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


February, 2013

Skiing the Jackrabbit in Saranac Lake

I got out of the office this afternoon to take a short ski on the Jackrabbit Trail in the Saranac Lake, curious to see how Monday’s mini-thaw changed conditions. The official start of the trail is at North Country Community College. From there you ski up the railroad tracks to a beautiful pine forest. However, I approached the forest from the opposite direction, starting where the tracks cross Route 86 on the outskirts of the village. The amount of snow on the tracks was ideal for skiing. Before last week’s snowfall, I had occasionally scraped a piece of gravel while >>More


February, 2013

Good skiing after the storm

I did two classic ski trips after last week’s snowstorm. Although we didn’t get as much snow as some had predicted, the conditions were pretty darn good. Conditions have already changed. It warmed up enough on Monday to produce a bit of rain, but it’s supposed to snow again this week. With those caveats, here is a short trip report. On Saturday, I skied the Jackrabbit Trail from McKenzie Pond Road to the top of the pass between Haystack Mountain and McKenzie Mountain. The big question was whether the long hill after McKenzie Pond (a 1.5-mile ascent) would have enough >>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


January, 2013

Recreation maps for Finch, Pruyn lands

I recently posted on Adirondack Almanack an account of the state’s plans for managing and classifying the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands. For those who just want to view the maps, I am posting them here as well. As you scroll down, you will see three maps.The first includes the Essex Chain Tract, Indian River Confluence Tract, and OK Slip Falls Tract. The second shows the Boreas Ponds Tract. The third shows the MacIntyre Tracts near Tahawus. The Finch lands are outlined in yellow. Blue represents Wilderness; green, Wild Forest. The colored lands outside the Finch tracts are already >>More


January, 2013

Skiing on Oseetah Marsh and the Jackrabbit Trail

Oseetah Marsh in winter

Oseetah Marsh just outside Saranac Lake is the destination of one of my regular lunch-hour ski trips. It’s short, easy, and scenic, with views of the McKenzie Range, the Sawtooth Range, and nearby Scarface Mountain. Today I did the trip for the first time this winter. Why did I wait so long? To get to the marsh, I follow a snowmobile trail through a beautiful pine forest. Until this afternoon, every time I reached the edge of the marsh I found a small pool of black water, bordered by very thin ice. I tried to ski the marsh as recently >>More


January, 2013

Stretch of the Hudson to open this spring

Starting this spring, paddlers will be able to travel down the Hudson River from Newcomb and take out on lands newly acquired by the state. The best takeout probably will be near the confluence of the Goodnow River, based on my reading of a map released today by the state Department of Environmental Conservation suggests that. From the town beach in Newcomb it’s roughly seven miles to the mouth of the Goodnow. The stretch includes several mild rapids. The significance of the takeout is that it will open the Hudson to paddlers who don’t have the skills or inclination to >>More


January, 2013

Rescue report for August and September

Following is the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5’s report of searches and rescues from August and September. Region 5 includes the eastern two-thirds of the Adirondack Park. Essex County Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, at approximately 9:53 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a hiker at Adirondack Mountain Club*s Adirondack Loj reporting that his hiking partner had gotten ahead of him after the bridge over Marcy Brook. When the hiker arrived at the trailhead he could not locate Ja.m.es Mateyka, 43, of Rochester, NY anywhere in >>More


January, 2013

APA hires ex-commissioner as counsel

The Adirondack Park Agency has hired James Townsend, one of its former board members, to serve as the agency’s counsel. He will replace John Banta, who retired last year. A Rochester lawyer, Townsend sat on the APA board from 1999 to 2010. He left when he wasn’t reappointed by Governor David Paterson. APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich made the announcement today. “For more than a decade, Mr. Townsend worked tirelessly on complicated Park issues and has a proven track record of accomplishments on behalf of the Adirondacks,” she said in a prepared statement. Environmental activists also voiced support for the appointment. >>More


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