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January, 2018

Backcountry-ski conditions about to deteriorate

backcountry skiing

I just got back from touring the Andalusia region of southern Spain with Carol Fox and my daughter Martha. On one day we took a wonderful hike into the Sierra Nevada where we saw goats roaming the treeless hills. Although the mountains are not far from the Mediterranean Sea, they are snow-capped. The highest top 10,000 feet. I wore a T-shirt on that hike. I felt a little guilty about soaking up the sun while friends back home, especially in the Adirondacks, were suffering through below-zero days. OK, so I didn’t feel guilty. However, as I perused posts on Facebook, >>More


December, 2017

OSI deal helps Adirondack rock climbers

rock climbers

The Open Space Institute has acquired a 1,285-acre property that will facilitate access to Huckleberry Mountain, a crag in the southeastern Adirondacks with great views and dozens of rock-climbing routes. Katharine Petronis, OSI’s northern program manager, said the non-profit organization will sell the property to the state for inclusion in the public Forest Preserve. That could happen within three years, she said. For now, the tract remains closed to the public. Petronis said she didn’t know if OSI will open it before the transfer to the state. The acquisition is good news for Adirondack rock climbers. The guidebook Adirondack Rock lists >>More


November, 2017

Adirondack skiers hit Whiteface Mountain highway

Whiteface Mountain highway

The 5.5-mile Whiteface Mountain highway offers backcountry enthusiasts a chance to test their ski legs before the onset of winter in the Adirondacks.


November, 2017

Sentinel Range Plan Affects Skiers, Hikers & Climbers

DEC proposes trail improvements in Sentinel Range Wilderness.


October, 2017

Good Times and Good Views At Shanty Cliff

Shanty Cliff in the southern Adirondacks offers rock climbers lots of routes and lots of views.


October, 2017

Accidents In Adirondack Climbing In 2016

Each year the American Alpine Club publishes a little book titled Accidents in North American Climbing, on the theory that reading about accidents is one way to avoid them. Usually, most of the reports are from out west or Alaska. Occasionally, an accident in the Adirondacks makes the book. This year, however, a full three pages are devoted to our region, with four mishaps described in detail. All occurred in 2016 (the year covered by the book). I will summarize them below, using the headlines from the book. Leader Fall on Ice: Thin Ice, Inadequate Protection We wrote about this >>More


September, 2017

Comparing Two Classic Climbs On Wallface and Cannon

Wallface is the biggest cliff in the Adirondacks and so naturally has attracted the attention of rock climbers from way back. The first recorded routes were put up by two of the country’s best climbers of the 1930s—John Case and Fritz Wiessner. The authors of Yankee Rock and Ice say Wiessner regarded Wallface as the loveliest climbing cliff in the Northeast, because of its “feeling of altitude” and “charm of solitude” (Frtiz’s words). Soon after I started climbing, my friend Mike and I went up Wallface with the help of Don Mellor, who is nearly as famous in these parts >>More


September, 2017

Can Any Adirondack Hike Top Franconia Ridge?

I haven’t spent much time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, largely because there is so much to do here in the Adirondacks. It was a case of not knowing what I was missing. In late August, Carol MacKinnon Fox and I spent four days in the Whites, hiking and rock climbing. One of the highlights was a hike on Franconia Ridge. It’s a nine-mile loop that takes you over three of New Hampshire’s tallest peaks: Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette (at 5,260 feet, the highest of the three). We took the Falling Waters Trail (which lives up to its >>More


August, 2017

Guide Rescues Solo Climber Near Chapel Pond

Shipton’s Arete is one of my favorite places to take a novice rock climber. The three routes on the arête are all pretty easy. There’s a good anchor for a top rope. And the arête overlooks scenic Chapel Pond. The easiest route, Shipton’s Voyage, is rated only 5.4 on the Yosemite Decimal System scale of difficulty—meaning most beginners can do it on a top rope. However, climbing Shipton’s Voyage—or any route—without a rope is another matter entirely. An eighteen-year-old man learned that lesson the hard way this month. On August 14, the young man set about soloing the arête, with >>More


July, 2017

Climbing Crane With The King Of The Mountain

Jay Harrison lives at the base of Crane Mountain, but he probably spends more time on the mountain’s many cliffs than in his house. The guidebook Adirondack Rock devotes no less than seventy-three pages to the rock-climbing routes on Crane. This is thanks to Harrison, who has participated in about 350 first ascents in the Adirondacks—more than anyone else. Most of his routes are at Crane. He clearly is the king of the mountain. In 2013, veteran climber Don Mellor wrote a profile of Harrison for the Explorer. It’s well worth reading, both for Don’s writing and for understanding who >>More


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