May, 2013

Upper Washbowl reopened to climbers

Rock climbers will have a few more routes to climb this weekend, according to Joe Racette, a biologist for the state Department of Environmental Conservation who monitors the nesting of peregrine falcons on cliffs. Racette said the Upper Washbowl cliffs near Chapel Pond are now open to climbers. DEC closes Upper Washbowl and Lower Washbowl each spring at the start of the falcons’ breeding season. DEC has ascertained that that this year the falcons are nesting on Lower Washbowl. Upper Washbowl has twenty-one climbing routes, including one established by Fritz Weissner, one of the top climbers of his era, in >>More


April, 2013

Early-season rock climbing

On my lunch hour, I took a short hike to check out the rock-climbing cliffs on Baker Mountain on the outskirts of Saranac Lake. A few weeks ago, a huge wall of ice hung nearby, with its tongue extending along the base of one of the routes. Today the ice was gone, and the cliffs were dry. I expect I’ll be climbing there soon, but Don Mellor beat me to the punch. Baker, it turns out, is on Mellor’s list of cliffs suitable for early-season climbing. “You’re looking for southern exposure with no drips from above,” says Mellor, a Lake >>More


April, 2013

A plea to hikers: don’t post-hole

On Saturday I skied Mount Marcy and was surprised at how good the snow conditions were. I began at the start of South Meadow Road and had to take my skis off only once, on a fifty-yard stretch of the Marcy Dam Truck Trail. To be sure, the trails were hard and sometimes icy on the approach to Marcy Dam and the first mile or so beyond, but above “50-Meter Bridge” (the second crossing of Phelps Brook), there was good snow: packed powder, with fluffier stuff outside the well-trodden track. Somewhat surprisingly, given the gorgeous day, I saw no other >>More


April, 2013

Rock-climbing routes closed to protect falcons

A sure sign of spring is when the state Department of Environmental Conservation closes rock-climbing routes in the Adirondacks to protect the nesting sites of peregrine falcons. Each spring, DEC bans climbing on routes on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs, and Moss Cliff. Once biologists ascertain where falcons are nesting, some routes are reopened. Sometime in summer, after the falcons fledge, all routes are reopened. Following is a notice sent out today by Joe Racette, a DEC wildlife ecologist:   Effective today, April 1, 2013, the following Adirondack rock climbing routes are closed to protect Peregrine falcon nest >>More


March, 2013

Notes from the ski trail

I went backcountry skiing around Paul Smiths both days this past weekend and found the conditions outstanding, but who knows how long the snow will last. On Saturday afternoon, I skied to the summit of Jenkins Mountain, starting at Black Pond on Keese’s Mill Road. I skied across the pond, climbed over an esker, and picked up the Jenkins hiking trail. I broke trail most of the way. The sky was overcast, so the summit view was not great, but I had a blast coasting back down the mountain in my own tracks. The snow at the top was relatively >>More


March, 2013

DEC report on High Peaks conditions

Following is the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s weekly update on conditions in the High Peaks. Compiled on: March 21, 2013 See the High Peaks Trail Information web page (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9198.html) Weather: The following forecast, provided by the National Weather Service (NWS), is based on conditions at low elevations. Hikers & campers entering the High Peaks Region should expect, and be prepared for, conditions which will likely be more severe than those expressed in a general NWS forecast. Check up-to-date forecasts before entering the back country, as weather forecasts can change. Today Snow showers likely, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy, with >>More


March, 2013

Tupper Lake man admits illegal trapping

The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued the following news release today: Franklin County man pleaded guilty last week to 31 violations of Environmental Conservation Law related to illegal trapping, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today. On February 11, DEC Environmental Conservation Police charged Terry J. Hurteau, 56, of Tupper Lake, for offenses including unlawfully setting 15 snares for coyote, multiple counts for unlawful use of body gripping traps on land and multiple counts of failing to tag traps. He was issued appearance tickets for the Town of Tupper Lake Court. DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) >>More


March, 2013

We still need more snow

They were predicting we’d get more than six inches, perhaps a lot more. They were wrong. We got only two or three, which prettified the woods, but it wasn’t enough to turn the season around for backcountry skiers. There is still hope: the National Weather Services predicts Saranac Lake, where we’re located, could get three to five more inches over the next few days. Again, not enough to turn the season around, but we’ll take it. And who knows? Maybe this time we’ll get more than predicted. On my lunch hour, I skied the Jackrabbit Trail from McKenzie Pond Road >>More


March, 2013

Fred Beckey delights crowd in Lake Placid

Fred Beckey, a living legend in the climbing world, gave an interesting and often humorous slide show at Northwood School in Lake Placid last night. At one point, he showed a photo of Fishhook Arete, a narrow, curving ridge on Mount Russell in California. At 14,086 feet, Russell is one of the highest mountains in the Sierra Nevada, so you wouldn’t expect an eight-pitch rock climb that ends on its summit to be a walk in the park. Indeed, the climb itself takes five to seven hours. With the approach and the descent, the trek can take fifteen to twenty-one >>More


March, 2013

Coverage of the Shingle Shanty case

After State Supreme Court Justice Richard Aulisi handed down his decision on navigation rights a few weeks ago, several media outlets wrote about the case. As the defendant in the lawsuit, I tracked the news coverage closely. Given the public interest in the case, I thought I’d share the articles that I found. The news about Aulisi’s decision was first reported by the Associated Press and the Adirondack Almanack (which is owned by the Explorer). The AP must have put the story on its national wire, since the first link is to a version that appeared on the Washington Post >>More


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