Giant Mountain Wilderness - Adirondacks, NY

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Vegan.Hiker

I'd hike that
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Thread starter #1
January 31, 2015

About 20 minutes outside of Lake Placid, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics where Al Michaels asked the country "Do you believe in miracles?", is the Giant Mountain Wilderness; part of the Adirondack High Peaks region. At 6 million acres, the Adirondacks region is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States.

This past Friday, I skipped out of work a little early and took the 4 hour drive up to the ADK's. The bunks at the hiker hostel were booked up, so I ended up at a motel in Schroon Lake, a town dominated by ice fisherman during the winter months. The next morning I set out to hike Giant Mountain, the 12th highest peak of the 46 ADK high peaks. The route I took was only 6.8 miles, but is steep and challenging with a stretch that climbs over 3,000 feet in just 2.4 miles. The hike took about 7.5 hours despite a quick descent aided by several glissades (some on purpose, others not so much). The trail conditions were good and the trail was packed down well. Snowshoes stayed on the whole time.

The forecast called for abundant sunshine but cold temps. Driving to the trailhead my car read -12 degrees, and it got much colder as I climbed, and the summit was brutally cold. I forgot to check my thermometer but I'm guessing it was colder than -30 easily at the summit. I picked up the Osprey insulated tube and bite valve cover but it didn't have a chance. The tube froze solid after 5-10 minutes.

Checking the temps on my phone when I woke up.
Photo Jan 30, 11 41 19 PM (2).jpg

The climb starts out steep and remains steep up until you reach the ridge up in the alpine zone.
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The trail starts to flatten out a little as you approach the alpine zone although a few more heart pounding sections lay ahead.
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The trail has many lookouts on the way up such as this one.
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Another lookout looking towards the Great Range. I'm planning a 3 day Great Range Traverse this summer.
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The alpine zone felt like an alpine tunnel at times.
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Another look at the Great Range from an open area in the alpine zone.
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Much of the trail looked like this.
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... and like this.
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Closer to the ridge, there were more open areas like this.
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Finally arriving at the ridge.
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The white trees looked cool against the backdrop of the deep blue sky.
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A look back at the ridge.
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Finally, some pictures from the summit.
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The rime ice on the krummholz and pine trees near the summit was beautiful.
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A few more shots of the rime ice on the ridge near the summit.
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slide.jpg
 
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#2
These are incredible and I mean incredible pictures! There are a few of these I would love to get framed if you would share.

I am glad you got out on a terrific looking day!

Rob
 

Nick

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#3
Wow! That is freaking frigid man! Kudos for getting out there in it. And that rime ice is awesome.
 

Bob

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Nice, but is all that white stuff......none to speak of around here.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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These are incredible and I mean incredible pictures! There are a few of these I would love to get framed if you would share.
Thanks Rob! My pics are your pics. Message me your email address, I'd be more than happy to send you the originals. It was a nice day to be in your neck of the woods.
 
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Ben

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#8
sorry the hose didn't work out for you.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Wow! That is freaking frigid man! Kudos for getting out there in it.
There was actually a moment on the summit where I recall thinking how crazy it was that I'd be hiking in temps about 125+ degrees hotter when I'm in Zion/Bryce in June. The diversity of our land in this country is nothing short of amazing.

sorry the hose didn't work out for you.
I think it would have held up at +20, maybe even +10 but I think it's useless below zero. I brought an empty bottle to pour the water into in case the tubes froze but it was just too cold to stop and tinker. I just went without water and felt fine.
 

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ram

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Wonderful. What trail did you take? By the distance it would have to be the roaring brook or the ridge trail? This is the mountain I have climbed more than any other. It was also my first 4,000 er. And a favorite...it has at least 9 rock slides
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Wonderful. What trail did you take? By the distance it would have to be the roaring brook or the ridge trail? This is the mountain I have climbed more than any other. It was also my first 4,000 er. And a favorite...it has at least 9 rock slides
I took the Ridge Trail from the lot in front of Chapel Pond. Would like to come back in another season and see the falls on the Roaring Brook Trail. Maybe this fall.
 

ram

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I took the Ridge Trail from the lot in front of Chapel Pond. Would like to come back in another season and see the falls on the Roaring Brook Trail. Maybe this fall.
WOW! Here is a picture from April 1st 1981, one mile up the ridge trail at the first overlook. This was my first day out after blowing 2 discs in my lower back the previous summer. That is Chapel Pond below. To the left of my hands on that shore is where I got married on October 4th 1986.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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These vintage pics are just awesome ram. I remember that lookout. And what a great place to get married; Chapel Pond is beautiful. I also want to hike the spur out to Rocky Peak Ridge when I return to Giant.
 

ram

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These vintage pics are just awesome ram. I remember that lookout. And what a great place to get married; Chapel Pond is beautiful. I also want to hike the spur out to Rocky Peak Ridge when I return to Giant.
Rocky Peak is a wonderful peak. if you can set up the car shuttle by Elizabethtown, I recommend taking the trail down over the top of Rocky Peak. It is 6 miles of trail, almost all downhill to quite low footing and the trail is often open, tons of blueberries, seldom traveled, so private and free of erosion and you avoid the hump back up to near the top of Giant. Also Split Rock Falls is near the bottom of that trail. A wonderful road side swimming hole. The perfect cap off to a day in the high peaks.
 

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