Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dr. Brad VanDiver’s Cliffside Brush with Death

longspeak2005wikiResearching Dr. Bradford VanDiver’s life and telling his full story isn’t possible in this brief format, but if you read last week’s account, you’re at least privy to the amazing and varied highlights. There remains one stunning and frightening event that he failed to mention during published interviews about various achievements and key moments in his past.

While plumbing for details that might have occurred prior to his professional career, I encountered reference to VanDiver’s participation with the National Speleological Society in exploring several new caves in the Howe’s Cavern area of Schoharie County in 1948. Some of the underground sites there involved drops of more than 100 feet, for which the spelunkers’ group called upon Brad VanDiver and his close friend, Ernest Ackerly, to handle the rigging of ropes, ladders, and other safety equipment. They also joined in the exploration of new passages. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Highlights

DEC Forest RangerNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Wiessner Left His Mark On Cliffs All Over Northeast

The legendary Fritz Wiessner put up a dozen or so rock-climbing routes in the Adirondacks in the 1930s and 1940s. That doesn’t make him the most prolific climber in the Adirondack Park, but he was one of the earliest.

In truth, Wiessner is better known for his exploits elsewhere. Perhaps his greatest contribution to rock climbing was his “discovery” in 1935 of the Gunks outside New Paltz, now one of the most popular climbing destinations in the country. In 1937, he famously led Bill House and Lawrence Coveney on the first technical ascent of the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming – an extraordinarily bold feat for its time.

Wiessner also did notable first ascents on cliffs in New Hampshire and Connecticut, among other places. In 1935, he put up a route called Vector at Connecticut’s Ragged Mountain that may have then been the hardest in the country. It’s now rated 5.8 in the Yosemite Decimal System. 

Last weekend, while visiting New Haven, I had the chance to check out another early route in Connecticut established by the master: Wiessner’s Rib in Sleeping Giant State Park.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Free Drive Up Prospect Mountain to Honor Veterans

lakegeorge_prospectmtadkfamilytimeFor the second year the caretakers of Lake George’s Prospect Mountain are opening the highway to the public November 5-6 in honor of all veterans.

According to DEC Region 5 Spokesperson David Winchell, Prospect Mountain is one of two summits in the Adirondacks that are open to public motor vehicle traffic, the other being Whiteface Memorial Highway. Last year’s open weekend saw over 900 cars pass through the Prospect Mountain gate. With amble parking for 450 cars as well as two accessible spaces, the free weekend was a success for all. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

ADK High Peaks Info Center Closed Thru Late December

adk mountain clubThe Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) is closed through late December for renovations.  Parking in the HPIC parking lots will still be available and not effected by these renovations. The flush toilets and shower facilities at the HPIC will not be available during this time period. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Julia Goren Receives Guy Waterman Alpine Steward Award

Julia Goren The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has announced that Education Director Julia Goren received the 2016 Guy Waterman Alpine Steward Award. This award is given annually to a person or organization who has demonstrated a long term commitment to protecting the physical and spiritual qualities of the mountain wilderness of the Northeast United States. Julia was recognized for her work protecting the alpine ecosystem and for mentoring the next generation of alpine stewards.

Julia joined ADK in 2004 as an Education intern and became botanist for the Summit Steward program in 2006. In 2008 she became the program’s first full-time Coordinator, and in 2014 she was promoted to Education Director. Julia works with ADK’s school programs, workshops, interpretive programs, Leave No Trace education, and oversees the High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Adirondack Hiking Trails Show Their Age

the-state-pays-the-adirondack-mountain-club-and-other-groups-to-maintain-trails When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled).

The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to cause maintenance problems. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Recent Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Operations

DEC Forest RangerNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

New Grant Program Connects School Children to State Lands

students hiking dec photoThe New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) has announced grant opportunities for public schools throughout New York State to fund field trips to state parks and historic sites for environmental, history and physical education programming.

Funding for the $500,000 Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant program comes from the state Environmental Protection Fund’s enhanced Environmental Justice programming approved in the 2016-17 State Budget. The grant is available to Kindergarten-12th grade classes in Title 1 public schools. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DEC Issues Final Plans For 3 Adirondack Campground Upgrades

DEC LogoThe Unit Management Plans (UMPs) for three New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Adirondack campgrounds – Limekiln Lake, Eighth Lake and Lake Durant – are now final. The final UMPs identify facilities and infrastructure to be upgraded or replaced during the next five years. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Survey of Adirondack Lodging Operators Underway

actlsThe Adirondack Community-based Trails and Lodging System (ACTLS) is asking the public to fill out a survey to help inform them of the merits and design of a future lodging affiliate system.

The ACTLS project is a new initiative that aims to develop a conceptual plan for potential trail networks with key locations for lodging facilities within the Adirondack Park. This project seeks to help maximize the sustainable tourism economies of towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the Adirondacks, promote wellness, and advance conservation.  » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 24, 2016

DEC Conducting Helicopter Survey of Recreational Trail Corridor

NYC Railroad from Lake Clear LodgeThe New York State Department of Environmental (DEC) has announced that a low-altitude helicopter flight will take place over the recreational corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake on Tuesday, October 25, in preparation for design and construction of a multi-use recreational trail.

The helicopter will videotape the corridor and its historic features. Additional flights are expected be made to survey the corridor with LIDAR and to obtain aerial photogrammetry data. These flights will fly at higher altitudes. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Coterie of Climbers Conquer Panther Gorge

panther gorgeFour and a half hours after our 4:30 am departure from the Garden trailhead in Keene Valley, my two climbing partners and I dropped our packs and looked around. We were surrounded by cliffs: free-standing pillars, tiered walls, slabby slides, and vertical stone faces, some more than three hundred feet high. There were caves, hidden talus fields, and giant fins of rock. Vertical cracks abounded.

I gaped in wonderment at one of the most remote and beautiful rock-climbing destinations in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Slide Climbing: Giant Mountain’s Diagonal Slide

Giant Mountain Diagonal Slide

Giant Mountain’s Eagle and Bottle slides are two of the most commonly climbed slides on the mountain. There are, however, at least eight other major tracks worth the effort.

One, the Diagonal Slide, lies directly between the remnants of the Question Mark Slide and Bottle Slide. This smaller yet more challenging brother to the Bottle lies on the northwest side of the same ridge. With a southwest aspect, the Diagonal yields a breathtaking view of Giant’s summit and ridgeline below the Zander Scott Trail. Giant’s summit overlooks the track from bottom to top so expect an audience if you’re noticed.

Before Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, scrambling conditions are the rule on this challenging strip of anorthosite. Segments of it are well over 100 years old so one should be comfortable climbing on old-exposure slab with intermittent areas of heavy moss and lichen. If you’re up to the task it is a fun climb with interesting characteristics and varied lines of ascent. Unlike the Bottle, it hosts many small tree islands which occlude the views of neighboring sections. You’ll have to explore to cover all the real estate available, but this offers a good excuse to climb it more than once. The trees also provide areas of natural protection below some of the harder sections. Overall, it offers sustained exposed climbing. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NYS Doesn’t Own 4 Parcels In Adirondack Rail-Trail Corridor

Adirondack Scenic RailroadThe state has identified four parcels along the Adirondack Rail Corridor that it doesn’t own, but officials say that shouldn’t hold up plans to build a controversial 34-mile rail trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake.

“As is often the case in projects like this, title questions arise that must be resolved. That is the case here,” Benning DeLaMater, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said in an email to the Almanack.

Three of the parcels are in Saranac Lake and together comprise a 3,000-foot stretch of the corridor. One is owned by North Country Community College, and the other two are jointly owned by Essex County and Franklin County.

The fourth parcel, in Lake Placid, is owned by the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society, which operates a museum at the Lake Placid depot, where the rail line ends.

» Continue Reading.