May, 2017

Pitons Are Artifacts Of Adirondack Climbing History

  In a post on Tuesday, I noted that John Case eschewed pitons throughout his rock-climbing career. He adopted the view that pounding pitons into rock to protect against a fall was cheating. Later climbers were not so scrupulous. In fact, four pitons can be found on Case’s historic route on Chapel Pond Slab, known as Bob’s Knob Standard. Case established Bob’s Knob Standard, the first route on the slab, in 1933. The pitons were placed years later, though exactly when and by whom is unknown. Climbers generally do not use pitons anymore. Instead, they insert removable chocks and cams >>More


May, 2017

John Case’s Historic Climbing Route In Adirondacks

Bob’s Knob Standard is not the best rock-climbing route on Chapel Pond Slab, but for the novice it’s a superb introduction to multi-pitch climbing. As one of the oldest routes in the Adirondacks, it also lays claim to some interesting history. I climbed Bob’s Knob Standard last weekend with my girlfriend Carol. We had done it twice last year, but because she is new to climbing, she wanted to do it again for practice. Once again, she loved it. Though considered easy, it posed a few challenges and always kept our interest. The scenery as we climbed got better and >>More


May, 2017

State Adds Marion River Carry To Adirondack Forest Preserve

The state has added the historic Marion River carry to the Forest Preserve, ending a long-running dispute over the ownership of 216 parcels of land near the hamlet of Raquette Lake. The deal secures a five-hundred-yard trail used by paddlers portaging between Utowana Lake and the Marion River. The carry is an essential part of a canoe route between Blue Mountain Lake and Raquette Lake. The Open Space Institute bought the 296-acre parcel in 2012 for $2 million and transferred it to the state this year at no cost to the state. Before OSI stepped in, the Marion River property >>More


May, 2017

Sneak Paddle Can Be Useful On Adirondack Streams

As mentioned in a prior post, I encountered hellacious alder thickets on Negro Brook near Onchiota this month. However I maneuvered my double-bladed paddle, it got tangled up. I ended up grabbing branches to pull myself through. At the time, I wished I had a short paddle to get through the jungle. A few days later, I learned, quite by accident (literally), about something called the sneak paddle. I had been paddling a Hornbeck Blackjack, a carbon-fiber boat that weighs just twelve pounds. It’s great for small streams like Negro Brook, but it’s not built for rapids. And it turns >>More


May, 2017

Gulf Brook Road To Open After Mud Season

The Adirondack Park Agency met last week but did not take up the question of how to classify (and manage) the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. It’s uncertain whether the APA will take up the issue at its next meeting in June. One of the big questions facing state officials is whether to allow the public to drive on the former logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds. The seven-mile dirt thoroughfare is known as Gulf Brook Road. Two environmental groups, Adirondack Wilderness Advocates and Adirondack Wild, want the entire tract classified as Wilderness, which would close the entire road to motor >>More


May, 2017

Lots Of Adventure In ‘Explorer’ Outings Guide

Have you ever taken in the vista from Iroquois Peak? Paddled up the Opalescent? Skied across frozen ponds near Fish Creek? Followed Don Mellor on an ice climb above Chapel Pond? You can read about all those adventures and more in the forthcoming Adirondack Explorer’s Annual Outings Guide, an anthology of recreational stories from past issues of the magazine. The regular Explorer comes out every two months, but in between the May/June and July/August issues, we publish the outings guide. Each guide describes a variety of recreational outings—hikes, paddles, ski tours, rock climbs, raft trips. Subscribers who collect the guides >>More


May, 2017

Wakely Tower Closure Raises Questions Anew

The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s closure of the Wakely Mountain trail once again raises questions about the future of the fire tower on the summit. DEC closed the tower in December because of structural defects and this week closed the hiking trail too, lest the tower collapse and injure someone. “The condition of the tower has worsened and it is possible the tower may collapse in heavy winds,” DEC said in a news release. DEC spokesman Benning Delamater said two of the tower footings and their anchor bolts (which attach the tower to the footings) are damaged. The department >>More


May, 2017

Negro Brook Has It All: Thickets, Blowdown, Rapids

The Bloomingdale Bog Trail starts near Saranac Lake and ends eight miles later near Onchiota. Following an old railroad bed, it is ideal for jogging or mountain biking. I recently went to the trail with a different purpose in mind: canoeing. This is an idea I had for a while. Negro Brook flows under the Bloomingdale Bog Trail in several places. I had never heard of anyone canoeing this part of Negro Brook, but the stretches visible from the trail looked navigable. Nevertheless, I figured I should do the trip when the water levels were high. The water was plenty >>More


May, 2017

Enjoy The Appalachian Trail From Your Armchair

Interested in a really long hike? The Adirondack Park has the Northville-Placid Trail (133 miles) and Vermont has the Long Trail (272 miles), but these are mere steppingstones to the granddaddy of long-distance routes, the Appalachian Trail. The AT, as it’s known, stretches 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, traversing 14 states. That might be a bit more than you want to do. If so, you can enjoy the trail vicariously through Cady Kuzmich’s blog, which she calls “In the Woods.” Cady is a freelance writer for the Daily Gazette in Schenectady who is hiking the AT right now. As >>More


May, 2017

State Hopes To Remove Train Tracks This Year

The state hopes to begin removing the train tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake as early as this summer and begin constructing a recreational trail in the rail corridor in the summer of 2018. The schedule was presented in an informational meeting at the Saranac Lake Free Library on Monday evening. The meeting was hosted by Rich Shapiro, a village trustee, and Ed Randig, a code-enforcement officer for the town of Harrietstown, which includes the village. “We’re not here to debate the rail versus trail. That decision has been made,” Shapiro said at the outset of the public meeting, >>More


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