Friday, January 29, 2021

Outdoor Conditions (1/29): Plan ahead in winter weather

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Weekend Weather Warning: High winds and extreme low temperatures are forecast for summits in the High Peaks this weekend. Friday morning winds are anticipated to reach gusts of 48 mph and temperatures with wind chill dropping to -52 Fahrenheit. Exposure to these elements is dangerous and travel at elevation or above tree line is not recommended. Extreme cold temperatures will continue through the weekend. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.
  • Unstable Snowpack: There have been several reports of unstable snowpack on open slopes. Practice safe travel when crossing exposed areas.
  • Colden Caretaker Report 01/27/21: 2.5 feet of snow has accumulated at the Colden Caretaker cabin. Over 3 feet of snow has accumulated on summits. Snowshoes are needed on all trails, starting at parking lots. Skiing is in, including the ski trail, South Meadows Road and the trail to the Flowed Lands. Both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen.

Last Week

Debar Mountain Wild Forest and Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The gates on Snowmobile Trail C8 are now open. The Madawaska trails, including Blue Mt. Road gates and trails, are open and groomed. The Meacham Lake to Debar Meadow/Hatch Brook gate on County Route 26 is also open and the trail groomed.


General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources, including travel information, weather resources, and seasonally-specific information about Adirondack recreation.

Winter Conditions: Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Conditions will be more severe on summits, with below freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and strong winds. Take wind chill into consideration when preparing for temperatures. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Snow Accumulation: The following provides current snowpack depths in inches as of 01/19/21 at a selection of Adirondack locations. Snow accumulation data is collected every other week. Additional data and interactive maps are available on the National Weather Service website.

  • Northwoods Club Road, Minerva, Essex County: 14.5 inches
  • Goodnow Flow Road, Newcomb, Essex County: 14.3 inches
  • Tahawus/Upper Works, Newcomb, Essex County: 13.1 inches
  • Blue Ridge Road, Newcomb, Essex County: 16 inches
  • Elk Lake Road, North Hudson, Essex County: 17.3 inches
  • Lake Colden, Essex County: 27.1 inches
  • Cedar River Road, Indian Lake, Hamilton County: 19.1 inches
  • Sagamore Road, Long Lake, Hamilton County: 19.9 inches
  • Haskell Road, Ohio, Herkimer County: 20.9 inches
  • North Lake Road, Ohio, Herkimer County: 20.4 inches

Ice Safety: A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safety. Ice thickness, however, is not uniform on any body of water. Learn more about ice safety.

Snowmobiling: Check local club, county, and state webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile Webmap, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

Seasonal Access Roads: Most seasonal access roads have closed for the winter season. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information pages for updates on specific road closures. Some roads may remain open if conditions allow.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise throughout New York State, including in the Adirondacks. Help prevent the spread and keep yourself safe by continuing to Play Smart, Play Safe, Play Local.


Safety & Education

Winter recreation is fun and exciting. It can also be challenging and dangerous. Whether you’re going for a hike, a ski, snowmobiling or ice fishing, Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind.

Planning for the Weather

When it comes to outdoor recreation, weather can be the determining factor between a successful trip and an unpleasant or dangerous experience. Checking the weather is one of the most important steps you will take when planning a hike or other outdoor experience. In any season, knowing what weather you will encounter along the trail is vital to proper preparation. This is especially true in the winter when snow, ice, extreme cold, and high winds can create dangerous or even deadly conditions.

When checking the weather ahead of an anticipated trip, keep the following in mind:

  • What is the forecast for the days leading up to your trip? Knowing what the weather will be like before you arrive helps you know what conditions you will encounter. For example, if it snowed heavily in the days leading up to your trip, you know to plan for deep, fresh snow.
  • What is the forecast for the day of your trip? Check the forecast temperature, wind speeds, temperature with wind chill, chance of precipitation and amount of precipitation. Even data like humidity and sun exposure are important. Knowing these things will help you decide if the trip is safe and help you plan your route, timeline, layering and gear packing.
  • What is the forecast for the night after your trip and the following day? You should always be prepared for an unexpected overnight. That means you should prepare for the weather immediately following your planned trip as well.
  • How will conditions change from the base of the mountain to the summit? Summit conditions are often far more severe than at the trailhead. Temperatures are lower, winds are stronger, visibility is lower, and snow is deeper. Regional forecasts will only address base elevation. Check specific summit forecasts for mountaintop data.
  • Be prepared to turn around. Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, especially at higher elevations and above tree line. The forecast is not always accurate, and unexpected weather can roll in creating dangerous conditions. If you notice conditions changing, or if you encounter conditions you are not properly prepared for, turn around. You can always return to complete the hike another day when the weather is better.

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NYS DEC

Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.




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