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Adirondack Explorer

May, 2012

Hikers urinate on each other to keep warm

Just when you’ve thought you heard it all: five hikers from Florida who got lost in the High Peaks reportedly urinated on each other to keep warm. The Albany Times Union first reported this tidbit earlier this week, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation confirms that this is what the hikers told forest rangers. DEC spokesman David Winchell advises against this practice. “No matter what, getting wet in cool or cold weather hastens the loss of body heat,” he said. Winchell said the hikers were woefully unprepared. They didn’t bring a map, compass, or other essential gear and seemed >>More

May, 2012

For Ron Kon, it was a good winter

ron konowitz skis mount marcy

Now we know spring is here: Ron Konowitz has stopped skiing. Most skiers probably think last winter was a lousy one, but not for Ron Kon. He skied 161 days, all in the Adirondacks. That’s every day for more than five months. “I had a good year,” Konowitz said today. “I definitely didn’t get into the backcountry as much as usual.” Konowitz did a lot of his skiing at the state-run downhill center on Whiteface Mountain. “The snowmakers did an amazing job,” he said. After Whiteface closed for the season, Konowitz would hike up the mountain and ski down the >>More

April, 2012

Worst winter ever for Jackrabbit skiers

Jackrabbit Ski Trail in Lake Placid

  How bad was this winter for backcountry skiers? It ranks as one of the worst, according to the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, which maintains the twenty-four-mile Jackrabbit Trail between Saranac Lake and Keene. Tony Goodwin, the group’s executive director, says the entire Jackrabbit was skiable for only twenty-five days this winter—by far the worst season since the trail was created in the 1980s. Previously, the worst season was 1989, when the full Jackrabbit was skiable for forty-eight days. “Our best season was 1998 when the Jackrabbit Trail was covered for 132 days,” Goodwin writes in the ASTC’s spring newsletter. >>More

March, 2012

DEC closes climbing cliffs

You know spring is here when the state Department of Environmental Conservation closes rock-climbing cliffs to safeguard the nesting sites of peregrine falcons. The following news release was received from DEC this afternoon. Effective Monday April 2, 2012, the following Adirondack rock climbing routes will be closed to protect peregrine falcon nest sites. Moss Cliff – All routes closed Chapel Pond – All routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs closed   Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain – All routes on the Main Face are closed except the following routes described on pages 39-45 of Adirondack Rock: A Rock Climber’s Guide: 1.    Opposition 2.    >>More

March, 2012

DEC urges backcountry travelers to be prepared

In the wake of a series of high-profile search-and-rescues, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is urging backcountry travelers to be prepared. The following news release was issued this morning. DEC ADVISES BACKCOUNTRY VISITORS TO BE PREPARED  FOR WINTER CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE ADIRONDACKS Snowshoes, Skis Strongly Recommended For All Trails Visitors to the backcountry of the Adirondacks should be prepared and have proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) advised today. “Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the >>More

February, 2012

Winter search and rescue report

Recently, forest rangers have engaged in several high-profile search-and-rescues in the High Peaks Wilderness. Perhaps the one that got the most attention was the rescue of Steve Mastaitis, who spent the night in a snow hole on Mount Marcy. Three others were rescued the following weekend in the High Peaks Wilderness. Today, the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 5, which encompasses most of the Adirondack Park, released a report of this winter’s rescue searches. It does not recount the Mastaitis rescue, but you can read about that by clicking here. The DEC report follows verbatim. (Click here to read my >>More

February, 2012

Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival this weekend

The Mountaineer in Keene Valley will host the tenth annual Backcountry Ski Festival this weekend. Most of the ski tours are full, but you can try out gear for free at the rope-tow hill at North Country School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. That night, skiing legend Glen Plake will show slides and videos of his backcountry adventures. The presentation starts at 7:30 at Keene Central School. Admission is $10. Click here for more details.

February, 2012

Cold night on Marcy: a survivor’s tale

Jane and Steve Mastaitis at Adirondack Medical Center. Photo by Phil Brown.

  He had a watch but was afraid to look at it. Instead he tried to gauge time by the slow movement of the stars across the sky. Alas, he forgot that he set his watch alarm for 4 a.m. “When it went off, I was disappointed,” he said. “I knew I had to wait some more.” By then, Steve Mastaitis had been curled up inside a snow hole near the summit of Mount Marcy for more than nine hours, shivering uncontrollably, suffering from frostbite, fearing the worst. The temperature fell to near zero during the night, with a wind-chill factor of >>More

February, 2012

Video of skiing the Trap Dike

When I skied to Avalanche Lake a week ago, the bottom of the Trap Dike in Mount Colden didn’t have much snow. Evidently, there is enough snow higher up to ski the dike and the upper slide. The video below is from Drew Haas’s website Adirondack Backcountry Skiing. The site has a number of other videos worth checking out. 2/20/2012 from ADKBCSKI on Vimeo.

February, 2012

Ski trip to Avalanche Pass

Avalanche Lake

  We sent files for the March/April Explorer to the print shop Monday, so I took the next day off to ski to Avalanche Pass and, given the dearth of snow this winter, was surprised at the quality of the skiing. I also tried out our new Go Pro video camera during the descent of Avalanche Pass. It worked much better than my old system of strapping a point-and-shoot to my chest during my downhill schusses. You can check it out here: We may get rain this week, so the conditions could change, but for what it’s worth, here’s my >>More