Town of Keene Valley Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On Dec. 28 at 9:58 a.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 51-year-old male from Forest Mills had sustained injuries from a 30-foot fall on the Giant Mt. Ridge Trail. While Forest Rangers Lewis, Mecus, Praczkaljo, and Evans responded to the trailhead, Lt. Burns conducted a phone interview with the reporting party and determined the incident a medical emergency response. Rangers requested Essex County Emergency Service to deploy a Critical Care Technician to assist with medical care. Icy trail conditions warranted an additional five Forest Rangers, two members of the DEC trail crew, and eight members of the Keene Valley Backcountry Rescue Group to assist with a steep-angle technical rescue. At 12:30 p.m., the hiker was stabilized and packaged into a litter for a two-mile carryout to a waiting ambulance. At 3:15 p.m., the injured hiker was out of the woods, turned over to Keene Valley Rescue, and transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment. All personnel were clear of the scene at 3:30 p.m.
I am a firm believer in the celebrated “Ten Essentials” that every hiker should carry in his pack when he sallies forth into the bush — which for me generally amounts to a map, a compass and eight Advil. Of course the list of essentials includes a lot of other stuff, as well, and is readily searchable online.
It’s good to be aware of the list because you never know about weather, you never know about a bad step on a rock, you never know when you are going to need a little extra gas in the tank and, well, you just never know. It’s amazing to me how just a few steps off a well-beaten path can leave you feeling just as lost as Fred Noonan over the South Pacific.
But we all backslide a bit. I frequently fail to carry Essential #10, Emergency Shelter on a two-mile out-and- back to Baker Mountain. But within reason I’m pretty good about it, partly out of prudence, partly because I don’t want to get “that look” from other hikers on the trail, the one that says “Look Carol, he is wearing COTTON. To the STAKE with him.” » Continue Reading.
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.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) has launched an expanded porta-john program throughout the Ausable River watershed to address the persistent problem of human waste disposal. Each year, over a million people visit the Ausable River watershed according to AsRA; seventy-six percent of these visitors participate in outdoor recreational activities. These large numbers pose a challenge in terms of the proper disposal of human waste. In short, the watershed has a poop problem.
The High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program has reported a 64% increase in visitation to the high summits of the Adirondacks over the past six years. This increase has coincided with a shift towards a larger percentage of day hikers versus overnight users. In many cases these visitors are not prepared to, or informed how to, properly dispose of their waste. As a result, summit stewards, forest rangers, and other backcountry professionals have reported an increased incidence of feces and toiletry products being improperly deposited on, or directly adjacent to trails. » Continue Reading.
Autumn of 1948 had been a particularly dry season. Forest Rangers of that era often remained at their headquarters awaiting a phone call reporting the location of a blaze. The radio system of that time was poor but most outposts and fire towers were connected via phone line.
Daniel McKenzie, a 27 year veteran, was the Forest Ranger for North Hudson at the time and he lived on the Blue Ridge Road. A Ranger’s work schedule was much different then. During dry periods they stayed available all the time and they worked until the work was done. Ranger McKenzie, by all accounts, wore his uniform almost all the time. The Northway was decades away from construction and North Hudson was a more isolated community. In fact, McKenzie first came to the area prior to becoming a ranger to help construct State Route 9. » Continue Reading.
Giant Mountain offers a diversity of ascent options, but I’ll admit to playing favorites. Ascending the Ridge (Zander Scott) Trail and climbing the expansive East Face sets the stage for a day with breathtaking views on approach and a challenging slide climb as the main event. The steep dominant ledges that traverse much of the face set this apart from many other slides.
I’ve scaled the great scar several times over the years so finding new ways to breach the crux becomes part of the fun as I plan each outing. For crying out loud, the beast is over ¼ mile wide and 1,200 high so the choices are as diverse as one’s imagination and comfort level.
Giant’s proximity to Route 73 also makes it a good option when seeking a late start as my partner, NP, and I had planned. My trips often begin at 5 am. Here I can begin hours later and still return before dark. We parked near Chapel Pond and ascended the Ridge Trail under a bright morning sun. Conditions were perfect with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees at elevation. There were stunning vistas from the southwest ridge. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday a group of us hiked the Rocky Peak Ridge to Giant traverse from New Russia. The weather was warm, definitely felt like summer. The climb goes over various peaks. Colors were vibrant red and orange from Blueberry Cobbles to Rocky Peak Ridge. As we approached Giant we noticed more yellows than reds. The elevation gain is 5,300 ft but the countless views on the ridge trail make this such a rewarding hike. The trailhead is found off Route 9 in New Russia.
During our recent spring adventure to Lost Brook we enjoyed three uncommon views that celebrated the prominence of three dominating Adirondack Peaks, plus a fourth view that is common but remains one of my favorites. The common view was Blue Mountain from the crest of Highway 30 between Tupper Lake and Long lake. I love this view because it is a true vista, which gives a greater sensation of size and vertical. Vistas are rare in the Adirondacks, at least vistas that render a higher mountain in all its glory. Blue was already largely snow free but its characteristic bulk from that Route 30 vantage point never fails to draw a breath from me in any season.
The other three views benefited from the calendar. This time of year enhances the sense of a mountain’s scale, with earth tones and green on the lower slopes and plenty of white on high. The Adirondacks may not be perpetually snow-capped, but in late April or early May we can imagine they are and they seem much more lofty for it. » Continue Reading.
One of the most well-known (and often photographed) waterfalls in the Adirondacks has to be Roaring Brook Falls, which can be seen from Route 73 plunging down the shoulder of Giant Mountain.
Since taking up rock climbing several years ago, I have been drawn to the prospect of climbing the three-hundred-foot falls. This isn’t a new idea: Jim Goodwin described climbing Roaring Brook Falls in a 1938 article for the Adirondack Mountain Club. The falls also are mentioned in A Climber’s Guide to the Adirondacks, the region’s first climbing guidebook, published in 1967. » Continue Reading.
Trap Dike or Eagle Slide? Like many hikers, I long wavered as to which is the better adventure. After climbing the dike last week, though, I’d rate it the best hike/scramble in the Adirondacks.
For me, the question was settled by Tropical Storm Irene. In August 2011, Irene’s deluge triggered a new slide that leads from the Trap Dike to the summit of Mount Colden and scoured the dike itself clean of vegetation and rubble.
As a result, from Avalanche Lake, hikers climb roughly three-quarters of a mile over clean rock, ascending 1,850 feet.
One of the many cars caught by the flood on Route 73
Fifty years ago, on June 29, 1963, a thunderstorm stalled over Giant Mountain. Heavy rain saturated the thin soil near its summit, gradually weakening its hold on the smooth anorthosite surface.
It was a Saturday: several hikers and campers were on the mountain. Three thousand feet below, traffic – some of it from a wedding just over in Keene Valley — passed up and down the long hill on Route 73 that offers a glimpse of Giant’s Roaring Brook Falls. » Continue Reading.
For slide climbers the most popular route on Giant’s west cirque is the Eagle, which gets five stars in Adirondack Rock—the guidebook’s highest rating for the overall quality of a climb. But another, longer slide known as the Bottle offers just as much adventure, especially if you finish by climbing the cliff at the end.
Phil Brown and I climbed the Bottle this past Saturday. A week prior, all the slides in the west cirque were covered in white after a late-season snowfall, but with the recent summery weather, we enjoyed dry rock all the way to the summit.
The Bottle Slide (which Adirondack Rock awards three stars) is the northernmost slide on Giant’s west cirque. Along with several other slides, this 1,300-foot run was created in June 1963 by a localized downpour. The generally moderate slope (around 30 degrees) and low exposure lines make it an easier alternative to the steeper Eagle.
The Forty-Sixers is a hiking organization, requiring the climbing of the forty-six Adirondack High Peaks for membership. The High Peaks were first designated by George and Robert Marshall, and defined as any summit of 4,000 feet or more above sea level elevation, with at least 300 feet of vertical rise on all four sides and at least 0.75 miles from the nearest peak. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.
Recent Almanack Comments