November, 2016

‘Explorer’ Publishes Multisport Guide To Finch, Pruyn Lands

The Adirondack Explorer has published a multisport guidebook to the former Finch, Pruyn lands to let people know of the many recreational opportunities on tracts that had been off limits to the public for more than a century. 12 Adventures on New State Lands: Exploring the Finch, Pruyn Tracts has something for everyone: the hiker, the paddler, the mountain biker, the cross-country skier, even the rock climber. The book is a celebration of the state’s acquisition of 65,000 acres of the former Finch lands from the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The last parcel, the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, was purchased by >>More


November, 2016

Pinned Steps: A Suitable Way Up Bedrock Trails?

The Adirondack Explorer‘s November/December issue is in the mail, but Mike Lynch’s story on deteriorating trails in the High Peaks is already gaining attention on the Adirondack Almanack, the Explorer‘s online journal. The article, headlined “Trails showing their age,” notes that a combination of poor design and heavy use has led to severe erosion on trails. Older trails tend to go straight up a slope. In some cases, erosion can be mitigated by rerouting the trails to create switchbacks. Unfortunately, at higher elevations, where the soil is thin, cutting into the slope to create switchbacks may not be possible. In a comment >>More


January, 2013

Baker above the clouds

View from the summit of Baker Mountain. Photo by Phil Brown.

It’s not often that little Baker Mountain (elevation, 2,452 feet) in Saranac Lake rises above the clouds, but it did this morning. I took this picture a little after 9 a.m. A rolling ocean of clouds filled the valleys. In the distance are the High Peaks, with Mount Marcy and Algonquin Peak especially prominent. To the right of the tree in the foreground is the scar on Scarface Mountain. We got a wonderful dump of powder yesterday. Unfortunately, they’re predicting freezing drizzle today and rain tomorrow. However, there is snow in the forecast later in the week. Keep your fingers >>More


May, 2012

The most dangerous hikes in the Park

Ron Konowitz climbs the Trap Dike

An article on Backpacker Magazine’s website lists “America’s 10 Most Dangerous Hikes.” The one closest to the Adirondacks is Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The mountain is infamous for its fickle and sometimes extreme weather. “Known as the most dangerous small mountain in the world,” Backpacker says, “6,288-foot Mt. Washington boasts some scary stats: The highest wind velocity ever recorded at any surface weather station (231 mph) was logged here on April 12, 1934. And 137 fatalities have occurred since 1849. No surprise: Most are due to hypothermia—and not only in winter. ‘They call them the White Mountains for a >>More


April, 2012

No ‘Classic Hikes’ in Adirondacks?

Classic Hikes of North America

This summer W.W. Norton plans to publish Classic Hikes of North America: 25 Breathtaking Treks in the United States and Canada. Judging by the publicity materials, it should be a magnificent-looking book, with detailed maps and more than two hundred color photos. Adirondack hikers may be disappointed to learn that no hikes in the Park made the cut. In fact, only four of the twenty-five hikes are east of the Mississippi. The hike closest to the Adirondacks is the Presidential Range Traverse in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The other eastern hikes are the Art Loeb Trail in North >>More


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


November, 2011

Review of La Sportiva Karakorum boots

A few years ago, I was asked to test a pair of La Sportiva Karakorum boots. They’re cool-looking boots, but they struck me at first as almost too rugged for ordinary hiking. I wondered what use I could put them to in the Adirondacks. Then it hit me: slide climbing. La Sportiva bills the Karakorums as lightweight mountaineering boots, and that makes them ideal for scrambling up the rock slide paths that scar many of our High Peaks. The Karakorums also are great for hiking on Adirondack trails in early spring, when you’re likely to encounter mud, snow, ice, you >>More


November, 2011

DEC reopens two more trails

The state has reopened two more trails in the High Peaks region, but it has no plans to reopen before next year other trails closed by Irene. Hikers can once again take the Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 to Snow Mountain, though the low-water route through the Deer Brook flume remains impassable (it was eroded during the storm). Also reopened is the second crossover trail between the East River Trail and West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The first crossover trail is still closed, owing to a missing bridge. Three trail on the Forest Preserve remain closed: >>More


October, 2011

DEC reopens 5 trails closed since Irene

Five trails that had been closed since August 29, the day after Tropical Storm Irene, have been reopened, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced this morning. Four of the trails start in the vicinity of the Ausable Lakes in the privately owned Adirondack Mountain Reserve: The Carry Trail between Lower and Upper Ausable Lake (trail #54 in the Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks guidebook). Trail from the Carry Trail to the Colvin Range Trail (#55 in the book). Trail from Warden’s Camp at the foot of Upper Ausable to Sawteeth Mountain (#57) Trail from Warden’s Camp to Haystack Mountain >>More


October, 2011

Climbing the new Saddleback slide

The new issue of the Explorer (November/December) will include a two-page spread on climbing five new slides created by Tropical Storm Irene in the High Peaks. I’ve blogged about my climbs of four of them (see links below), but I have yet to write about my climb of the long slide on Saddleback Mountain. I climbed it two weekends ago with Ron Konowitz. It’s steep enough in places that I would recommend rock-climbing shoes or approach shoes. You can easily reach the Saddleback slide via the Ore Bed Brook Trail in Johns Brook Valley. Starting from the suspension bridge near the >>More


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