Friday, February 5, 2021

Outdoor conditions (2/5): Hike with a buddy

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:

  • Colden Caretaker Report 02/03/21: Approximately 2.5 feet of snow has accumulated at the Colden Caretaker cabin and 3 feet of snow has accumulated on summits. Snowshoes are needed on all trails, starting at parking lots. All ski trails are skiable. Both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen.
  • Unstable Snowpack: There have been several reports of unstable snowpack on open slopes. Practice safe travel when crossing exposed areas.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: The Wilmington Trail, Catamount and Taylor Pond snowmobile gates are open with good snow coverage at this time.

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 02/03/21 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: 18.6 inches
  • Goodnow Flow Road, Newcomb, Essex County: 18.8 inches
  • Tahawus/Upper Works, Newcomb, Essex County: 18.2 inches
  • Blue Ridge Road, Newcomb, Essex County: 21.4 inches
  • Elk Lake Road, North Hudson, Essex County: 21.2 inches
  • Lake Colden, Essex County: 27.5 inches
  • Cedar River Road, Indian Lake, Hamilton County: N/A
  • Sagamore Road, Long Lake, Hamilton County: N/A
  • Haskell Road, Ohio, Herkimer County: N/A
  • North Lake Road, Ohio, Herkimer County: N/A

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: COVID-19 is still a concern 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.

Hiking with a Buddy

Exploring with a partner is a great way to ensure safety, especially in the winter. A buddy is more than just a companion. They are a second set of eyes and ears, and two heads are better than one when it comes to managing risk and making important safety decisions.

There are many benefits to hiking with at least one partner. A hiking buddy can help you keep track of the trail. Finding the trail when it’s covered in fresh snow can be tricky. Having two sets of eyes looking out for trail markers can keep you on track and on trail. Should an accident happen, a buddy can act as a first responder, administering basic first aid and acting in emergencies. A buddy can also help you detect the warning signs of hypothermia, one of the primary dangers of hiking in the winter.

There are some important considerations to keep in mind when hiking with a buddy. Each person should still carry their own gear – this is not an opportunity to split the weight. It’s important for each person to have their own gear, especially if the group gets separated. It’s also important to choose an adventure that is within both buddies’ skill sets and physical limits. And, as we continue to combat COVID-19, consider ways you can hike, ski, climb, snowmobile and explore together safely while mitigating the spread.

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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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