

      • Boreas says:

        Not being privy to backroom negotiations by the state, I would assume removing the dams or not maintaining them isn’t even on the table. In the entire discussion, I have heard nothing from the state regarding BP with no dams present. I think the reason is that they never had any intention of classifying the ponds area as Wilderness, which would require no maintenance and/or removal of non-conforming structures.

        The required public comment procedure is just a dog & pony show. Ultimately, the state and local governments are still going to make the decision, and they want ponds and access.

      • Phil Brown says:

        Bruce, the story addresses what would happen if the dam were removed or allowed to deteriorate.

  2. Justin Farrell says:

    I would venture to say that these dams aren’t going anywhere unless they are removed by heavy machinery.

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