Expect blowdown and ice

This afternoon I went up Baker Mountain, a small peak outside Saranac Lake, to test a pair of crampons (Black Diamond’s Sabretooths, pictured here). I thought the crampons would be overkill on the trail, but it turned out I needed them.

Black Diamond Sabretooths
Black Diamond Sabretooths

Thanks to all the rain on Monday, followed by subfreezing temperatures, parts of the trail were sheer ice. I encountered a couple of snowshoers and a guy wearing Kahtoola MicroSpikes, and all were having a much harder time than I was. (I like MicroSpikes, but they were overmatched by today’s ice.)

Monday’s storm also brought strong winds. I saw the evidence on my hike: several trees and countless branches had fallen on the trail.

When I got back to the office, I called David Winchell at the state Department of Environmental Conservation to ask about trails elsewhere in the Adirondacks. After checking with folks in the field, he reported back: “Expect blowdown and icy conditions under whatever fresh snow we’ve got. That’s pretty much the case across the Adirondacks.”

Winchell said the blowdown is not so bad that DEC needs to send in crews to clear trails.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Phil says

    Just a quick followup: I went up Baker again this afternoon to try out the crampons with different boots. I was with Sue Bibeau, our designer, who was wearing MicroSpikes. She had no trouble with the ice.

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